Pianist Seriously Injured In Car Accident Following Chautauqua Performance

CHAUTAUQUA – Concert pianist Claudia Hoca was injured in a one-car accident Aug. 13, while driving home from a performance in the Amphitheater, according to friends of the performer.

Hoca reportedly swerved to avoid an animal in the eastbound lane of the New York State Thruway. Her car overturned, and rolled off the highway and down an embankment. According to Irene Haupt, a personal friend of the pianist, she was trapped in her car behind an airbag until daylight arrived, which made it possible for her to locate her cellphone, and to phone for assistance.

She was cut out of her car and flown by Mercy Flight to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo. She underwent surgery for a cracked neck vertebrae on Friday. Additional surgery to deal with a shattered knee and a broken jaw will be scheduled soon. She also suffered bruised ribs and an injured wrist.

Hoca is listed as a substitute orchestral pianist with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and is the regular orchestral pianist for the Buffalo Philharmonic. She had performed Tuesday evening with the CSO in a pops concert, and was returning to Buffalo when her accident took place. She has often performed in Chautauqua County, as well as throughout the nation as both a soloist and with various orchestras. She is a regular member of “A Musical Feast,” a Buffalo-based chamber orchestra.

Her friend reports that Hoca’s wrist injury at first suggested that her left hand would no longer have the dexterity to perform on the piano, but in the passing of time, it has been determined that with physical therapy, she will regain the use of her fingers.

Born in Austria, Claudia Hoca is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, and holds a master’s degree in piano performance from the University of New York at Buffalo. She has performed more than 20 different concertos with the Buffalo Philharmonic, and has appeared as a soloist and an accompanist throughout the U.S. She has made many professional recordings.

Because she has no health insurance, “A Musical Feast” is in the process of planning a benefit concert, to help with medical costs. A benefit account has been established by Theodore Hoca, the pianist’s brother. Donations may be sent to Benefit Account 096 00 61 364, in care of Community Bank, 76 Main St., Gowanda, NY 14070-1319.