Lee Hoiby

Both a composer and a pianist, Lee Hoiby's songs and operatic works are well loved by singers. He wrote more than 100 songs, many of them settings of American poetry.

Photo: Lee Hoiby, G. Schirmer website, credit Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

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About

Born in Wisconsin, Hoiby grew up a piano prodigy as a child. He earned his Bachelor of Music at the University of Wisconsin in 1947, when the university was a haven for musicians fleeing World War II Europe. He subsequently studied at Mills College until completing his Master of Music in 1952.

Despite his original intention to become a concert pianist, Hoiby took up composition upon his acceptance into the Curtis Institute to study with Gian Carlo Menotti. (However, Hoiby took up the piano again after many years of focus on composition and, following his debut recital at Alice Tully Hall in 1978, performed frequently in recitals throughout the United States.) Hoiby passed away on March 28, 2011 in New York City after a short illness.

Operatic, choral, and vocal music comprises the bulk of Hoiby’s output. His music follows the romantic traditions developed by Menotti and Barber, characterized by lyricism and a touch of humor. He rejected trends of the 20th century, such as atonality and minimalism, and preferred to write in a simple diatonic language with some venturing into chromaticism.

Since the 1980s, Hoiby’s music has achieved more attention, with more and more performances and recordings appearing on the scene.

–Christie Finn

Source: Richard Jackson and Walter G. Simmons’ article in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Related Information

Videos

Recordings

Between the Bliss and Me. . . Songs to Poems of Emily Dickinson

(Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, John Woods Duke, Arthur Farwell, Lee Hoiby, Lori Laitman and Richard Pearson Thomas)

2009

Songs of Lee Hoiby

(Lee Hoiby)

2009

Songs by Lias, Patterson and Hoiby

(Lee Hoiby)

2009

A Pocket of Time: 21 Songs and a Duet

(Lee Hoiby)

2009

Drifts & Shadows: American Song for the New Millennium

(Tom Cipullo, Daron Aric Hagen, Martin Hennessy, Richard Hundley and Lee Hoiby)

2007

The Shining Place

(Lee Hoiby, Lori Laitman, Stephen Paulus and Simon Sargon)

2006

Dwell in Possibility: Dickinson in Song

(Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, Celius Dougherty, John Woods Duke, Lee Hoiby, Richard Hundley, Jake Heggie, Lori Laitman, Libby Larsen, Etta Parker, Simon Sargon, Leo Smit and Richard Pearson Thomas)

2004

Carolyn Heafner Sings American Songs

(Ernst Bacon, Hugo Weisgall, Lee Hoiby and Amy Marcy Beach)

2000

American Anthem

(Samuel Barber, William Bolcom, Aaron Copland, Lee Hoiby, Charles Ives, John Musto, John Jacob Niles, Ned Rorem and Gene Scheer)

1998

American Anthem: From Ragtime to Art Song

(Samuel Barber, Lee Hoiby, Charles Ives, John Musto, John Jacob Niles, Ned Rorem, Traditional, Aaron Copland and William Bolcom)

1998

American Songs (Jennifer Larmore)

(Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, John Woods Duke, Jake Heggie, Lee Hoiby, Charles Ives, Charles Naginski and John Jacob Niles)

1997

Works By Thomson, Bowles, Hoiby, Hundley

(Paul Bowles, Lee Hoiby, Richard Hundley, John Musto, Virgil Thomson and Tennessee Williams)

1988

Where the Music Comes From

(Lee Hoiby, Celius Dougherty, Ned Rorem, Henry Burleigh, Samuel Barber, Arthur Farwell and Charles Griffes)

1991

Price Rediscovered

(Samuel Barber, Lee Hoiby and Traditional)

1965

Songs

A Clear Midnight

Lee Hoiby

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: I Was There: Five Poems of Walt Whitman

A Letter

Lee Hoiby

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Four Dickinson Songs

Angélique

Lee Hoiby

Adelaide Crapsey

Song Collection: Night Songs: Four Poems of A. Crapsey

Before My Door

Lee Hoiby

Wallace Stevens

Song Collection: O Florida

Beginning My Studies

Lee Hoiby

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: I Was There: Five Poems of Walt Whitman

Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter

Lee Hoiby

John Crowe Ransom

Song Collection: Southern Voices

Butterflies

Lee Hoiby

A. R. Ammons

Song Collection: Southern Voices

Continual Conversation with a Silent Man

Lee Hoiby

Wallace Stevens

Song Collection: O Florida

Filling Station

Lee Hoiby

Elizabeth Bishop

Song Collection: Three Ages of Woman

Floral Decorations for Bananas

Lee Hoiby

Wallace Stevens

Song Collection: O Florida

Four Dickinson Songs

Song Collection

Robert Beaser

Emily Dickinson

Gubbinal

Lee Hoiby

Wallace Stevens

Song Collection: O Florida

How the Waters Closed

Lee Hoiby

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Four Dickinson Songs

I Was There

Lee Hoiby

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: I Was There: Five Poems of Walt Whitman

I Was There: Five Poems of Walt Whitman

Song Collection

Lee Hoiby

Walt Whitman

Insomnia

Lee Hoiby

Elizabeth Bishop

Song Collection: Three Ages of Woman

Joy, Shipmate, Joy!

Lee Hoiby

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: I Was There: Five Poems of Walt Whitman

Lady of the Harbor

Lee Hoiby

Emma Lazarus

Lullaby

Lee Hoiby

Robert Penn Warren

Song Collection: Southern Voices

Manners

Lee Hoiby

Elizabeth Bishop

Song Collection: Three Ages of Woman

Miss Alma Calls

Lee Hoiby

Tennessee Williams

Song Collection: Three Women

Night

Lee Hoiby

Adelaide Crapsey

Song Collection: Night Songs: Four Poems of A. Crapsey

Night Songs: Four Poems of A. Crapsey

Song Collection

Lee Hoiby

Adelaide Crapsey

O Captain! My Captain!

Lee Hoiby

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: I Was There: Five Poems of Walt Whitman

O Florida

Song Collection

Lee Hoiby

Wallace Stevens

O Florida

Lee Hoiby

Wallace Stevens

Song Collection: O Florida

Pierrot

Lee Hoiby

Adelaide Crapsey

Song Collection: Night Songs: Four Poems of A. Crapsey

Southern Voices

Song Collection

Lee Hoiby

A. R. Ammons

Robert Penn Warren

John Crowe Ransom

Carson McCullers

The Shroud

Lee Hoiby

Adelaide Crapsey

Song Collection: Night Songs: Four Poems of A. Crapsey

The Waltz

Lee Hoiby

Dorothy Parker

Song Collection: Three Women

There Came a Wind Like a Bugle

Lee Hoiby

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Four Dickinson Songs

Three Ages of Woman

Song Collection

Lee Hoiby

Elizabeth Bishop

Three Women

Song Collection

Lee Hoiby

Tennessee Williams

Emma Lazarus

Dorothy Parker

Wild Nights

Lee Hoiby

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Four Dickinson Songs

Sheet Music

28 Songs by American and British Composers

Composer(s): John Duke

Song(s): Barber: Must the Winter Come so Soon?
Bernstein: Two Love Songs (Extinguish My Eyes, When My Soul Touches Yours)
Bowles: Heavenly Grass
Carpenter: When I Bring to You Colour'd Toys
Corigliano: Christmas at the Cloisters, The Unicorn
Dougherty: Sound the Flute!
Duke: Peggy Mitchell
Hoiby: An Immorality
Moore: The Dove Song (The Wings of the Dove)
Sargent: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Thomson: English Usage, The Tiger
Vaughan Williams: Hugh's Song of the Road
Wells: Everyone Sang

Buy via Sheet Music Plus

Four Dickinson Songs

Composer(s): Lee Hoiby

Voice Type: High

Buy via Sheet Music Plus

Night Songs: Four Poems of A. Crapsey

Composer(s): Lee Hoiby

Voice Type: High

Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

O Florida

Composer(s): Lee Hoiby

Voice Type: Medium

Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

Southern Voices

Composer(s): Lee Hoiby

Voice Type: Medium

Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

Three Ages of Woman

Composer(s): Lee Hoiby

Voice Type: High

Buy via Sheet Music Plus

Three Women

Composer(s): Lee Hoiby

Voice Type: High

Find it at your Local Library

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