Thomas Kasdorf '56, an alumnus and loyal supporter of the Bienen School of Music, died Friday, October 30, at age 85.
Kasdorf was born on December 9, 1934, in Chicago to Roger Kasdorf and Ruth Fuchssteiner. He earned a bachelor's degree in music education from Northwestern, where he was president of the a cappella choir and a piano soloist with the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra.
Two years after his graduation, Kasdorf moved to Kalamazoo, where he served as director of choral activities at Kalamazoo Central and Loy Norrix High School. Among his many roles in the community, he served as director of music at the First Presbyterian Church, music director and conductor for the Kalamazoo Singers, and an adjunct associate professor at Western Michigan University. In 1986, in recognition of his significant contributions and leadership in the arts, Kasdorf was awarded the Community Medal of Arts from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo.
In recent years, Kasdorf returned to Northwestern and became deeply involved with the choral program as a friend and benefactor, establishing the Thomas R. Kasdorf Scholarship in Choral Music, an endowment providing substantial financial support to graduate choral conductors at the Bienen School. He was a frequent guest at concerts and conducting seminars in the last six years of his life, reconnecting with the Northwestern community and bringing his wisdom and humor to the students. The Kasdorf Scholars will live on as representatives of his legacy, generosity, and vision in furthering the choral art.