Mary Ann Griebling
1936 - 2023
Mary Ann Griebling inherited her gift for music from her much adored paternal grandfather, Alfred Rimmel, who had worked as a child coal miner, but loved music, had absolute pitch, and reportedly built his own violin. Mary Ann also demonstrated absolute pitch at age three and began piano lessons at the Pittsburgh Institute of Music at age four. Two years later she won a piano scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Music and was thereafter a recipient of scholarships in piano, violin, and theory. She also briefly studied clarinet, but found that a transposing instrument was incompatible with her perfect pitch!
Mary Ann graduated in 1952 from La Grange High School in Lorain County at age 15 and received a full scholarship to study violin with George Poinar at Baldwin-Wallace College. The Rimmel family then moved to North Olmsted and with their own hands built a small home. But Mary Ann was desperate to spread her wings and to leave northeast Ohio, so she transferred to Ohio State University, where she majored in music theory. Her senior thesis dealt with a comparison of theory texts used at major conservatories. She also composed music, played in a string quartet and studied organ with Wilbur Held. As a member of the Ohio State University Orchestra she was thrilled to perform music by Holst and Vaughan Williams.
Her compositions include works for piano solo, chamber music, songs with original poetry, choral music, and orchestral music. She was a member of Cleveland Composers Guild, American Composers Forum, and ASCAP. Her music is published by Hornist’s Nest and Willis Music Company, and much of it is self published. Her music is melodic, employing extended tonality and adventurous rhythms. She sometimes wrote her own – frequently whimsical or humorous – lyrics. Her music was featured at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. in April, 2000 in a celebration of the 300th anniversary of the piano. Her compositions have been performed in Great Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, and China. Her work for clarinet and piano, The Four Elements, is included on compact discs featuring Aldar Janoska, clarinet and Silvia Vizvariova-Capova, piano; Robert Listokin, clarinet and Ann Listokin, piano; and by Dennis Nygren, clarinet, and Jerry Wong, piano. Her Wild Wood – Quiet Wood was released on MMC Recordings with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and George Manahan directing the Warsaw Philharmonic.
Biography adapted from Cleveland Classical.