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Encyclopedia of Baldwin Wallace University History: Alumni - R

An Index of Historical Content and Their Sources

◄ Encyclopedia of Baldwin Wallace University History: Alumni - P

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Riemenschneider, Albert

Citation: Marion Cole, ed., “In Memorian: Albert Riemenschneider,” Baldwin-Wallace Alumnus 28, no. 3 (1950): p. 1.


Albert Riemenschneider. Source: German Wallace Grindstone, 1910-1911, pg.16. Click on image to enlarge.

His wife called him "My Albert" to distinguish him from one of her brothers with the same given name, and he himself often abbreviated his signature to merely A. Rie+ , but for more than half a century students at the Conservatory of Music at Baldwin-Wallace College knew him as Prof Al.


A big man, often brusque in manner and in speech but kindly enough in heart to personally help dozens of students through school, he had been called to serve his college, old German Wallace, in his junior year, 1898, when a music teacher was sorely needed. From that date on Albert Riemenschneider and the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory trod the same path toward greatness.

It was in Europe shortly after the turn of the century that Albert Riemenschneider studied organ with two of the greatest masters, and there, too, that he first began to know and to love the music of Bach. Once again in America, he crossed the country time and again, bringing great organ works to the people, earning for himself the reputation as one of the nation's finest organ soloists, and inspiring countless music students.

Recognition of his greatness as a teacher followed, as he was chosen in the 1930's to head first the Ohio music teachers' group and then the Music Teachers' National Association.

In 1933 Prof Al began the first of the now world-famous Bach Festivals, which until recent years he personally conducted.

With advancing years Albert Riemenschneider turned from the concert stage to the scholarly phase of Bach's music, building as he did so the great Bach Library, planned as an eventual gift to the college. He also spent much of his time editing the composer's works, publishing 371 chorales and 69 chorale melodies of the master, writing a number of articles and books on his genius and completing during his last few months two more works to be published later this year.

Sherwood Music School granted Prof Al the honorary degree of doctor of music, and in 1944 the alumni association of his real alma mater gave him its annual achievement award.

Baldwin-Wallace turned to Prof Al for help in the summer of 1948, just half a century after the college had first asked him for assistance in the music department. This time it was not an ordinary teacher's post that was vacant, but the college presidency. And once again Albert Riemenschneider accepted the invitation to serve his school, giving the additional income involved back to Baldwin-Wallace in the form of gifts to the library and other projects close to his heart.

Death came to Albert Riemenschneider early in the afternoon on Thursday, July 20, in an Akron hospital. At 71 he had accomplished more than do most men in a full lifetime, in addition leaving behind as everlasting memorials to his achievement the countless teachers he had trained, the musical interpretations he had written, and the Conservatory he had built.

At memorial services that Sunday afternoon in the Conservatory auditorium two former students sang and played the music Prof Al had loved best: Handel's "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth," from the "Messiah"; organ compositions by two of his Paris teachers, Guilmant and Widor; and the Bach chorales "He Who Will Suffer God To Guide Him" and "Before Thy Throne I Now Appear," which the composer had dictated from his own death bed just 200 years before.

In the words of President John L. Knight during the service, "All men dream dreams, but it was destined for Dr. Albert Riemenschneider to see his dream fulfilled .... All men are remembered upon occasion, but it was destined for Dr. Albert Riemenschneider to be a memory . . . . All worthy musicians love great music, but it was destined for Dr. Albert Riemenschneider to discover the soul of the music he interpreted….”

Citation: Kieth A. Peppers, 2020.


The Conservatory of Music was founded at German Wallace College under the guidance of Albert Riemenschneider while he still was a student. He was the son of Karl, then president of the College. Albert would graduate a year later but remain on campus, becoming Professor of Music. For nearly half a century, Albert Riemenschneider would play an active role in the conservatory and on campus. During his time at B-W, he began the Bach Fest, started the Riemenschneider-Bach Institute, and acted as an interim president for the college. The Bach Fest, which began in 1932, continues to be an annual tradition, keeping his work alive and promoting BW as a mecca for related research. 

The Riemenschneider family continues to be an integral influence on the Conservatory. Numerous Riemenschneider descendants participate in the governance and oversight of the RBI, while younger generations continue to acquire their educations in the same halls and along the same sidewalks as Albert.


Riemenschneider, Edwin

Riemenschneider, Tom

Citation: “Student president to carry family tradition,” Baldwin-Wallace College News Letter 23, no. 1 (1956): p. 2.

The fourth generation of his family to attend B-W, young Tom Riemenschneider has been selected by the student body to become their president.

A junior from Akron, O., Tom is planning to enter medical school . His father. Dr. Edwin A. Riemenschneider, '30, is an obstetrician and B-W trustee. His grandfather. Dr. Albert, '99, and great grandfather. Dr. Karl, both filled the president's chair, and his other grandfather. Dr. John Marting, '70, was treasurer of B-W and once was mayor of Berea. Tom is a Letterman and member of Lambda Chi Alpha and Sigma Lambda Alpha.