Irene Ator has been an adjunct faculty member teaching studio organ for IPFW since 1981. She earned a Bachelor of Music Education with organ concentration degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She studied organ with Dr. Robert Rayfield. Prior to coming to Indiana, she studied piano in the Preparatory Department at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. During and after college she continued her organ studies at Eastman with Dr. David Craighead and Russell Saunders. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honorary and Mu Phi Epsilon Music Fraternity.
Mrs. Ator has been the organist and harpsichordist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic since 1981. From the mid 1970s until 2003, Mrs. Ator served as organist in several churches in Fort Wayne. Twenty of those years were spent as Director of Music Ministries and Organist at First Wayne Street United Methodist Church, home of a 1974, three manual, 51 stop Beckerath Organ. She had previously served Trinity English Lutheran Church as Associate Musician with Richard A. Carlson from 1978 to 1981, and as Interim Organist at First Presbyterian Church from 2001 to 2003. For over 25 years she performed many organ recitals both in Fort Wayne and in the surrounding area. She was guest organist at many conferences and summer workshops around the country.
She is an active member of the Fort Wayne Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and has been Dean of the Chapter twice. She was instrumental in securing the 2001 American Guild of Organists (AGO) Regional Convention in Fort Wayne. Mrs. Ator continues to teach organ and piano privately outside the university and is in demand as an accompanist for Concordia Lutheran High School choral department, Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) contests, and for many recitalists. The Irene Ator Scholarship was established in 2001 to help assist area high school students desiring to pursue organ study.
Mrs. Ator has been accompanist and assistant to the Artistic Director of the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir since 1999. She has recorded with the organ and choirs at First Wayne Street United Methodist Church and recently collaborated with IPFW Professor Dr. Farrell Vernon on works for saxophone and keyboards. She is married to saxophonist, Dr. James D. Ator, IPFW Professor Emeritus of Music. Together they performed many Faculty Artist Series saxophone recitals as well as many other performances over the years.