Charles Hoag

Kansas University professor emeritus of music, Charles Kelso Hoag, 86, passed away peacefully on June 19, 2018, with his wife of 52 years, Mary Tuven, by his side. He is also survived by two daughters, Isabelle Hoag, Shoreview, Minn., and Andrea Esther Hoag, Lawrence, and four grandchildren, Benjamin and Nathan Gason, and Alana Maria and Miles Kelso Branch. Charley also leaves behind a sister, Dorothy Ruth Peterson, Kalamazoo, Mich., and the nieces and nephews of whom he was so fond: Paul, Bryan, Lisa, Sarah, Andrew, and Daniel. He is preceded in death by his father, Charles Wood Hoag, mother, Margaret Kelso Hoag, and sister, Isabel Hoag Pentony. A celebration of Hoag’s life will take place Saturday, July 7 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vermont St, Lawrence, at 1:30 p.m., with a reception to follow in the Parish Hall.

Born in Chicago in 1931, Charles–known to friends as “Chaz” or “Charley”–was raised in Davenport, Iowa, and his enduring love for the Mississippi River sprang from those early days. Charley exhibited a gift for music while he was young, and by the time he was a teenager, he was much in demand as a double bass player, “gigging” around eastern Iowa in jazz bands and orchestras throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s. After graduating from Davenport High School in 1950, he attended the University of Iowa, where his double bass professor, the late Eldon Obrecht, became an important musical mentor and lifelong friend. After college, Charley had the opportunity to tour Europe as principal bassist of the Seventh Army Symphony. Post-army life included two years with the New Orleans Symphony before he returned to graduate school, receiving his master’s degree at the University of Redlands in California, and his PhD in music composition at the University of Iowa. After a stint teaching at Sam Houston University, Charley taught at the University of Oklahoma, and it was during his time playing bass with the Oklahoma City Symphony that he met and married his wife, Mary Tuven, a violist. In 1968, the couple settled in Lawrence, where Charley taught in the Kansas University School of Music for 38 years. In addition to years spent teaching double bass, he was a longtime professor of music theory and composition. Renowned for his challenging tests, Charley was much beloved among students; one semester a group of his admirers collected a notebook full of his funny sayings and presented it to him on the last day of class. Charley was always delighted to hear from his former students, and took great interest in their successes. As one of the chief organizers of Kansas University’s contemporary music symposium, he welcomed composers as diverse as Aaron Copland, Milton Babbitt, and George Crumb to campus. Over the course of his own long career, he had the distinction of earning an NEA Composer Consortium Grant, numerous awards from American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. During the 1980s and 1990s, Charley traveled frequently to hear his music played around the world, and enjoyed a Carnegie Hall premiere of a composition commissioned by the Verdehr Trio, which they later recorded. Charley was granted residencies at both the Millay and MacDowell art colonies and served as conductor of the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra from 1978 to 1993.

In his later years, Charley attended Trinity Episcopal Church and enjoyed lending a hand at the LINK inter-denominational food kitchen. He and Mary attended the Seventh Army Symphony reunions for many years, where they had the pleasure of rekindling past friendships and forging new ones. A natural storyteller, his family delighted in the humorous tales from his life Charley often told at the dinner table. Charley especially loved attending his grandchildren’s sporting events and school music programs, and was at his happiest playing jazz standards at the living room piano. The family wishes to extend particular thanks for the care he received from Dr. Don Hatton, Nurse Peggy Kessel, Dr. Jeffrey Burns, as well as the teams at Aseracare hospice and Bridge Haven. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to fund research at the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

13 Condolences

  1. bev dolezal on June 26, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    We are very sorry to learn of Charles’ passing. He was an inspiring influence in the lives of many students, including our two oldest, who both received music degrees from KU. Our sympathy to the family. Loren and Bev Dolezal

  2. Sharon D. Learned on June 26, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    I am so very sorry to learn of Charles’s passing. He gave so much to the musical community here in Lawrence. I enjoyed playing the many Lawrence Symphony concerts with Charley as conductor. My sympathy to his family.
    Sharon D. Learned

  3. Scott Watson on June 26, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    I was so saddened to hear of Charlie’s passing for I was honored to serve on the same faculty at KU with him in the music school. He was such a fine composer & bass teacher, and we shared a love of the music of Revueltas. Charlie was always so supportive of others and I was excited when he composed a work especially for me. Great spirit and friend- he will be missed but remembered by all of us who had the pleasure of his talent and company.

  4. Nancy Hawkins on June 27, 2018 at 12:15 am

    Although I won’t be in town to attend Charley’s celebration, please know I will be keeping you in my thoughts, Mary. Much love to you, Andrea, Alana and Miles!

  5. Marie Rubis Bauer on June 27, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Mary and family. I just heard the sad news of Charley’s passing. He was trully an inspiration for me – I loved the talks we had during and after my time at KU – he helped me become a better composer and his classes and stories humanized so many composers and helped me develop a love for contemporary music, especially Messiaen and the music of early 20th Century. He talked with love and pride of his family and I know that you were the pride of his life. I wish you comfort and him eternal rest. I know that the sound of many Requiems past through his ears over the years and I hope he is hearing choirs of angels singing his favorite ones now. I will chant one with love and gratitude for him here in Omaha.

  6. Judy & Larry Hathaway on June 27, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Mary and family: Larry and I were saddened to learn of Charley’s passing. He always brightened the room by his presence and enlivened the conversation in any group. I admired his musical gifts and generosity in sharing them with others. It was a pleasure to have known him. Our sympathy to all of you.

  7. Michele Bergman on July 2, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Mary, I am so sorry to hear of Charley’s passing. I have enjoyed playing music with both of you over the years and most importantly, I have enjoyed and appreciated your friendship. I am very disappointed that we will be out of town during his celebration but please know that Amos and I are sending warm thoughts and love to you and your family.

  8. Walter and Elsa Verdehr of the Verdehr trio on July 5, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Walter and I want to add our condolences to Mary and the family. We were so delighted with the pieces Charley wrote for us and often performed his Inventions on a Summer Solstice—a most ingenious and clever work—as well as The Slow Drag Rag, both of which we played many times to great appreciation from the audiences. We also enjoyed our social visits immensely, at times with the Larry Maxeys, where Charley’s humor always was to the fore! He was a wonderful, delightful and talented man.
    Elsa and Walter Verdehr, of the Verdehr Trio, East Lansing, MI

  9. Pam Eglinski on July 7, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about Charley’s passing. I JUST found out, as I was out of town when his obituary ran in the Journal World. It’s still quite difficult for me to attend funerals, but please know that I am thinking of you and praying for Charley. You were an amazing couple. I am here for you. Call any time.

  10. beth berg on July 9, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Our heartfelt condolences go out to Charley’s family.
    We, (Beth, Chuck and Nathan Berg) always felt immensely fortunate to get to have your wonderful, caring, gifted Charley in our lives ! When Charley saw musical potential in Nathan, he generously took time from his already beyond-busy schedule to devote time and lessons to Nathan during his getting-to-know-and-love-the-double-bass years! Which definitely “took”! Charley’s teachings, about music, about life, and more, to this day, guide and inspire Nathan. Often, as Charley explained what he hoped to hear from Nathan’s interpretation of the piece of music in front of him, he would add: “OK, now dazzle me!”
    Thank you, Charley, for dazzling each and every one of us who were blessed to know and love you! Your top-of-the-notch sense of humor was so appreciated too! Rest in peace, Charley.
    Healing hugs to the family, beth

  11. Nathan Berg on July 9, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Nathan Berg writes: I am so very sorry to hear about Charley. He was a super special guy. I am fantastically fortunate to have gotten to cross paths with him.
    It was really great of him to devote time and teaching to me. The content of all that he gave me was exceptionally good! Truly, the more experience I’ve gotten in music, the more I’m able to look back and appreciate the maturity and depth and expertise underlying all that he taught me. He would teasingly chide me sometimes for wanting to practice everything up high in thumb position, and remind me to play in the natural low register, the “meat and potatoes” range of the bass. Also he looked out for me in other protective and much appreciated ways. Another high point, I remember him performing his bass solo for orchestra with the West Junior High Orchestra! What a guy! Charley’s powerful instruction: “Dazzle me” is the best instruction I ever received! I use it with my own students today! My sympathies go out to Mary and Andrea and Isabelle, whom I remember and appreciate more than they know. With condolences to all of the family, Nathan Berg

  12. Marianna and Laurence Harvin on March 5, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    So sorry to hear about Charlie’s passing. Mary and I were just talking about our fays with the Oklahoma City Symphony.

  13. Dewey Christian on September 2, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    Dewey Christian:
    I was just listening to a performance of Beethovem’s Ninth and watching the double basses play. Dr. Hoag instantly came to mind. He was my composition and theory teacher when I was studying for my MM degree in piano at the University of Oklahoma. He took special interest in me and mentored me while
    I was at OU. Dr.Hoag has been one of the most influential teachers in my entire educational career. He will always be in my memories. May God bless him and give him peace.

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