Manuela V. Hoelterhoff is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and editor whose wide range of topics includes art, architecture, music, animals, travel and books.
She was born in Hamburg, Germany and now lives on the Upper West Side in New York City, and in Gardiner, New York, where she has a small farm devoted to rescued pigs and goats.
Her mother was Latvian; her father German. She received a Master’s Degree from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.
Her career included various assignments at The Wall Street Journal, including arts editor, books editor and member of the editorial board. She was founder and executive editor of Muse, Bloomberg’s arts and culture section for ten years starting in 2004, producing segments for television and radio, and supervising 20,000 stories and reviews on architecture, books, theater, music, film, television, conservation.
In addition to the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, Hoelterhoff is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. The Carnegie Corporation included her in its 2014 list of notable immigrants.
She was a founding editor of SmartMoney magazine in 1991 and Conde Nast Traveler in 1987. Hoelterhoff started her career writing for William F. Buckley’s National review in the 1970s.
In 1998, she published “Cinderella & Company: Backstage at the Opera With Cecilia Bartoli” (Alfred A. Knopf), which was translated into French, German and Dutch.
Anthony Tommasini, chief music critic of The New York Times, called it “The most perceptive and hilariously honest book on the making and marketing of opera to come along in some time.”
“Modern Painters,” her libretto about John Ruskin, the Victorian tastemaker, early environmentalist and all around eccentric, was set to music by David Lang. The production was well-received at its premiere at the Santa Fe Opera in 1995.
Variety wrote: “Hoelterhoff, a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and former music critic of the Wall Street Journal, finds dramatic substance in her material. She should be in line for another award with this cogently conceived, imaginative and historically correct libretto, her first opera book.”
Her current book project is “Hitler’s Summer Seasons: How the Fuhrer Turned the World Into His Stage.”