Katelyn Hoag



Hometown: Flossmoor, IL

Alma maters: Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, M.M and P.D.; University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, B.M.

Photos by Matt Dine


Appearances: Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, 2019; Pacific Music Festival, 2018; Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, 2016–19; Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, 2018–19; Aspen Music Festival, 2017

What is your earliest memory of classical music? Listening to my grandma play piano when I was really young. She taught herself to play and never used any sheet music, which was so impressive to me. She inspired me to study classical music.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? I decided I wanted to pursue a career in music after playing in the Illinois All-State Orchestra Festival. I left the experience wanting to repeat it over and over again.

How did you hear about TŌN? What inspired you to apply? I heard about TŌN through people I knew at school who joined TŌN after graduation. I was inspired by the prospect of playing in a high-level ensemble of musicians around my age along with TŌN’s aim to provide its musicians with the proper tools to make their own careers.

Who is your biggest inspiration? My parents!

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most? Everything Brahms

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it? This is constantly changing, but right now I’d say the Schubert Cello Quintet. Each movement is stunningly beautiful.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician? I love bonding with other musicians both in orchestra and in chamber music settings. Playing music with someone fosters a special connection that lasts for life.

Do you have any embarrassing performance stories? In fifth grade, I sat down on my viola during an orchestra concert. It made a huge sound and my little rental viola was totally destroyed. I cried a lot at the time, but it’s a great story now, especially to share with students.

Favorite non-classical musician or band: Everyone probably says this, but I’m going to have to go with the Beatles.

If you could play another instrument, what would it be? Clarinet

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? I’d probably be on track to becoming a doctor.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why? Berlin. The appreciation for arts of all kind there is unparalleled. Also there’s an amazing variety of ethnic food!

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why? I would have dinner with Bernstein, Mozart, and Michelle Obama. They have all had a tremendous impact, and I’d be intrigued to see what it would be like to have a real-life conversation with them.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I played competitive golf until I went to college, and it was a significant part of my life. I actually qualified for Illinois’ state golf tournament three times, and my team even won the whole thing once!

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Stay positive to yourself and to others. Also, never forget the joyous feeling that music-making brings!