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At three, Bertha Hope wanted to play piano.

She studied music theory in high school and L.A. City College, met Eric Dolphy and Bud Powell's brother Richie who became her teacher.

In 1960 she married Elmo Hope, moved to the Bronx, and played with many wonderful musicians including Jimmy Castor. She played workshops in the tri-state area with Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, Philly Joe Jones and Nat Adderley who also became her friend and mentor.

Elmo died in 1967.  In tribute to his passing, together with long-time companion and bassist Walter Booker, Jr., she formed the ELMOllenium ensemble.

In 1982, Bertha joined the women's Kit McClure Big Band, the pre-cursor to DIVA.

As co-founder of the all-women's quintet,
Jazzberry Jam! she toured Europe and Japan.

Bertha appeared in the 2013 Galway Jazz Festival. She has played NYC clubs including Bradley's, Jazz Standard, Knickerbocker, Birdland, Lenox Lounge, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Apollo Theater and the Kennedy Center in D.C. She has 4 CDs and a fifth one is already planned.

Bertha Hope has received two lifetime achievement awards; one in 2002 from Cobi Narita's Jazz Coalition and the second from Dr. Billy Taylor in 2005 at the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival in Washington, D.C.

In 2014, Bertha's three-year oral history project was made available at the Library of Congress, and she was celebrated as a Bronx Living Legend by the Bronx Music Heritage Center.

A former Jazz Mobile teacher she now teaches at Manna House Workshops, East Harlem.

Since October 2013 Bertha is in residency at Minton's Supper Club, Harlem.