William Doppmann



Competition Winner

Born: October 10, 1934 (Springfield, MA)

Died: January 27, 2013 (Honokaa, Hawaii)

William Doppmann was an American pianist and composer. He started piano lessons at age 5 and performed with the Cincinnati Orchestra at age 10. His piano studies were with Robert Goldsand at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. By the time he entered college he had more than 500 performances to his name. He also attended the University of Michigan where he studied composition with Homer Kelly and Ross Lee Finney, and later with Carl Hugo Grimm at the University of Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music. In 1954, his second year of college, he was the winner of a Naumburg Award and the Michaels Memorial Award in Chicago.

For his Naumburg Town Hall debut recital, Doppmann ended his program playing Samuel Barber's piano sonata. The composer attended the concert and The "New York Herald Tribune" reflected enthusiasm for the Barber the following day, "It is not exaggeration to state that Mr. Doppmann's performance of the Barber sonata was one of the most lucid, authentic and literally spine-tingling in this reviewer's memory. Everything was there: the hard-driven angularity, the whimsy, the diableie, the snatches of wistfulness, the special sort of color one finds nowhere else. But beyond these things, one sensed a species of comprehension that can be bred in the bone."

Following college, Doppmann moved to New York where he studied and performed. He also attended the Marlboro Music Festival. He was inducted into the Army and stationed in France and Germany. When he returned from the service he became a professor at three major universities in Washington state. In 1985, he moved back to New York to continue his career as pianist and composer, performing concerts in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America and the Far East. Among orchestras he was soloist with include the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, Seattle and Tokyo. Festivals he attended: Marlboro, Cleveland's Blossom Festival, Ravinia, the Hong Kong International Festival, Chamber Music Northwest and the Kuhmo International Festival in Finland.

In 1980, William Doppmann was the first composer to be awarded a Performing Arts Grant by the Washington State Arts Commission, who also commissioned along with Tacoma's Second City Chamber Series, "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" a ballet for chamber orchestra and narrator. He also received two National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Consortium Grants involving six separate performing ensembles in 1983 and 1986. In 1987, he was selected a a Guggenheim Fellow, and in 1988, received the University of Michigan's distinguished Alumnii Citation of Merit.

William Doppmann served as artistic director of the Port Townsend Chamber Music Society in Washington for 20 years. He was married to Willa Doppmann, who was the director of the Second City Chamber Series.

Excerpt from The New York Times, December 10, 1965

William Doppmann Gives Piano Recital

"More than half the seats in Town Hall were vacant last night, so much the worse for those who failed to fill them. William Doppmann' piano recital was richly played. It was in fact, an extraordinary evening.... it was exalted music making: nothing scrappy, every note a beautifully articulated part of a masterfully conceived whole. Mr. Doppmann, clearly, is not only a master pianist but also a real musician." Richard D. Freed


1954 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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