Catherine Gotthoffer began her musical studies at a young age on the violin and started harp at a later age. After high school, she continued her studies on harp at Julliard with Marcel Grandjany. Ms. Gotthoffer was able to extend her studies from three years to five years due to a busy working schedule. While at school, she met her husband, a student of trumpet, Robert Gotthoffer, and they wed in 1944. After graduation from Julliard, she maintained a busy schedule by freelancing in New York City, performing regularly in New York City's Latin Quarter and Biltmore Hotel while her husband was in the Navy.
After the war ended and Mr. Gotthoffer was discharged from the Navy, he learned that Antal Dorati was organizing a symphony in Dallas. Both Mr. and Mrs. Gotthoffer auditioned, were accepted, and relocated to Dallas, where they lived for seven years, with their summers spent in New York City.
In 1951, Ms. Gotthoffer auditioned for the MGM studios and received a contract with MGM starting in January of 1952 and continuing through 1957. During this time, her two children, Ann and Richard, were born. Ms. Gotthoffer continued playing and recording with many symphony orchestras after her contract with MGM. In 1970 she joined the faculty at the California Institute of the Arts. Her last “gig” was in 1988 at a Tony Bennett concert. Films credits include: Singing the Rain; An American in Paris; West Side Story; Gigi; Kiss Me Kate; High Society; Dr. Zhivago; The Godfather and Godfather II; Bad Day at Blackrock; My Fair Lady; Barefoot in the Park; and Beetlejuice.
Ms. Gotthoffer’s involvement in the American Society started after the first Israel Competition in 1959. She helped found the local chapter in Los Angeles, which was the second local chapter to seek a charter from the AHS. From 1968-1970, Ms. Gotthoffer was President of the AHS. During her tenure, the AHS Constitution was changed to include direct election of all officers and an annual Treasurer’s Report to the members. From 1972 – 1976, she once again served as AHS President. Ms. Gotthoffer became the first life member of the AHS, which grew and flourished under her direction.