LOU KOSTER (1889 - 1973)
Lou Koster was born on 7 May 1889 in Luxembourg. Since there was no school of music or conservatory in her home country when she was a child, her grandfather Franz Ferdinand Bernhard Hoebich (1813–1900), who had by then retired as Kapellmeister of Luxembourg’s military band, taught her music theory, violin and piano. It was not until 1906 that she was able to complete her studies in these disciplines, plus singing and harmony, at the newly founded Luxembourg Conservatoire. She herself said that she felt called to become a composer when she was still a child. In this capacity she was largely self-taught. Although there was a composition class at the Luxembourg Conservatoire, it seems only to have existed on paper—not until the summer of 1943 did the first student take final exams in composition. Koster’s early works comprise songs and piano pieces, but soon she essayed larger compositions, such as the operetta An der Schwemm to a libretto by Batty Weber, which was first performed in 1922 to great acclaim. (A German version entitled Amor im Bade was given its première in 1927.) An excerpt from the operetta was released on shellac disc by Homocord in Berlin.
During the inter-war period, Koster found publishers for her piano works and songs in Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany (Schott Frères, Maison Musicale Moderne and F. Lauweryns in Brussels; Aurora in Weinböhla near Dresden; B. Schellenberg in Trier and Luxembourg; Kieffer-Binsfeld and Lëtzeburger Vollekslidder-Verl in Luxembourg). As well as composing, she worked as a pianist, violinist and orchestral musician, played palm court music in cafés, accompanied silent films, and sometimes appeared as an orchestral conductor. She also taught piano at the Luxembourg Conservatoire for 46 years. In the 1960s she founded the vocal ensemble “Onst Lidd”, performing her own compositions in innumerable concerts with them. On 9 July 1972 her largest work, Der Geiger von Echternach, a ballad for soloists, chorus and orchestra to a text by Nikolaus Welter, received its première. Lou Koster died on 17 November 1973 in Luxembourg.