Discipline: Music Composition

Karl Ahrendt

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: Athens, OH
MacDowell Fellowships: 1950, 1951, 1956, 1958, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1971

Dr. Karl F. Ahrendt (1904-1993) was an American composer, violinist, and conductor. His distinguished career earned him many awards, including the Philadelphia Arts Alliance Award for Composition, the Baker Award from Ohio University, and many others. Born in Toledo, he was a graduate of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Eastman School of Music, where he received a doctorate in music in 1946.

After additional studies in Berlin and Paris, Ahrendt taught on the music faculty of the Florida State College for Women (currently Florida State University) from 1937 to 1944. While studying in Paris, he found himself at the airport when Charles Lindbergh landed the Spirit of St. Louis.

He served as director of the School of Music at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL from 1946 to 1950. Then served as the Ohio University music director from 1950 to 1967. He retired from Ohio University in 1974 as a distinguished professor emeritus. Ahrendt's 60 compositions including works for orchestra, strings, various ensembles, and solo instruments. An active performer in his early years, including the orchestra pit for vaudeville and movie houses, Ahrendt performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under guest conductors that included Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein.



Karl Ahrendt worked in the Sprague-Smith studio.

In January of 1976, the original Sprague-Smith Studio — built in 1915–1916 and funded by music students of Mrs. Charles Sprague-Smith of the Veltin School — was destroyed by fire. Redesigned by William Gnade, Sr., a Peterborough builder, the fieldstone structure was rebuilt the same year from the foundation up, reusing the original fieldstone. A few…

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