Cover photo for Marti Ruth Kanin's Obituary
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1929 Marti 2023

Marti Ruth Kanin

July 8, 1929 — July 13, 2023

Indianapolis, Indiana


Marti Ruth (Knauer) Kanin, 94, died peacefully on July 13, 2023, in Indianapolis after a brief illness. She was born there on July 8, 1929, to Fred and Martha (Blaumoser) Knauer. A 1947 graduate of Shortridge High School, she entered Oberlin College’s music conservatory, majoring in piano and cello, earning her bachelor’s in 1951. Then master’s work in cello with Fritz Magg at Indiana University, graduating in 1954.

Marti married Eugene Kanin on September 6, 1953, moving to W. Lafayette where Gene taught sociology at Purdue University. Marti gave cello lessons to beginners and served in the Lafayette Symphony. One of her young students there, a lifelong friend, became a long serving member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Marti and Gene loved travel to Canada and the Maine coast, solidifying her deep love of nature.

In 1971, when the marriage ended, Marti served as an orchestra member for the Santa Fe Opera, then won an audition to be a cellist with the New Orleans Symphony. The New Mexico venue bolstered a deep appreciation for Native American culture. Always students, many achieving success as professional musicians, and an increasing circle of never ending friendships. The number of cards and letters received for her recent birthdays is testimony.

Marti remained in New Orleans until 1991, when financial issues forced the orchestra’s closure. She returned to Indianapolis, caring for her aging parents until their deaths and continuing her significant life teaching talented young cellists. And when she ceased playing the instructing did not. Her fine Italian instruments, a Ventapane and a 1714 Grancino have continuing lives. The Ventapane is now in the hands of a Nashville Symphony’s cellist. The Grancino was sold to New Yorkers who have donated it to Juillard to be used for a year by a talented student. As it happens, the honor’s first recipient, Coleman Itzkoff, is the son of a Cincinnati Symphony violinist, who as a teenager had Marti as his coach at Vermont’s Kinhaven Music Camp.

Marti’s 3 years at Marquette, an Indianapolis retirement community, found her involved in every possible activity and keeping in touch with those many beloved friends. She attended symphony and chamber concerts, went to Pacers games with a former student who played with the Dayton Philharmonic. Much else. Her last hours were enriched with a close friend playing solo cello. Marti gave a thumbs up. What a long, enriching life.

Marti is survived by her Cincinnati cousin Alberta (Berta) Knauer Lerch (Roger). A memorial gathering is scheduled for Tuesday, September 5 (1pm) at the Indianapolis Holliday Park Nature Center, with a light box lunch served.

Gift funds in memory of Marti may be directed to:
Office of Development/Music Dept.
Oberlin College
Bosworth Hall
50 W. Lorain St.
Oberlin, OH 44074

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