Friday, August 20, 2010

Pediatrician solves piano puzzler

Gary Hoffman guesses tune, style on radio program

Express Staff Writer

Gary Hoffman solved a “piano puzzler” on National Public Radio, correctly identifying the style of composer Frederic Chopin. Photo by David N. Seelig

Ketchum resident Gary Hoffman demonstrated his ear for classical music this week by winning a "piano puzzler" on Minnesota Public Radio's "Performance Today" program.

Piano puzzlers are a portion of the show that test call-in participants' ability to recognize the style of a classical composer by playing for them a version of a popular song in the style of that composer.

A pre-taped segment of the show aired Wednesday morning with Hoffman correctly guessing both the original tune, "Ain't Misbehavin'" by Fats Waller, and the name of the composer's style it was played in, Frederic Chopin.

"I am terrible with a musical instrument, but I can hear a tune and identify it pretty well," said Hoffman. "Besides, I didn't want to tarnish the family name."

Hoffman said he faithfully listens to Minnesota Public Radio's piano puzzlers on Wednesday mornings.

"It's a great teaser. I like public radio because there are no commercials. It's essentially classical music. You get exposed to a wide variety of artists you have never heard."

Hoffman is a semi-retired pediatrician who recently worked in Rwanda with his wife, Connie, a retired nurse.

He is founder of the Royal Larkspur Theater Play Troupe, based in Ketchum.

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