Karl Hoyer was born in 1891 in Weißenfels/Saale. From 1907-1911 he studied in Leipzig with Max Reger (composition) and Karl Straube (organ). Already as a student he was Straube’s official deputy at the Thomaskirche. In 1911 he became organist in Reval (today Tallinn), 1912 in Chemnitz. In 1926 he was appointed Professor for organ in Leipzig and organist at the Nicolai-Kirche with its romantic organ by Ladegast (1862) and Sauer (1902-1903). Hoyer died in 1936 after surgery due to an accident. His compositions comprise mainly music for organ, but also piano, chamber and vocal music.
His style can be described as “modern late romantic”, following Liszt and Reger, but also including an impressionistic touch and sometimes more modern harmonies as in the French organ style of that time. His music was almost forgotten during the return to neobaroque style and the neglect of the late romantic instruments. His op. 57 with more than 150 choral preludes has become available in a modern four volume edition by Bärenreiter.