Morning Edition music commentator Miles Hoffman is the author of The NPR Classical Music Companion, now in its tenth printing from the Houghton Mifflin Company. Before joining Morning Edition in 2002, Hoffman entertained and enlightened the nationwide audience of NPR's Performance Today every week for 13 years with his musical commentary, "Coming to Terms," a listener-friendly tour through the many foreign words and technical terms peculiar to the world of classical music.
A nationally renowned violist, Hoffman is violist and artistic director of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States and Canada. With the American Chamber Players he has recorded works of Mozart, Bruch, Bloch, Stravinsky, and Rochberg for a series of compact discs produced by the Library of Congress and distributed internationally on the Koch International Classics Label. He has also appeared as a soloist with many orchestras around the country, performing a broad repertoire that ranges from baroque to contemporary compositions, and he has been a featured lecturer for orchestras, universities, chamber music series, festivals, and various other organizations.
Hoffman is a graduate of Yale University and the Juilliard School. In 2003 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Centenary College of Louisiana in recognition of his achievements as a performer and educator.
After winning awards in the National Arts Club and Washington International Competitions, he made his New York solo recital debut in 1979 at the 92nd Street Y, and has since played recitals in many cities in the U.S. and abroad. He gave the first American performance of Krzysztof Penderecki's "Cadenza" for solo viola and the first Washington area performance of the Penderecki Viola Concerto, and he has had works written for him by composers Bruce Saylor, Max Raimi, Roger Ames, and Seymour Barab, among others. In 1982 he founded the Library of Congress Summer Chamber Festival, which he directed for nine years, and which led to the formation of the American Chamber Players.
Hoffman presents children's programs, classes, and master classes in schools and universities around the U.S. when traveling as a soloist and on his tours with the American Chamber Players.
Stephen Thompson is an editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he curates Song of the Day, fusses over the placement of commas and appears as a frequent panelist on the podcasts All Songs Considered and Pop Culture Happy Hour. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the weekly NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk.
In 1993, Thompson founded The Onion's entertainment section, The A.V. Club, which he edited until December 2004. In the years since, he has provided music-themed commentaries for the NPR programs Weekend Edition Sunday, Weekend All Things Considered and Morning Edition, on which he earned the distinction of becoming the only member of the NPR Music staff ever to sing on an NPR newsmagazine. (Later, the magic of AutoTune transformed him from a 12th-rate David Archuleta into a fourth-rate Cher.) Thompson's entertainment writing has also run in Paste magazine, The Washington Post and The London Guardian.
During his tenure at The Onion, Thompson edited the 2002 book The Tenacity of the Cockroach: Conversations with Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders (Crown) and copy-edited six best-selling comedy books. While there, he also coached The Onion's softball team to a sizzling 21-42 record, and was once outscored 72-0 in a span of 10 innings. Later in life, Thompson redeemed himself by teaming up with the small gaggle of fleet-footed twentysomethings who won the 2008 NPR Relay Race, a triumph he documents in a hard-hitting essay for the forthcoming anthology This Is NPR: The First Forty Years (Chronicle).
A 1994 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Thompson now lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his two children and a Frogger machine. His hobbies include watching reality television without shame, eating Pringles until his hand has involuntarily twisted itself into a gnarled claw, using the size of his Twitter following to assess his self-worth, touting the immutable moral superiority of the Green Bay Packers and maintaining a fierce rivalry with all Midwestern states other than Wisconsin.