Dr. Karen Black

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 choral ensemble. 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, youth, women, 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. Recent organ performances include a recital for the North Central Regional Conference of the American Guild of Organists, at St. Philip’s Cathedral in Atlanta, and at Iowa State University. Her essay “J. S. Bach as Theologian-Musician” appears in Together By Grace: Introducing the Lutherans (Augsburg Fortress, 2016). She also has published organ and choral arrangements with Augsburg Fortress, most recently a collection of organ hymn introductions, Shine Like the Sun (Augsburg Fortress, 2018).


Dr. Black currently serves as North Central Regional Councillor of the AGO. She 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.

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