Glenn Gould’s ‘last true impresario’ has died

Glenn Gould’s ‘last true impresario’ has died


norman lebrecht

November 06, 2020

The grapevine rustles with news of the death of Jay K. Hoffman, music PR and sometime agent.

He was a character.

Charles Passy writes:

Jay K. Hoffman passed away in April (the family kept it quiet). It was not Covid-related (he died from heart failure), but his wife, Maj-britt, also passed away that same month from the virus. How tragic.

Jay was a pillar in the New York classical music scene for many, many years — the man whom Glenn Gould once called the last true impresario. He had a brilliant mind and was just one of those curious, larger-than-life figures who thrive in New York. He was also my first boss — and even though we were toiling largely in the music p.r. business, I learned more from him about journalism and storytelling than I did from just about all the editors I’ve known for years. As a mentor, he inspired me, even as he often drove me crazy. But that’s sometimes what mentors — and friends — do. I last spoke to him about 2-3 years ago. What I would do to have one more conversation. Sigh.



  • David J Hyslop says:

    Norman : Well said about Jay. He was a talent and a force and a kind person. We could use more Jay’s in this World we live in.

  • Paganono says:

    Jay Hoffman was the creator of New York’s infamous Mostly Mozart Festival. It remains his lasting legacy.

  • Jean says:

    Mr. Hoffman was also Einojuhani Rautavaara’s agent in the mid-1990s. Hoffman did a great job.

  • I remember Jay fondly and with great respect, we worked together briefly but in that short time He was able to help me see myself and find my way in the music community,
    Jay was able to inspire me, and nurture my creativity.
    A warm and a poetic soul, He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
    Michael Colina

  • Papageno says:

    I still don’t get why artists need publicists and agents in this day of social media. They can get plenty of gigs on their own if they’re any good. All PR does is creating hype.

    • Nick says:

      Jay was there long before the crappy social media was even born!!! And he alone was worth all the present day media!! He understood people and artists. And he understood the business. Present day “media” understands NOTHING but lies.

  • Nick says:

    Jay was a great man. I got lucky to have met him!!!

  • Michael O'Daniel says:

    When I was asst mgr of the Cincinnati Symphony I believe we engaged Jay to handle our national PR, or at least we had discussions about it. And we kept in touch for a while thereafter. Does anyone remember the way he introduced Joao Carlos Martins to American audiences? Following my CSO tenure I booked a small concert series for a college in Northern Ky, and presented Joao Carlos. (He hit on my then-girlfriend when she was standing right next to me. But I digress.) Jay was a mensch in a business sorely lacking in them. And always thinking ahead of the herd. RIP.

  • So sad. Jay also was the impressario of the Stockholm Marionette Theatre, so gentle and warm, so courageous to bring the Three Penny Opera on Broadway. Unforgotten.
    Michael Meschke

  • Monty Byers says:

    What a huge loss. He was a dear friend, associate, partnered many artists with me over the years. I will always treasure great memories of our times together. God bless you Jay.

  • Martin Kleinwald says:

    I knew Jay the last year or two of his life. He was a true gentleman.