Koff, Robert (Violinist) Edit


Agent Type


  • 1919-02-12 – 2005-02-22 (Existence)

Name Forms

  • Koff, Robert (Violinist)

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  • Biography/Historical Note

    Robert Koff (b.02/12/1912-d.02/22/2005) was a Professor of Music Emeritus and founding member of the Lydian String Quartet and the Julliard String Quartet. Koff was born in Los Angeles in 1912. While in high school, Mr. Koff was concertmaster in the Los Angeles Youth Symphony and won many high-level competitions, his son said. He went on to the Oberlin Conservatory. off graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory and while in the Juilliard graduate program studied with Hans Letz. When the quartet was formed in 1946, under Juilliard president William Schuman, Koff was its second violinist; it also included first violinist Robert Mann, violist Raphael Hillyer, and cellist Arthur Winograd. The ensemble was the first quartet in residence in an American conservatory, and was renowned for its support of contemporary music. Koff made a number of recordings with the quartet, as well as teaching at Juilliard, before leaving in 1958 to take up the position of director of performance activities at Brandeis University. In 1980, Mr. Koff persuaded Brandeis to support a new string quartet, naming it the Lydian Quartet, or the Lyds. With Mr. Koff's guidance in the quartet's early years, the group went on to win prizes in international competitions. It is still performing today.After he retired from Brandeis in 1983, Mr. Koff coached a variety of chamber music ensembles -- from groups of doctors to young students and professionals and at the New England Conservatory and Longy School of Music in Cambridge. Mr. Koff remained a passionate teacher to the end. Koff died on Feb. 22, 2005, in Lexington, MA, from a rare blood disease. He was 86.