Natalie R. Jenne

April 24, 1934 ~ November 21, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Natalie Jenne Obituary

Natalie R. Jenne was born April 24, 1934 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of the Rev. Edward A. and Hilda Jenne.  Her father was an ordained Lutheran pastor and English professor at Concordia College, Milwaukee, and her mother was a registered nurse.  Natalie was baptized on May 13, 1934 at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and later confirmed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.  She attended Milwaukee Lutheran High School, and then Valparaiso University, where she received a B.A. in music as a piano major.  She received a masters degree in music from Stanford University in 1957, again as a pianist.  She joined the faculty of Concordia (then Teachers College) in 1960.  She returned to Stanford in the mid-1960s and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1967 in performance practice of early music (harpsichord).


Her love of the harpsichord and early music stemmed from her studies first with Newman Powell at Valparaiso, and then Putnam Aldrich at Stanford.  Aldrich had studied with the legendary Wanda Landowska, and Natalie became a kind of second-generation student.  In 1965, she purchased one of the last Wanda Landowska-designed harpsichords built by the Pleyel firm in France.  She performed over the years at various universities, community orchestras, and churches, including the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, and the Bach Vespers Cantata series. While she was a brilliant performer, Natalie was also a keen researcher.  She earned post-doctoral grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the American Philosophical Society.  Her research interests were in the areas of rhythm and articulation, particularly in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.  This focused research led to the publication of a book, co-authored with Meredith Little, Dance and the Music of J.S. Bach from Indiana University Press in 1991.  The book received such good reviews that Natalie and Meredith published an expanded version in 2001, also from IU Press.   


An inspiring teacher and exciting lecturer, Natalie taught piano, harpsichord, music history and music appreciation at Concordia University Chicago from 1960 to 1999.  In retirement, she continued her scholarly and performing interests. In addition to her musical pursuits, she was an avid reader, a lover of art, and a devoted pet owner, a faithful member of her congregation, and a follower of her Lord. 


In 2015, she moved to Park Place of Elmhurst, where she presented a number of mini-recitals on the harpsichord for the residents.


Natalie was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Hilda, and her brother Milton.  She is survived by her sister-in-law Louise Jenne of Gaithersburg, MD.  

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Lying in-State
November 29, 2023

10:00 AM
St. John Ev. Lutheran Church
305 Circle Ave.
Forest Park, IL 60130

Funeral Service
November 29, 2023

11:00 AM
St. John Ev. Lutheran Church
305 Circle Ave.
Forest Park, IL 60130

Private Interment


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