The Philadelphia suburbs were home to Katherine's parents, Her mother (Katherine Lacy Fletcher) was a painter/artist and editor. Her father (Samuel Randolph Hoover) was a biochemist. Family tradition dictated Katherine Lacy Hoover would be born in Elkins, West Virginia, U.S.A.
Katherine Lacy Hoover was born in Elkins on December 2, 1937, returning to Philadelphia soon after.
According to Katherine, she was struck by the beauty of music when she first heard Mozart, played on a Victrola, at age three. It is unknown when her father rescued a neighbor's discarded piano. Her family thinks it logical; the arrival of this piano was why she could begin piano lessons at age five. Flute lessons soon followed in school at age eight. Katherine would only share with family; she discovered her talent of perfect-pitch as a child.
Elkins, W.V. 1930s
Courtesy of traveling219.com, Photo by John Vachon, from the Library of Congress.
Katherine's parents, who were appreciative of the arts, could not envision music as a viable profession for anyone. Her family surmises it reflects the family's experiences from the Great Depression. Katherine would often refer to her parents as "nonmusical" in part to express their lack of support. Later in life, when asked about the formal instruction she received during her scholastic years, Katherine responded she received "mediocre music instruction". At least, in part, this was an example of Katherine's frustration with her instructors not supporting her pursuit of musical excellence. Her tendency to pursue excellence is illustrated by achieving a National Merit Scholarship.
Eastman School of Music
Katharine entered the University of Rochester in 1955 with an academic scholarship. She did complete her 1st two years of academic studies successfully. In 1957 she entered the University's Eastman School of Music, where she studied flute with Joseph Mariano and began to study composition. Katharine comments "There were no women involved composition at all. [I got] rather discouraged, being the only woman in my classes, not being paid attention to and so forth." Katharine graduated From Eastman School of Music in 1959 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Theory and a Performers Certificate in Flute.
Katherine focused on performing (freelance flutist) and teaching early through her 59 years, based in Manhattan. While famous for her compositions and performances, some of her other accomplishments include educator, published writer, entrepreneur, and conductor. In the summer of 1960, Katherine attended the Yale Summer Session, where she studied flute, theory, and composition. The following summer, she continued her studies with flutist William Kincaid in Philadelphia. Katherine was uncertain, yet may have been Kincaid's last student.
From 1961–1967, Katherine taught flute at the Juilliard School's Preparatory Division and a few other small schools, including the Third Street Music School. It was at the Third Street Music School that Katherine 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.
Katherine's family expanded in 1964 with marriage to Christopher J. Schwab.
Manhattan, NYC 1975
Courtesy of Papagena Press. Copyright1975 all rights reserved
In 1969, she began teaching music theory, singing, and dictation at the Manhattan School of Music. This continued for 15 years until 1984. During this time, she continued her graduate studies at Manhattan, receiving her Master of Music in Music Theory in 1974.
After eight years of marriage, Katherine divorced her first husband. She stayed in New York City to raise her son and grow her career. Katherine had her first publication of a composition, Three Carols for choir and flute, published by Carl Fischer Music Company.
Katherine 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.
Previously frustrated, Katherine realized praises for her efforts beginning in 1978, receiving the Friedham Contest's Outstanding New American Chamber Work award. Her successes grew in 1979, receiving the same award and being awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Composer's Fellowship.
The time frame of 1984-1985 appears to be a significant period of transition for Katherine. Something like an increased trajectory. While she continued to actively compose new works, she also promoted interest in compositions, both historical and contemporary, by women composers. Additionally, she became a faculty member at Columbia University's Teachers College, married Richard Goodwin in 1985.
In 1987 (age 49), Katherine won the first of five Newly Published Music Competitions from the National Flute Association (NFA) for her Medieval Suite (flute and piano).
Manhattan, NYC 1979
Courtesy of Papagena Press. Copyright1979 all rights reserved
Katherine founded Papagena Press in 1988, primarily to publish her work.
In 1989 Katherine was named Composer of the Year by the New York Music Teachers Association. This same year the New Jersey Chamber Music Society premiered her Quintet (Da Pacem) for piano and strings at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center.
Papagena's first publication, Kokopeli (for solo flute) was inspired by the Hopi tribe and the American Southwest. Kokopeli won the Newly Published Music competition for 1991. Out of all of her achievements in music, Katherine was overcome with the success of her composition, Kokopeli. Written in New Mexico in 1990, the piece holds international renown and exemplifies the culture of Native Americans and their music. Katherine was overjoyed when one of her peers deemed her composition a "whole new genre of music for the flute".
NFA's Newly Published Music Competition winners:
The early '90s were especially rewarding for Katherine, demonstrating her exceptional versatility. In '93 and '94, Canyon Echos and Lyric Trio won the NFA's annual Newly Published Music Competition. Having attended the Conductors Institute in South Carolina, She becomes active as a conductor leading performances of her work and others in Wisconsin, West Virginia, and New York, and Pennsylvania.
In January 1994, Katherine conducted the premiere of her Night Skies, a 25-minute work for a large orchestra, with the Harrisburg Symphony. Later that same year, Katherine was honored with the Academy Award in Music by the Academy of Arts and Letters.
In the fall of 1995, she traveled to Bratislava for the recording of her Night Skies and Eleni: A Greek Tragedy, then returning to watch her composition, Dances and Variations being featured in the 1996 Emmy-winning PBS documentary titled New Music. Director Deborah Novak traced the commissioning, rehearsal, and premiere of the work at the Kennedy Center. Later that year, Katherine was the Composer-in-Residence for the Fourth Festival of Women Composers at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
As a flutist, Katherine has given concerto performances at Lincoln Center and performed with leading ballet and opera companies in New York's major halls. She has played numerous recitals, both live and on radio and television.
Katherine was a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the International Alliance for Women in Music, the National Flu Association, the Conductor's Guild, and Member Laureate - Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity.
Her retirement from performance in 2012 gave Kathrine great freedom to work on her poetry, once again demonstrating versatility in her profession. Katherine became a published author in 2015, with her poetry book This Way About being published as an Editor's Choice.
Katherine was the recipient of the National Flute Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. According to the NFA, ten of Katherine's pieces received Newly Published Music competition nominations.
Katherine Lacy Hoover passed away in 2018 and is survived by her husband, Richard Goodwin, son, Norman Daniel Schwab and three grandchildren.
She owed much of her success to her mentor, William Kincaid. Working under his guidance for two years, he taught her more about music than any other composer at a time in history when it was taboo for women to write music.
Papagena Press which survives with her family has released over 70 titles by Katherine, one title by John Davison and documents more than another 30 of Katherine's works.
In terms of support, she received a grant from the Alice M. Ditson Fund, numerous grants from Meet the Composer; Commissions by the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, the Women's Philharmonic, the Episcopal Diocese of New York, the Huntingdon Trio, and Duologue, among others; and is a recipient of a myriad of awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Katherine's output includes many works for the flute; however, she also wrote for specific performers on other instruments. Two examples are Stitch-te Naku for Cello and Orchestra, for cellist Sharon Robinson and her Clarinet Concerto, and for virtuoso jazz clarinetist Eddie Daniels.
Katherine's compositions have been performed in Orchestras, including the Harrisburg, Reno, Richmond, and St. Joseph Symphonies, chamber groups such as the New Jersy Chamber Music Society, the Dorian and Sylvan Quintets, and Montclaire Quartets and the Verdehr, Huntingdon, and Eroica Trios, Pianists Miriam Conti, Joseph Kalichstein, Christopher Taylor, and Anne Marie McDermott, and flutists Julius Baker, Carol Wincenc, and Jeffrey Kahner, and Metropolitan Opera bass John Cheek have performed her music.
Publishers of her chamber repertoire include Arabesque, Leonarda, CRI, Grenadilla, and Opus One.
As a player, theorist, teacher, and conductor, Katherine studied hundreds of scores; these scores were her primary composition instruction. Katherine was once asked how she composed; Did she ever experiment with her music using an instrument? Her answer was she would compose a whole piece in her imagination.