Denise Mei Yan Hofmann was born in Hong Kong. Half-Swiss, half-Chinese, she was raised in Seoul, Bangkok, Istanbul and Hong Kong.
Denise started playing guitar at age 10; captivated by jazz and instrumental rock, she started improvising a year later. However, Denise only decided to pursue music and composition seriously upon graduation from Middlebury College in 2011, where she wrote her senior thesis on Protestant missionaries in the context of opium smuggling and British imperialism in nineteenth-century China. In 2016, Denise received her M.M. from Mannes College of Music under the guidance of Lowell Liebermann.
Denise’s music has been performed at the National Opera Center, DiMenna Center for Classical Music, Spectrum and Mannes College in New York City; Asia Society Hong Kong Center and City Hall Theatre in Hong Kong; Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore; The International Dance Festival 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. Denise arranged the jazz standard Georgia on my Mind for the Johnny Rodgers Band, which was performed by the Moscow Symphony in June 2013. Denise has written incidental music for three theatre productions, including NYC production Harriman-Baines at Theatre for the New City.
Denise was selected out of 150 applicants to be a composer fellow for Bright Sheng's Intimacy of Creativity Contemporary Song Festival, held in Hong Kong in March 2017. Other awards include fellowships from Yaddo Colony, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts and the Mannes College Dean's Award; Denise has been commissioned by Musicus Society and the Hong Kong Composer’s Guild.