Magazine article The American Organist

OBITUARIES: Stefania Björnson Denbow

Magazine article The American Organist

OBITUARIES: Stefania Björnson Denbow

Article excerpt

OBITUARIES

Stefania Björnson Denbow, 91 years old, October 18, 2008, at her home in Athens, Ohio, after a long period of declining health. Born on December 28, 1916, in Minneota, Minn., Stefania Denbow was the daughter of Gunnar B. and Ingibjörg Björnson, Icelandic immigrants who settled in southwestern Minnesota. She received her primary and secondary education in the Minnesota public school system. While a teenager, she won a citywide concerto competition in the Twin Cities and performed with the Minneapolis Symphony. She studied organ with Arthur Poister at the University of Minnesota, where a decade ago she established an organ scholarship. She earned both BA and MA degrees from the university, and, prior to her marriage to Carl H. Denbow, had completed all the course work toward a PhD in ancient history.

Denbow was a homemaker, organist, composer, and scholar of Greek history and art history. Proud of her Icelandic heritage, a number of her compositions were based on Icelandic poetry. Her works included "Surtsey String Quintet," "Four Songs of the Eremite Isle," "Magnificat," "Exaltatio," and an anthem based on "Jesus, Thou Divine Companion." Over the years her compositions were performed in numerous local, national, and international venues, including Tufts University, University of Kansas, University of Michigan, and in European venues. "Exaltatio" was premiered by G. Dene Barnard at the First Congregational Church in Columbus, Ohio, and later broadcast nationally on Pipedreams. …

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