BLODGETT, WALTER (28 May 1908-25 Oct. 1975), an organist and teacher, was curator of musical arts at the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART (CMA) from 1943-74. Born in Grand Rapids, Mich., the son of Arthur W. and Asenath (Harvey) Blodgett, he was a graduate of Oberlin College and the Julliard School of Music. He also studied organ design and construction in Germany before coming to Cleveland in 1931. As a career organist, he directed music at EPWORTH EUCLID METHODIST CHURCH, St. James Episcopal, the First Unitarian Church, and ST. PAUL'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, the latter for 25 yrs. His choir gave the Cleveland premiere of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. As curator of musical arts at CMA, he played nearly 1,200 organ recitals and helped design the museum's Gartner Auditorium, where he rebuilt the P.J. McMyler Memorial Organ. He initiated the May Festival of Contemporary Music and is credited with generating considerable funds for the museum from endowments. During WORLD WAR II, Blodgett was music critic for the CLEVELAND PRESS. He contributed articles to various music magazines and was a faculty member at Western Reserve University from 1957-62. In 1974, he became dean of faculty at the CLEVELAND MUSIC SCHOOL SETTLEMENT. The same year, he won the Cleveland Arts Prize "for support and promotion for the creation and performance of new works, and encouraging and sustaining musical life in Cleveland." A resident of SHAKER HTS., Blodgett was unmarried.

Article Categories