Paul Schoenfeld at a performance with a score

Paul Schoenfeld

Paul Schoenfield (Pinchas Schoenfeld) (1947-2024)

Paul Schoenfeld was a rarity: a virtuoso performer who, like Liszt and Rachmaninoff, found acclaim as a composer as well as a pianist. His exuberant music drew from a wide variety of musical experience: jazz and popular music, folk song, klezmer, Jewish chant, all informed by the classical tradition of which he was a master.

Paul Schoenfield (later known as Pinchas Schoenfeld) was born in 1947 in Detroit. He began piano lessons at age six and within a year had begun to compose. He appeared with Leonard Bernstein on a New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concert in 1966 and made his Town Hall recital debut while still in his teens. Among his piano teachers were Julius Chajes, Ozan Marsh, and Rudolf Serkin. He received his undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon and the DMA from the University of Arizona, where he studied composition with Robert Muczynski. 

His distinguished career as a concert pianist included solo recitals and concerto appearances. He performed chamber music with Music from Marlboro and the Gabrielli Trio. He premiered his own piano concerto, Four Parables, with the Toledo Symphony in 1983. As a recording artist, he released The Best of Scott Joplin on Pro Arte and, with violinist Sergiu Luca, an album of Czech sonatas and the complete violin and piano works of Bartók on Nonesuch.

Schoenfeld’s introspective nature led him on an unconventional career which shifted gradually from performance to composition, moved between the U.S. and Israel, and embraced diverse interests in mathematics and the Talmud. “I’ve always found something lacking in just being a perpetrator of old music by dead composers,” confessed the composer-pianist. Schoenfield taught at the University of Toledo and the University of Akron and capped his career in 2021, retiring as Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan. 

Schoenfield’s catalog includes concertos for viola and cello as well as poetically titled concertante works for piano (Four Parables), flute or clarinet (Klezmer Rondos), and piccolo trumpet (Vaudeville). 

Schoenfield’s flair for chamber music engages both performers and audiences. Café Music (1987), commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, has been recorded by the Eroica Trio and many other ensembles. The Ahn Trio commissioned Four Music Videos, which was recorded on the Bridge label in 2014. The composer enjoyed a close relationship with Washington’s 20th/21st Century Consort, which has performed no fewer than twenty Schoenfeld works.

Schoenfield’s deep Jewish roots are expressed in Camp Songs, a commission by Seattle's Music of Remembrance which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2003. The Merchant and the Pauper, a two-act opera based on a tale by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, was commissioned by the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and received its premiere there in 1999. 

Over 40 albums feature Schoenfield’s music on the Albany, Angel, Argo (Decca/London), Innova, Naxos, and other labels, performed by such luminaries as violinists James Ehnes and Cho-Liang Lin; pianists Jeffrey Kahane, Jon Kimura Parker and James Tocco; flutist Carol Wincenc; and conductors Gerard Schwarz and JoAnn Falletta.

Schoenfield passed away on April 29, 2024 in Jerusalem.

– Biography by David Evan Thomas

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Product Type: Digital Download

Format: Piano Score with Parts

Composer: Paul Schoenfeld (formerly Paul Schoenfield) Instrumentation: Violin, Cello, and Piano Duration: Approx. 17 minutes Date Written: 1987 Commissioned by: St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Premiered by: St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, January 1987 Additional Information:  Perhaps Paul's most widely performed and revered composition, Café Music is beloved worldwide Paul Schoenfeld: “The idea to... Read More

Paul Schoenfield

31 products

Cafe Music - Paul Schoenfeld

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Trio for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano - Paul Schoenfeld

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Four Souvenirs - Paul Schoenfeld

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Achat Sha'alti and Ufaratsta - Paul Schoenfeld

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Sonatina for Flute, Clarinet, and Piano - Paul Schoenfeld

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Three PIeces for Piano Four Hands - Paul Schoenfeld

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Last Silence - Paul Schoenfeld

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Four Music Videos - Paul Schoenfeld

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Klezmer Sonatina - Paul Schoenfeld

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Five Days from the Life of a Manic-Depressive - Paul Schoenfeld

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Four Motets - Paul Schoenfeld

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Klezmer Rondos for Flute and Chamber Orchestra - Paul Schoenfeld

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Partita - Paul Schoenfeld

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Fast and Flowing - Paul Schoenfeld

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Cowbird - Paul Schoenfeld

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Sextet - Paul Schoenfeld

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Burlesque - Paul Schoenfeld

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Taschyag - Paul Schoenfeld

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Six British Folksongs - Paul Schoenfeld

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Sonata for Violin and Piano - Paul Schoenfeld

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Sparks of Glory - Paul Schoenfeld

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Six Improvisations on Hassidic Melodies for Piano Solo - Paul Schoenfeld

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Camp Songs - Paul Schoenfeld

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Peccadilloes - Paul Schoenfeld

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Six Improvisations on Chasidic Melodies - Paul Schoenfeld

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Nocturne - Paul Schoenfeld

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Three Bagatelles - Paul Schoenfeld

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Slovakian Children's Songs - Paul Schoenfeld

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Psychobird - Paul Schoenfeld

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Ani Maamin - Paul Schoenfeld

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Three Intermezzi - Paul Schoenfeld

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