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American pianist Martin Berkofsky was born in Washington, D.C. in 1943. Of Belarussian ancestry, he began giving public performances and making recordings at the age of 8. During his early years he began traveling frequently to Europe to perform and record with orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Symphony Orchestra. He studied with Mieczysław Munz (pupil of Busoni), Konrad Wolff (a student of
Artur Schnabel), Walter Hautzig and with Hans Kann in Vienna.
Berkofsky is known also for his work in the field of musicology. He helped to research and to restore the long-lost Concerto for two pianos and orchestra by Max Bruch. Berkofsky also did a similar restoration of Duo Concertante for two pianos and orchestra composed jointly by Felix Mendelssohn and Ignaz Moscheles. In addition, he rediscovered and recorded unpublished works by Franz Liszt, Nicolae Bretan and Alan Hovhaness.
Since recovering from a serious motorcycle accident which took place in Iceland in 1982, Berkofsky has donated proceeds from his performances to various charitable causes. He later founded the Cristofori Foundation to facilitate this purpose. To celebrate his 60th birthday and his successful recovery from cancer, Berkofsky embarked on a marathon concert tour, “Celebrate Life Run”, running 880 miles across America's heartland and raising over US$80,000 for cancer research.
Berkofsky has recorded for EMI, Cristofori, Sanctuary/Black Box, Koch International, Nimbus, Vox-Turnabout, Musical Heritage Society, and Poseidon Society. For his charitable work he has been honored by the Voice of America's documentary “American Profiles”.
Berkofsky lives in Casanova, Virginia and is helping to coordinate the project to establish the Alan Hovhaness International Research Centre, a central archive of Hovhaness' work which is being constructed in Yerevan, Armenia.