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On March 28, 2014, Milan Kaderavek passed away in Perrysburg, Ohio at the age of 89. He was born in 1924 and grew up in Chicago, where he discovered his life-long passion for music as a teenager performing in local professional ensembles. After serving overseas in the U.S. Armed Forces in World War II, he led a distinguished artistic and academic career, as an award-winning composer and professor and an accomplished professional clarinetist and saxophonist, arranger and conductor. As a performing musician, he played in concert bands, orchestras, chamber music ensembles, recitals, theater and dance bands and radio broadcasts. He received baccalaureate degrees in composition and clarinet and a master's degree in composition from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, where his principle teacher was Leo Sowerby. He earned a doctorate in composition and theory at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where his principle teacher and adviser was Gordon Binkerd. Many prominent performers have premiered his works, including Ron Dennis, John Ehrlich, David Herman, and Chiu Ling Lin. He composed in a variety of genres—orchestral, choral, chamber, and keyboard. His Introduction and Allegro for Saxophone Quartet is considered by many to be the quintessential repertoire piece for advanced study and performance of the instrument. In 1991, Dr. Kaderavek was named Distinguished Composer of the Year by the Music Teachers National Association for Explorations, a four-movement work for piano solo. Other awards include the 1956 Tamiment Award for his String Quartet performed by the Curtis String Quartet; first prize in the 1956 National Composition Competition of the Albuquerque Civic Symphony for his Sinfonietta; and the 1961 Pi Kappa Lambda Performing Award. In 1977, his Rhapsody for Cello and Strings was premiered in England and later performed at Drake. In 1980, he held a composition residency at the Ossabaw Foundation in Georgia. The Des Moines Choral Society commissioned in 1988 his composition Of Nature, Visions and Ironies for large chorus and wind ensemble. Most of his compositions have been published and his entire collection is archived at the Sibley Library of the Eastman School of Music. Professor Kaderavek's teaching career spanned 45 years, including service as Chairman of the Music Department of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and professor of theory and composition at Drake University, Des Moines. At Drake, he taught woodwinds, woodwind methods and small ensembles from 1954-60. During his five years of doctoral study and teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana, he planned, wrote and recorded material for the establishment of a tape laboratory for the teaching of ear training in the undergraduate music theory program that was used in courses at the Urbana and Chicago Campuses. After teaching and chairing the Music Department at Chicago, he returned to Drake in 1972 as the Area Head of Theory and History and Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Music. He was named an Ellis and Nelle Levitt Professor of Theory and Composition. After 28 years of service at Drake, Dr. Kaderavek retired from teaching as Professor Emeritus. Professor Kaderavek is survived by his wife of 64 years, Eileen; his son David and daughter-in-law Joan of Perrysburg, Ohio; his daughter Karen and son-in-law Stephen Orlov of Montreal; his granddaughter Megan Tsai and grandson-in-law Dr. Ben Tsai and great granddaughter Natalie Tsai of Indianapolis; his grandson Brian and fiancé Amanda Miller of New Orleans; and his brother Clifford of Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Milan Kaderavek was a man of substance and integrity—loving, gifted, loyal, generous, humorous and honest to the core. His family and friends are blessed to have had him in their lives. He will be dearly missed.
Published in Des Moines Register on Apr. 13, 2014