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Obituary: William Karlins

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May 17, 2005

M. William Karlins, 73, of Northbrook, professor emeritus of music, died May 11 at his home.

Mr. Karlins, who joined the Northwestern faculty in 1967, retired in August 2001. He had an extensive composition catalog which embraced large orchestral and chamber works as well as solo and choral pieces. His saxophone music has been widely performed in the United States and abroad.

Mr. Karlins’ music has been performed by the Chicago, Dallas, Albany, Nuremberg and Grant Park symphony orchestras, as well as by the Fine Arts and Boston Composers String Quartets, the Camerata Wind Quintet, the Chicago, Vision and Wykto Saxophone Quartets, and by many other concert organizations and soloists throughout the world.

He served as a guest composer at Arizona State, Illinois Wesleyan, Bowling Green State, Ball State and Western Illinois Universities, the University of New Mexico, Alberta College Conservatory of Music and at the Sigma Alpha Iota National Convention in 1993.

He was Composer-in-Residence at the World Saxophone Congress in London, England, Bordeaux, France, and Nuremberg, Germany, and also at the 6th Stage de Saxophone in Duras, France.

Mr. Karlins’ music has been recorded on CRI, Brewster, Advance, Golden Crest Records, Centaur, Opus One and ACA Digital labels. He was a member of the American Music Center, BMI and the American Composers Alliance, where he served on the Board of Governors and the National Advisory Board.

He received grants from the MacDowell Colony, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Illinois Arts Council, Meet the Composer, as well as many commissions. His “Impromptu” for saxophone and keyboard was an NEA Consortium Commission project.

He is survived by his wife, Mickey; son Wayne and his wife, Diane, and their children, Ross and Shelley; and daughter Laura Stevenson and her husband, Mike.

A concert in celebration of his life will be held in the fall on the Evanston campus.