‘Seeing' through Others' eyes

... assertive compositions written with considerable orchestral imagination. - Leo Kraft.

2016 Lifetime Achievement Award

Ms. Hoover began writing music in earnest in the early 1970s, a time when few women were having success in the male-dominated world of classical composing, and she was still creating new works into this decade.

She wrote pieces for a solo instrument and piano, like “Ritual” (1989), for clarinet. She wrote a bassoon quartet (1976) and a saxophone quartet (1980). She wrote “Medieval Suite” (1984), a five-movement orchestral work that she said was inspired by “A Distant Mirror,” Barbara W. Tuchman’s book about the 14th century....

by NFA

Rochester Review Winter 2019 Vol. 81, No. 2

When composer and flutist Katherine Hoover ’59E died last September, the New York Times reprinted in a remembrance the final verse of a poem Hoover had published in 2015. The poem was called “Music, My Love,” and in the final stanza, Hoover wrote:

Music my love,
You have taken my hand
In sorrow and led me
From darkness.
You have taught me grace
And forgiveness.
Music, my love, You whisper to me
Of paradise.
by Caroline Sonett

2016 Lifetime Achievement Award

Katherine Hoover is a multifaceted artist—flutist, teacher, entrepreneur, poet, and, most notably, a distinguished composer. A prodigy (she read music at age 4), she is also, as a woman composer, a pioneer in her field. Hoover’s work has garnered commissions, awards, and accolades including a 1994 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Composition. In 1996, her Dances and Variations and its premiere at the Kennedy Center was chronicled in the PBS documentary New Music.

Although known for her works for flute, Hoover also composes orchestral, vocal, and chamber works for other instruments, including the tone poem Eleni: A Greek Tragedy, Op. 36; Two Sketches, commissioned by the Bay Area Women’s Philharmonic; her Clarinet Concerto for Eddie Daniels; the Quintet Da Pacem for piano and strings, commissioned by the New Jersey Chamber Music Society; her Double Concerto for two solo violins and orchestra; and other works.

Other major works include Three for Eight, a joint commission of the New York and Long Island flute clubs, Canyon Echoes for flute and guitar, Winter Spirits for solo flute, premiered in Philadelphia by Mimi Stillman, and Mountain & Mesa for flute and piano, premiered by Stillman at the 2009 NFA convention performed again by Stillman at Hoover’s 75th birthday tribute concert in 2013.

by NFA

Hoover for flute and guitar.

The intimate combination of flute and guitar has proven to be an attractive one for a number of composers, and if the composer herself plays the flute, so much the better.

“Canyon Echoes,” written by the American composer and flutist Katherine Hoover premiered on today’s date in 1991 at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis by flutist Susan Morris De Jong and guitarist Jeffrey Van.

Katherine Hoover gave her “Canyon Echoes” a subtitle: “An Apache Folktale.”
“This piece,” explained Hoover, “was inspired by a book called The Flute Player, a simple and beautifully illustrated retelling of an Apache folktale by Michael Lacapa. It is the story of two young Apaches from different areas of a large canyon. They meet at a Hoop Dance, and dance only with each other. The next day, as the girl works up on the side of the canyon in her father's fields, the boy sits below by a stream and plays his flute for her (flute-playing was a common manner of courtship). She puts a leaf in the stream which flows down to him, so he knows she hears.”

Music Played in Today's Program: Katherine Hoover, (1937 to 2018), Canyon Echoes (Duologue) (Susan Morris De Jong, flute; Jeffrey Van, guitar) Gasparo

by John Deberg, Composers Datebook

The Spirits: A Study of Katherine Hoover’s Solo Flute Pieces.

Katherine Hoover was an American composer and flautist. Her main aim in creating music was to tell stories and evoke senses and imagery through her music. She wanted to express her own creativity and pass on the emotions she felt about respecting native heritage to her listeners, to hopefully stir the same feelings in them that she felt. This research is for studying and showing her music idea through performing her two pieces Kokopeli and Winter Spirits. Recording links: Kokopeli: Winter Spirits:

by Ariel Wang, UVicSpace, 2020/June/08

The Cultural Cost of Celebrating Katherine Hoover.

Hi! I’m Ariel Wang, and I’ve been a musician since I was about three years old. I have studied countless pieces of music since then, but only as I grew older have I recognized the cultural appropriation hidden in many of them. Since denouncing these pieces would mean uprooting their contributions to classical music history as well as much of classical music culture, I hope to do my part in fostering equitable and inclusive representation in classical music in this column, by re-examining these pieces within the context of this conversation, and raising awareness to this cause. Here’s a link of me playing Winter Spirits...continued

by Ariel Wang, The Phillipian, Jan. 29, 2021

The "Medieval Suite" for flute and piano by Katherine Hoover: An examination, analysis and performance guide.

Abstract: The objective of this study is to analyze, interpret, and suggest performance techniques for a work by American composer and flutist Katherine Hoover: the Medieval Suite, Opus 18, (1981), for flute and piano. The work has a significant extra-musical source: A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, the history of medieval France written in 1978 by Barbara W. Tuchman. Each of the suite's five movements, Virelai, The Black Knight, The Drunken Friar, On the Betrothal of Princess Isabelle of France, Aged Six Years, and Demon's Dance, depicts a character, musical work, or historical event described in A Distant Mirror. The opening chapters introduce the scope of the project, present a brief biography of Katherine Hoover, provide information about the creative process behind the Medieval Suite and offer a brief synopsis of A Distant Mirror. Subsequent chapters present the historical context, a detailed analysis and a performance guide for each of the suite's five movements. The historical background and in-depth character sketches for each movement are drawn primarily from Tuchman, as this was Hoover's single historical sources for the composition. Complementary information from other historical sources is offered to complete certain characterizations. Compositional connections to the music of Hindemith and Bartok, as well as to medieval musical styles and forms such as the virelai, are explored. Unique compositional aspects of each movement are examined, using such approaches as formal, reductive, motivic, harmonic, and melodic analysis. Material from interviews with the composer is introduced to shed light on several hypotheses about the work's structural and stylistic elements. Interpretive comments and suggestions are intended to help the performer realize and clarify both structure and style.

ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Jan. 1996

Soloistic Flute Music by Katherine Hoover

Abstract: Katherine Hoover has been an important force behind the advancement of women composers in America. Her own compositions are numerous and many of them have won awards. The purpose of this document is to acquaint the music community with five of Hoover’s soloistic works for flute. Although there have been detailed articles published on two of Hoover’s compositions for flute, a full dissertation written on another, and a D.M.A. document in progress on a third, there are several other soloistic flute pieces by her about which little is known. By focusing on these lesser-known works, this document attempts to generate interest in some outstanding compositions for flute. Theoretical and structural characteristics, extra-musical influences, and performance issues are covered as they relate to each piece. As a result, directions for an accurate and stylistically appropriate musical presentation of each work are offered.

Partial Fulfillment for D.M.A. The Univ. of Georgia, 2004

Roundtable Discussion: Composing For the Flute: Thoughts from Jennifer Higdon, Katherine Hoover, and Carter Pann

Three composers who have written notable works for the flute share their thoughts on their careers and compositions....continued

Flute Talk, November 2017

Hopi Culture and the Music of Katherine Hoover

Because Native American music is traditionally improvisational, that approach works well with Kokopeli in terms of tempo and rhythm when you are ready to loosen it up....continued

Flute Talk, March 2010

Katherine Hoover Composer, Flutist

The late Katherine Hoover was struck by the beauty of music the :first time she heard Mozart at the age of 3. At 5 years old, she began taking piano lessons, where ber love of music blossomed. Since that time, her legacy has lived on within her music, cementing her resounding influence in the creative realm. Ms. Hoover received a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music.utetalk Index of Articles....continued

Millenium, Fifth Edition, pg32.

A Conversation with Composer Katherine Hoover

Flutetalk Index of Articles....continued

Interview, Flute Talk Archive, October 2016.

Art and Folklore in the Compositions of Katherine Hoover

Flutist Katherine Hoover is known to many as the composer of Kokopeli, although her numerous compositions include the traditional as well as contemporary forms. She was born in West Virginia in 1937 and majored in theory and flute at the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Joseph Mariano; she studied later with William Kincaid in Philadelphia, and at the Manhattan School of Music. She lives in New York City, freelances with ballet and opera companies, and continues an active career as a composer and conductor.

VJ: How much does your background with Joseph Mariano and William Kincaid, who stressed the importance of strong liquid intervals and crossbarline phrasing, influence the style of music you compose?

KH: One of the foundations of music is moving from a weak beat to a strong beat, a lesson I learned from Mariano and Kincaid. The big disadvantage of notation is that people generally give more importance to what they see than to what they hear. Big stop signs in the form of barlines are written into the music before every downbeat, and they send a very strong visual signal to stop the forward motion.

VJ: Was Kokopeli written without barlines for that reason?

KH: It occurred to me to write Kokopeli without barlines after playing facsimiles of Medieval and Renaissance duets that were written without barlines. I wanted long flowing phrases to be performed freely without the walls that barlines create. With freedom from barlines musicians respond to the sounds of the piece, as well as the acoustics of the hall, which should influence the tempo, interpretation, and length of rests and fermatas....continued.

by Victoria Jicha, January 2002 issue of Flute Talk, republished May 2020.

Katherine Hoover and Harold Rosenbaum: Recording Her Unique: Requiem for the Innocent.

When I interviewed flutist, poet, and composer Katherine Hoover for the July/August 2016 issue (Fanfare 39:6) I commented that Parnassus records had, with its several releases, touched on every aspect of Hoover’s art. I was wrong, as this new CD proves. Hoover is a fine composer of choral music as well, and thanks to a new recording initiative by Harold Rosenbaum and his acclaimed chorus, The New York Virtuoso Singers, we are now able to hear a good sampling of her small but significant body of work for vocal ensemble. That includes a striking setting of poetry by Walt Whitman, in the form of a liturgy for the dead, titled Requiem for the Innocent.

The last interview was with Hoover alone, but this time the composer asked that her partner in this project be a partner in the conversation. So we got a three-way email discussion of the music and the recording started even as the audio and documentation were in final preparations for publication.

Hoover wrote in her program notes that the Requiem for the Innocent was inspired by the attacks of September 11, 2001, but that she withdrew the work as a result of the military campaign against Baghdad in 2003. To start with, I asked her to say a little about her response to both events, and why she decided to pursue a recording of the Requiem, and a performance in concert, 13 years after it was withdrawn.

“I live in Manhattan, about seven miles above the 9/11 site. There was no avoiding the shock and consequences of this, and the first poem I actually had published is called ‘Dust’ and is about that tragedy. I began the Requiem not long after that. The poetry of Walt Whitman which I used was originally written about the Johnstown flood, which was also entirely human-caused, and killed about the same number as the 9/11 attacks.

“Then, when we began our tremendous bombardment in 2003 of a city whose country had nothing to do with 9/11, using that as some kind of strange excuse, I was appalled. Many, many more innocents were victimized. Morally, I could not mourn the 3,000 when my country was bombing tens of thousands who were just as innocent. So I put it away...continued.

by Ronald E. Grames,

Composer and Flutist Katherine Hoover Goes "This Way About" in Her First Collection of Poems.

When the award-winning flutist and composer Katherine Hoover starts writing a new piece of music, she’s never sure where it’s going to go. And she’s okay with that.

“You never know where it’s going to take you,” Hoover said in a recent phone interview. “You just have to work and express it and let it be and let it take you there.”

As Hoover launches a career as a poet, she says working with words is much the same way. And she's okay with that, too.

Embracing the mystery and uncertainty of the creative life has come to define Hoover as an artist. Her first collection of poems, This Way About (2015) gives voice to the mysteries of creativity – and of life in general – in its first poem, “Vaguely Philosophical.” That poem tells of life twisting, turning and looping back on itself with no clear outcome in sight – “Who is to say/that backward is not/where forward will go?/Let someone else decide;/ I abstain,/knowing simply myself/that this way about/is only (or also) mine.”...continued.

by Jennifer Hambrick,

"KATHERINE HOOVER: A day in the life of a composer, afternoon: BUSINESS"

This interview originally appeared in the May 2013 New York Flute Club Newsletter. Copyright 2013 by The New York Flute Club, Inc.

If the morning is about getting ideas out of Katherine’s head and onto paper, the afternoon is about getting her music out of her apartment and onto music stands everywhere…

ZL: So, you’ve composed until you’re done for the day, then what?

KH: Well, I head for the computer: there are always things to answer like somebody wants a lesson on Kokopeli, and that has to be scheduled. I go to the post office a reasonable amount. I’m very, very lucky that Papagena Press has been enough of a success that about five years ago Theodore Presser came to me and asked to be my distributor, and offered me a very nice deal. So I have to get stuff off to them, from time to time, and then there are a ton of other things, a lot of inquiries. So in the afternoon, I handle things like inquiries and the business level of it...continued .

Part 2 Interview by Zara Lawler,

"KATHERINE HOOVER: A day in the life of a composer, morning: WRITING"

This interview originally appeared in the May 2013 New York Flute Club Newsletter. Copyright 2013 by The New York Flute Club, Inc.

The flute world knows Katherine Hoover ( as a groundbreaking composer of wonderful music for the flute. She began her life as a composer when it was very unusual for women to consider composing as a career. Equally boldly, she started a publishing company, Papagena Press, to get her music out into the world. I first met Katherine in the early ’90s when I was at Barnard College, working on both her Suite for two flutes and Kokopeli for my senior thesis project on women composers. She was one of the first “real” (that is, non-student) composers I had ever met, and I am so pleased that we have worked together quite a bit in the years since! For this profile, we got together last year at her Upper West Side apartment, and I used the opportunity to ask her all sorts of nosy questions about the nitty-gritty of her life as a composer, and how it compares to the life of a flutist...continued.

Part 1 Interview by Zara Lawler,