Gladys Nordenstrom

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Gladys Mercedes Nordenstrom
Gladys Nordenstrom at the soundON Music Festival, San Diego (2014)
BornMay 23, 1924
DiedJuly 5, 2016
Known forDecoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria
SpouseErnst Krenek

Gladys Mercedes Nordenstrom (May 23, 1924 – July 5, 2016) was an American composer.


Gladys Nordenstrom was born in Mora, Minnesota. She studied music at the Institute of Fine Arts at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she received bachelor's and master's degrees. She studied under Austrian composer Ernst Krenek there and then married him in 1950, becoming his third wife.[1] After completing her studies, Nordenstrom worked as an elementary school teacher until she moved with Krenek to California.

In the following years, she accompanied her husband to visiting professorships in various locations and sometimes collaborated on musical works.[2]

After his death in 1991, she was instrumental in the foundation of the Ernst Krenek Institute in 1998 and the private foundation Krems die Ernst Krenek in 2004 in Vienna, Austria.[3] She expended much effort to find ways to promote her late husband's musical performances and recordings.[4]

In 2006 Gladys Nordenstrom was awarded the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria.[5][6]

Nordenstrom died on July 5, 2016, in Palm Springs, California, aged 92. At the time of her death, she was still hard at work on a project to record the complete cycle of Krenek piano concertos.[7][4]


Selected works include:

  • Theme and Variations for piano (1944)
  • No Leaf is Left for soprano and piano (1945) — text: Elisabeth Coatsworth
  • First Sonata for piano (ca. 1946)
  • Rondo for flute and piano (1948)
  • This Life for mezzo-soprano and piano (1949) — text: R. M. Rilke
  • Antitheses for choir and orchestra (1966) — text: Gladys Nordenstrom
  • El Greco Fantasy for string orchestra (1966, rev. 1969)
  • Elegy in Memoriam Robert F. Kennedy for orchestra (1968)
  • Sextet for flute/piccolo, oboe, clarinet in B-flat, bass clarinet, bassoon, horn (1969)
  • Work for Orchestra No.3 (1974/75)
  • Zeit XXIV for high voice and piano (1976) — text: Renata Pandula
  • Trio for violin, clarinet and piano (1978)
  • Parabola of Light for women's choir and piano (1979) — text: Gladys Nordenstrom
  • Signals from Nowhere for organ and tape recorder (1981)


  1. ^ "Ernst Krenek Interview with Bruce Duffie . . . . . ". Retrieved 2020-05-20.
  2. ^ "El Greco Phantasie by Gladys Nordenstrom". Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  3. ^ Burtsche, Renate. "Gladys Nordenstrom-Krenek". Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b Death of composer’s American widow, aged 92
  5. ^ "Morak: Ehrung für Gladys N. Krenek - Großes Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich verliehen". 11 September 2006. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  6. ^ Who's Who in American Music: Classical. Jaques Cattell Press. 1985. ISBN 9780835220743. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  7. ^ "Komponistin Gladys Nordenstrom Krenek gestorben". Retrieved 7 July 2016.