RECENT: Defining Our Field - what is 'classical music' to us, why are we involved and what can we learn from our differences? Read John Dante Prevedini's essay, watch the panel discussion and make your own comments.
Katherine Hoover is an extraordinary composer. She has a wide and fascinating vocabulary which she uses with enormous skill. Her music is fresh and individual. It is dazzlingly crafted, and will reach an audience as it provides interest to the professional musician. I do not know why her works are not yet being played by the major institutions of this country, but I am sure that she will attain the status she deserves in time. - John Corigliano
American composer and flautist Katherine Hoover was born in Elkins, West Virginia, on 2 December 1937. She was discouraged from studying music by her non-musical family, but switched from academic studies at the University of Rochester to studying flute and composition at the Eastman School of Music.
As a composer, she was a late starter, having been put off by the exclusively male environment in her composition classes, and she didn't publish anything until 1972. She wrote much music for solo flute, and in combination with other instruments, and became known for her flute music, but she also wrote piano, orchestral music, chamber and choral music. Her tone poem Eleni: A Greek Tragedy has been performed by thirteen different orchestras. She won many awards for works in a 'romantic, often pictorial atonal style' (American Record Guide). She used musical quotation and adapted other composers' melodies.
In addition to composing, she actively promoted music by other women composers, both contemporary and historical, including work with the Women's Inter-Art Center in New York, where she organised festivals of fifty-five women's music.
She taught flute at the Juilliard Preparatory School (1961-7), at the Manhattan School of Music and at the Teachers College, Columbia University.
Her later years were spent in New York, where she was also active as a conductor.
Katherine Hoover died on 21 September 2018, aged eighty.