Thanks to the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Betty Bang Mather lived in six houses in her native Emporia, Kansas, and attended high schools in Des Plaines, Illinois; South Orange, New Jersey; and Forest Hills (Queens), New York City. Her BMus is from the Oberlin Conservatory and her MA from Columbia Teachers’ College. Her flute teachers include H. Henry Zlotnik, Harry Peters (an oboist, as there was no flute teacher at Oberlin at the time), Arthur Lora, William Kincaid, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Gaston Crunelle, Gustav Scheck, and Roger Mather. During her high school and college years she played with the New York All-City High School Orchestra, Tanglewood Student Orchestra, Oberlin Orchestra, Juilliard Summer Scholarship Orchestra. and National Orchestral Association.
From 1952 to 1996 Mather taught flute at the University of Iowa, and for a few years team-taught a Baroque performance practices class there. UI became one of the first universities to hire a full-time flute professor (when it hired Mather), to have an active faculty/staff woodwind quintet, to offer the PhD in composition and the DMA in musical performance, to invite high-level guest composers to work with students, and to support a Center for New Music.