Dr. Karen Black is the Rudi Inselmann Endowed Professor of Organ at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa. She teaches organ and church music, music theory and aural skills, serves as organist for weekday chapel and Sunday worship services, and conducts the Kantorei. She holds the Bachelor of Music degree in church music from St. Olaf College, the Master of Music degree in organ and church music from Indiana University, and the Doctor of Music degree in organ performance and literature from Indiana University.
Prior to coming to Wartburg, Dr. Black held positions as Director of Music at Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches in Minneapolis, Minnesota and as Assistant Director at Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her church music positions included directing children’s, youth, women’s, adult, and handbell choirs as well as playing organ. Dr. Black is active as a recitalist and clinician and has performed throughout the United States. She has performed organ recitals in Germany, including at the Castle Church in Wittenburg and St. George’s Church in Eisenach. She has been heard on American Public Media’s nationally broadcast Pipedreams program. Recent performances include a recital for the North Central Regional Conference of the American Guild of Organists in June 2017, at St. Philip’s Cathedral in Atlanta, Georgia, and at Iowa State University. Her essay “Musical Gifts for the Worshipping Body” appears in Translucence: Religion, the Arts, and Imagination (Augsburg Fortress, 2004), and “J. S. Bach as Theologian-Musician” appears in Together By Grace: Introducing the Lutherans (Augsburg Fortress, 2016). She also has published choral arrangements with Augsburg Fortress, and a volume of organ introductions will be published this spring.
Dr. Black has served as Dean of the Cedar Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and as Region III President of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and also is an active member of the Organ Historical Society and ACDA.