Obituary: American conductor Ronald Ondrejka, 83

Posted on: April 19, 2016

An article in the April 17-21 online edition of the Santa Barbara News-Press reports the death of conductor Ronald Ondrejka April 7 at his home in Carpinteria, Calif. Born in Manhattan in 1932 and educated at the Eastman School of Music, Ondrejka toured Europe with the Seventh Army Symphony as a violist and conductor, and was a prizewinner in the 1961 Royal Liverpool International Conducting Competition. “For many years, he moved between the coasts to assist his mentor, Richard Lert, at the annual [American Symphony Orchestra League] conducting workshops in Orkney Springs, Virginia and Asilomar, California.” Ondrejka served as music director of the Monterey County (Calif.) Symphony, and on the conducting staffs of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Cincinnati and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. As music director of the Santa Barbara Symphony from 1967 to 1979 he “brought stability and growth to the organization…. His final post was as Music Director of the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Philharmonic (1978-1993). Under his artistic leadership the Philharmonic more than tripled its budget, increased the number of full-time core orchestra musicians and expanded its programming to include chamber music, pops and chamber orchestra series.” Survivors include his wife, Elise Unruh, and three sons.

Posted April 19, 2016