While the Philadelphia suburbs were home to Katherine's parents, family tradition dictated Katherine Lacy Hoover would be born in Elkins, West Virginia, U.S.A. She was born in Elkins on December 2, 1937.
Her mother (Katherine Lacy Fletcher) was a painter/artist and editor. Her father (Samuel Randolph Hoover) was a biochemist. According to Katherine, "Non-musical" seemed to be an appropriate term to describe her parents. This point of view reinforced the family's "Great Depression Era" experiences. While appreciative of the arts, they could not envision music as a viable profession for anyone.
Elkins, W.V. 1930s
Courtesy of traveling219.com, Photo by John Vachon, from the Library of Congress.
Nevertheless, they supported Katherine's education in the arts. Reluctantly they acceded to Katherine's pursuit of music. She began learning the flute in school at roughly age eight. Before this, her father rescued a piano discarded by a neighbor. At age fifteen, she began playing the piano.
Looking back, Katherine received "mediocre music instruction" in high school. In perspective, this was more to suggest she wanted a more significant challenge. Her accomplishments in high school eventually lead to her acceptance into the University of Rochester (1955) and the University's professional school of music.
Eastman School of Music
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.
Katherine spent the next ten years focusing on performing and teaching. In the summer of 1960, Katherine attended the Yale Summer Session, where she studied flute, theory, and composition. The following summer, she studied with flutist William Kincaid in Philadelphia. It is very possible that Katherine was Kincaid’s Iast student.
From 1961–1967, Katherine 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 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.
In 1969, Katherine 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.
Manhattan, NYC 1975
Courtesy of Papagena Press. Copyright1975 all rights reserved
After eight years of marriage, Katherine divorced her first husband. She stayed in New York City to raise her son. Her career continued to grow. Katherine had her first publication of a composition, Three Carols for choir and flute, published by Carl Fischer.
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. This success was repeated in 1979, receiving the same award in addition to being awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Composer's Fellowship.
In 1985, Katherine married her husband, Richard Goodwin, in New York City, where she continued to actively compose new works as well as promote interest in compositions, both historical and contemporary, by women composers.
Katherine 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 1987, (age 49) Katherine received the first of five National Flute Association (NFA) Newly Published Music Competition awards for her Medieval Suite (flute and piano). Katherine followed this success with the 1988 "Newly Published Music" award for her Lyric Trio (flute, cello, and piano).
In 1989, Katherine received the New York State Music Teachers' Association Composer of the Year award. 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.
During the next year, Katherine Katherine founded Papagena Press primarily to publish her work. Since then, Papagena Press has released 70 other titles by Katherine and one by John Davison.
Papagena's first publication, Kokopeli (for solo flute) in late 1990, was inspired by the Hopi tribe and the American Southwest. Kokopeli won the Newly Published Music competition for 1991.
Katherine's Two for Two (alto flute and piano, bass flute and piano) and Canyon Echos (flute and guitar) followed as "Newly Published Music" award winners.
Manhattan, NYC 1979
NFA's Newly Published Music Competition winners:
According to the NFA, ten of Katherine's pieces received "Newly Published Music" competition nominations.
In terms of awards, she has also received a grant from the Alice M. Ditson Fund, and numerous grants from Meet the Composer. Including a commission by the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, the Women's Philharmonic, the Episcopal Diocese of New York, the Huntingdon Trio, and Duologue, among many others.
In January 1994, Katherine conducted the premiere of her Night Skies, a 25-minute work for large orchestra, with the Harrisburg Symphony. Later that same year, Katherine was honored by the Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award in Composition.
In 1996, Katherine was the Composer-in-Residence for the Fourth Festival of Women Composers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
As a flutist, Katherine has given concerto performances at Lincoln Center and performed with leading ballet and opera companies in all of New York's major halls. She has played numerous recitals, both live and on radio and television. Publishers of her chamber repertoire include Arabesque, Leonarda, CRI, Grenadilla, and Opus One.
Katherine has also attended the Conductors Institute in South Carolina and has led performances in Wisconsin, West Virginia, New York, and Pennsylvania.
The commissioning, rehearsing, and premiere of her Dances and Variations at Kennedy Center are the subject of an Emmy-winning documentary, called New Music, by Deborah Novak. As a player, theorist, teacher, and conductor Katherine has studied hundreds of scores; these scores were her primary composition instruction.
Katherine has become active as a conductor in the last few years, leading performances of her work and that of others in Wisconsin, West Virginia, and New York, and Pennsylvania. In the fall of 1995, she traveled to Bratislava for the recording of her Night Skies and Eleni: A Greek Tragedy, returning for the premiere of her new Dances and Variations at Kennedy Center.
June 1, 2015, brought the publication of her first book, "This Way About."
National Flute Association Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016
"Member Laureate - Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity".