Concertmaster Retires from Alaska's Anchorage Symphony After 40 Years

After nearly four decades of service, Kathryn Hoffer performed her final concert with the ensemble earlier this month

(Photo credit: Clark James Mishler)


A member of the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra (ASO) since 1974, Kathryn Hoffer was appointed concertmaster under the music directorship of David Loebel in 1983. In the ASO's 76-year history, Hoffer was only the second concertmaster, succeeding Ruth Jefford in the position.

"We all have families; families of birth, families we create ourselves, and the Anchorage Symphony has been a family for me," Hoffer told The Anchorage Press. "Most of my closest friends are in the orchestra, friends who have been supportive and encouraging and who have also been part of my social network.”

"Our community knows Kathryn as a gifted musician and an outstanding music educator," said ASO Executive Director Sherri Burkhart Reddick. "Musicians revere her for her generosity and grace. Kathryn has enriched so many lives not only as a performer, but as a musician who encourages other musicians – no matter if they are picking up an instrument for the first time, haven’t played in years, or are her colleagues on the concert stage."

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Hoffer served as an orchestra teacher with the Anchorage School District, retiring in 2010. She went on to found The Society of Strings that same year, which is an orchestra for amateur adult string players. Five years later, she took over as director of the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center Women’s Orchestra. Most recently, she expressed that she is leaving Alaska for Northern California so as to be closer to her family.

Watch Hoffer explain her role with the ASO in more detail below: