Another sad day in the flute world, as we mourn the loss of legendary performer, teacher, and composer Katherine Hoover. Known as a pioneering figure in the field of flute composition, Katherine leaves behind a legacy whose shoes will be hard to fill.
Katherine received her undergraduate degree from the Eastman School of Music in 1959, where she studied with flutist Joseph Mariano. Unfortunately, her composition classes left a bad impression. She commented, “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 1969, Hoover began teaching flute and theory at the Manhattan School of Music and continued her graduate studies, receiving 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. In 1990, she wrote Kokopeli, a work for solo flute inspired by the Hopi tribe and the American Southwest.
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 1996, she 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. Perhaps the greatest praise of her ability came from composer John Corigliano: “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. She is just too good not to be recognized, and I predict that her time will come soon.”