Kaufman is a former Fulbright Scholar, and author of “The African Roots of Jazz”, a groundbreaking study that drew heavily on his early musical life as a jazz trumpet player. He is the recipient of the Darius Milhaud Award in Composition from the Aspen Music Festival, and honors and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller, Guggenheim and Ford Foundations, the California, Montana and Pennsylvania Arts Councils as well as the Norwegian Government.
In 1985, the Statue of Liberty committee commissioned Fredrick Kaufman to write a choral work Mother of Exiles, for the re-dedication ceremonies of the Statue of Liberty. The composition was premiered by the United Nations Chorus at the ceremony and was broadcast worldwide by network television.
The points of departure for Kaufman's writing are often gestures and sound imagery from his own wide ranging background which includes jazz and Eastern European Jewish folk traditions and a foundation deeply steeped in the classics as well as the avant garde. His multi-cultural works have received overwhelming praise in the press. His Kaminarimon (for Taiko drums and Flamenco dance) has been called “remarkable” and was voted as and “the most imaginative new work of the year” 2002” by music critic, James Roos of The Miami Herald.
Fredrick Kaufmann currently resides in Miami Beach where he holds the distinguished position as Composer-in-Residence at Florida International University. Prior to that he was Director of the FIU School of Music for ten years and established its internationally acclaimed Music Festival. He is the founder and former Artistic Director of the St. Cyprien International Festival of the Arts held in St. Cyprien, France.
His work “Yin & Yang: A Dialogue for Two Grand Pianos”, was commissioned for the 9th Dranoff International Two Piano Competition.