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Gotthoffer, Catherine


Biographical History

Catherine Gotthoffer (born 1923) is a prominent freelance harpist and the first life member of the American Harp Society (AHS).

Catherine Gotthoffer played the violin from a young age. It wasn't until she was about ten years old that she set her eyes on the harp. She then went on to study the harp at Julliard with Marcel Grandjany. While at school, she met her husband, a trumpet player, and in 1944, she married Robert Gotthoffer. After graduation, Robert served in the Navy and left Catherine plenty of time to pursue her career as a freelance harpist in New York. After her husband's discharge, they went to Dallas to audition for the new symphony there. They were accepted and lived there for seven years, with the exception of summers spent in New York City. Catherine then got a five year contract with MGM in Hollywood and during this time, had her two children, Ann and Richard. In 1970, she started teaching at the California Institute of the Arts. In addition to her busy schedule as a freelance harpist and teacher, Catherine was also very involved in the American Harp Society where she served as the president twice, from 1968 to 1970 and from 1972 to 1976. Catherine then became the first life member of the AHS. She helped to found the AHS Los Angeles chapter.

American Harp Society website, available at:, viewed May 5, 2011 (played harp at age 10; studied at Julliard with Grandjany; met Robert Gotthoffer and married in 1944; freelance harpist in New York; Dallas Symphony with husband; taught at California Institute of the Arts in 1970; 2 children, Ann and Richard; 5 year contract with MGM; AHS president 1968-1970 and 1972-1976)

Govea, W. M. Nineteenth and twentieth-century harpist, 1995: p. 272 (Gotthoffer, Catherine Johnk: born April 12, 1923, Kiowa, Kansas).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Catherine Gotthoffer papers

 Collection — Carton: 1
Identifier: MSS 7794
Scope and Contents

Collection contains materials collected by Catherine Gotthoffer ranging from approximately 1964 to 1995. Materials include promotional photographs of Catherine as well as other prominent harpists, documents related to Marcel Grandjany, video recordings of the Grandjany video project, newsletters from Lyon and Healy in addition to the American Harp Society (AHS), and various handbooks and policy documents from AHS.

Dates: approximately 1964-1995