Hoiby turned 75 this year, and is still composing quite actively. He’s currently working on his ninth opera, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Born in Wisconsin, Hoiby originally intended to be a concert pianist. However composition became increasingly important to him, until he entered the Curtis Institute as a composition major. There he studied with Gian Carlo Menotti, and later with Samuel Barber. Hoiby’s music is warm and melodic — often even pretty. Vocal music forms the best-known portion of his output — his songs have been featured by many leading singers, most auspiciously Leontyne Price. Holiby’s choral music is also frequently heard, and, a virtuoso pianist, he has written two piano concertos and a good deal of solo music as well.