Summary: Joseph Bloch (1917-2009) was born on November 6, 1917 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Bloch was in the Army Air Forces (1941-1946) and discharged as captain. He was appointed head of the piano department at the University of Denver (1946) and two years later, joined the faculty at Juilliard, where he taught piano literature classes. Bloch made his debut at Town Hall in New York City (1950) and performed with numerous orchestras throughout the world. Bloch has also made recordings for Composers Recordings, Inc. Bloch died at his home in Larchmond, NY on March 4, 2009.
Full History: Joseph Bloch (1917-2009) was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on November 6, 1917. He was best described by the New York Post as a musician who "has that rare trio: a head, a heart, and skill." Through high school, he studied with Bomar Cramer and then with Rudolph Ganz at the Chicago Musical College. After earning his Bachelor of Music degree, he enrolled at Harvard University for his master's degree in musicology. While in graduate school, Bloch commuted to New York in order to study with Olga Samaroff.
During World War II, Bloch was stationed at Lawry Field in Denver, Colorado, where he gave informal recitals and also appeared as a soloist with the Civic Symphony. He was in the Army Air Forces from 1941-1946 and discharged as captain.
In 1946, he was appointed head of the piano department at the University of Denver and two years later, joined the faculty at Juilliard. He taught piano literature classes there and had a significant influence on accomplished pianists such as Garrick Ohlsson, Van Cliburn, Misha Dichter and John Browning.
In 1950, Bloch made his debut at Town Hall in New York City and subsequently performed with numerous orchestras in the United States, Europe, and East Asia. He travelled throughout the world, giving lecture-recitals and concerts in countries such as France, Japan, Belgium, Switzerland, and China. His recital programs included works by Scriabin, Honegger, Alkan, and his lifelong friend, Benjamin Lees. He made recordings for Composers Recordings, Inc. of piano music by Robert Moevs, Jaoques de Menasce, and Ruth Crawford Seeger. He also wrote a monograph on Charles-Valentin Alkan.
When he was not concertizing, his time was spent with his wife Dana and their three children, Leslie, John, and Andrew Lawrence. In addition, he developed a hobby for cooking, which provided a break from his busy lifestyle. He also became a connoisseur of desserts. Bloch died at his house in Larchmond, New York on March 4, 2009.