- Published: August 20, 2009
Dr. John McLain Rinehart, composer, concert pianist and professor, died peacefully at age 72 surrounded by family and loved ones on Tuesday, Aug. 4, in Atlanta, Ga. He will be remembered by family and those close to him for his dry wit, huge smile and enormous appetite for living life to its fullest, but most importantly to him he will be forever remembered for his legacy as a gifted composer of modern classical works, ranging from the piano to symphony orchestra, and as a gloriously talented and electric classical concert pianist.
Born on March 17, 1937, in Pittsburgh, he began piano studies at age 5, composing and performing in concert his first work (a waltz for piano) at age 8 and by age 12 performing Chopin on television. He studied composition and piano performance at Kent State University for his bachelors, studied for his masters of music at Yale and the Cleveland Institute of Music and attained his Ph.D. at Ohio State University.
Following his studies, John taught at such universities and conservatories as Heidelberg, CIM and Oberlin before arriving at Antioch College in 1990 as the chair of the music department, where he remained until his retirement in late 2004. All the while he composed works which earned performances in the U.S., Europe and Asia. He never stopped performing classical standards and modern contemporary works for solo piano, chamber ensembles and concertos across the nation, winning the highest of acclaim from his contemporaries and audiences alike. A concert played by John Rinehart was truly an exhilarating experience!
During the last 13 years of his life he battled Parkinson’s disease, but never gave up hope for a brighter future. He miraculously retained his skill and depth as a pianist during this time and composed his largest and broadest works to date, including two new symphonies, two concertos and a full mass. He always felt he would live on in his compositions. His dream was to have his new works performed live, a dream he and his son pursued in the final decade of his life and that his son will continue to pursue in his honor and for the benefit of lovers of music around the world. Many of his compositions and performances can be found at www.myspace.com/johnmrinehart01.
John is survived by his only son, John Miles Rinehart III; his son’s fiancee, Nancy Myers; his sister, Doris Abrams; and nieces. A private memorial service was held on Aug. 16. Contributions may be made in John Rinehart’s name to: College Revival Fund, P.O. Box 444, Yellow Springs, OH 45387, with the memo line specifying “Fund for an Independent Antioch College.” For more information, write to [email protected].