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Katherine Hoover

Composer

Katherine Hoover
1937-2018

Biography

Born in Elkins, West Virginia, Hoover was raised in a "non-musical family." Her mother was a painter and her father was a scientist, and they discouraged her from pursuing music as a career. However, music was the most important part of Hoover's life. She recalled being able to read music as early as four years old, before she could read words. After her family moved to Philadelphia, she began playing the flute. At age fifteen, she began playing the piano. She received "mediocre music instruction" in high school.

Because her parents discouraged her from pursuing a music major, she began her academic studies at the University of Rochester in 1955. Two years later she transferred to the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with flutist Joseph Mariano, began studying composition, and graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Theory and a Performer's Certificate in Flute. Unfortunately, her composition classes left a bad impression. Hoover comments, "There were no women involved with composition at all. [I got] rather discouraged – being the only woman in my classes, not being paid attention to and so forth." After graduating from Eastman, she moved to Manhattan and spent the next ten years focusing on performing and teaching.

In the summers of 1960 and 1961, Hoover attended the Yale Summer Session, where she studied flute, theory, and composition. During this time, she studied with flutist William Kincaid in Philadelphia. From 1961–1967 Hoover taught flute at the Juilliard Preparatory School as well as a few other small schools, including the Third Street Music School. It was at the Third Street Music School that Hoover had her first positive experience as a composer. She was asked to compose a piece for a school concert, a duet for violins, which was very well received.

In 1969, Hoover began teaching flute and theory at the Manhattan School of Music, a position she held for fifteen years. During her time at Manhattan, she continued her graduate studies and received her Master of Music in Music Theory in 1974. In 1972 Hoover had her first publication of a composition, Three Carols for choir and flute, published by Carl Fischer. Hoover was also a faculty member of the Teachers College, Columbia University from 1986 to 1989, where she taught flute and composition to graduate students.

In 1990, she wrote Kokopeli, a work for solo flute inspired by the Hopi tribe and the American Southwest. At this time, she began Papagena Press, which was founded to publish her works. Kokopeli was the first publication of Papagena Press and won the National Flute Association's Newly Published Music Competition in 1991 (Hoover's second of four NFA Newly Published Music awards).

Hoover was very involved with women's arts organizations and has worked to bring the works of women composers to the public's notice. In 1977, she began work with the Women's Inter-Art Center in New York. Here she organized Festivals I, II, and III of Women's Music which presented music by fifty-five historical and contemporary women composers.

In 1996, Hoover was the composer in residence for the Fourth Festival of Women Composers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

In her later years, Hoover lived with her husband Richard Goodwin in New York City where she continued to actively compose new works as well as promote an interest in compositions, historical and contemporary, by women composers.


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