Recently elected to "Who's Who in America," Margaret Vardell Sandresky is an organist, composer, and teacher. She graduated from Salem Academy and Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with a Bachelor of Music degree, cum laude. Continuing her education at the Eastman School of Music, where she earned a Master of Music in Composition, she studied with Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers and was an organ pupil of Harold Gleason. In 1955, she was awarded a Fulbright Grant to the State Institute of Music in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, where she studied organ with Helmut Walcha, harpsichord with Maria Jäger-Jung, and composition with Kurt Hessenberg.She has held teaching positions at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the University of Texas at Austin, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and at Salem College. In Winston-Salem, where she has lived for a number of years, she has held the positions of organist at the Home Moravian Church, the First Baptist Church, and at Centenary United Methodist Church. She is the fourth generation of professional women musicians in her family.
Among her commissions are those funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Reynolda House Museum of American Art and the North Carolina Music Teachers Association and the American Guild of Organists. .
Her principal research in music theory has explored the interaction of fifteenth century humanism between the music, art, and architecture of that period. Her articles have been published in Music Theory Spectrum, Vol. 1; in the Journal of Music Theory, Yale University Press (25.1); the American Liszt Society Journal, Vol. X; and The Golden Section in Music, edited by Jean Pierre Condat, Lyons, France, 1988.
Copies of her complete works reside in the Moravian Music Foundation archives in Winston-Salem, N.C. where the collection has been catalogued.
She was co-founder of the annual North Carolina Composers' Symposium and was a delegate to the International Congress on New Music Notation, held in Belgium in 1974. She is a member of the International Alliance for Women in Music.
Her anthems are published by Brodt Music Company and the Paraclete Press. Her complete organ works are published by Wayne Leupold Editions, and her "Trio II for piano, violin, and cello" is published by Hildegard Press.
She is listed in Woman Composers (Stern 1973), Contemporary American Composers (Jacoby 1974), Who's Who in Music (1984), the International Who's Who in Music (1992), Women in Music (Hixon & Hennesse 1993), and the International Encyclopedia of Women Composers (Cohen - Bowker 1981).
Vardell-Sandresky is a Standards Award-winning ASCAP composer. She received the Sam Ragan award for extended exemplary service to the arts in North Carolina on January 26, 2006 at St. Andrews College in Laurinburg, N.C. She received the Distinguished Composer Award in 2004 at the biennial convention of the American Guild of Organists in Los Angeles. In 1999, the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra premiered her "Song of a Nomad Flute," a ten-minute piece for solo flute and orchestra, as part of a festival of New Music and recorded it for release on the Vienna Modern Masters label. Her "Organ Mass: L'homme armé," played by Kimberly Marshall, has been recorded on the Loft label and also played by Frances Nobert on the Raven label and by Scott Carpenter on Historic Organs of North Carolina, available from the Organ Historical Society.
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