Kennan, Kent (Wheeler) 1913-2003
KENNAN, Kent (Wheeler) 1913-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born April 18, 1913, in Milwaukee, WI; died of complications from kidney disease, November 1, 2003, in Austin, TX. Music composer, educator, and author. Kennan was widely recognized as one of the most gifted American composers of the early twentieth century. After attending the University of Michigan for two years, he went on to earn his bachelor's in music from the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music in 1934. Two years later, he received his master's and won the prestigious Prix de Rome, which made it possible for him to study music for three years in Europe, including at the American Academy in Rome. Returning to the United States, he taught at Kent State University for a year, followed by two years at the University of Texas at Austin. With the onset of World War II, Kennan enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After the war, he returned to teaching, starting at Ohio State University before going back to the University of Texas, where he became part of that school's new College of Fine Arts. Most of Kennan's productive years as a composer occurred before the mid-1950s, and his compositions were widely performed around the world. Though he was not as active in writing music by his late forties, he did write influential texts on the art of composition, including The Technique of Orchestration (1952; 3rd edition, 1983) and Counterpoint: Based on Eighteenth Century Practice (1959). Toward the end of his life, he was recognized with the 2001 William F. Doty medal from the University of Texas College of Fine Arts, and, in 2002, induction into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Contemporary Composers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1992.
Austin American-Statesman (Austin, TX), November 4, 2003, p. B1.
Independent (London, England), November 5, 2003, p. 18.