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Hovey was born in New York City in 1920. He studied piano with Edward Steuermann and composition with Hanns Eisler
Hanns Eisler was an Austrian composer.-Family background:Eisler was born in Leipzig where his Jewish father, Rudolf Eisler, was a professor of philosophy...
and Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School...
. He was musical director for the first American production of Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director.An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the...
's Life of Galileo
Life of Galileo , also known as Galileo, is a play by the twentieth-century German dramatist Bertolt Brecht. The first version of the play was written between 1937 and 1939; the second version was written between 1945–1947, in collaboration with Charles Laughton...
in Los Angeles in 1947. He composed the theatrical scores for Tevya and His Daughters
and The World of Sholom Aleichem
, among others.
In 1976, when Jean Redpath
Jean Redpath MBE is a singer of folk songs and Scottish music.Redpath was born in Edinburgh, to musical parents. Her mother knew many Scots songs and passed them on to Jean and her brother; her father played the hammer dulcimer. She was raised in Leven, Fife,Scotland, and later returned to...
began recording the complete songs of Robert Burns, Hovey researched and arranged 324 songs for the project. Hovey died before the project could be completed.
Hovey died in Pacific Palisades, California, after a twenty year struggle with Lou Gehrig's disease.