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Gaylord Music Library

Special Collections: Ernst C. Krohn

Mr. Krohn examining carved wood panels
salvaged from Charles Kunkel's house, one
of many sumptious dwellings built in St.
Louis in the late 19th century. The panels
are now at the Missouri Historical Society.


Biographical Sketch

Ernst C. Krohn was a St. Louis music teacher, self-taught musicologist and archivist as well as music library collector. He was born in New York City on December 23, 1888 and died in Santa Fe, NM in 1975. Early piano studies in New York began with the neighborhood teacher and with his father a church organist. After the family moved to St. Louis, Krohn worked as a clerk for Shattinger Piano and Music Company from 1907-09. Economic circumstances required Krohn to discontinue formal education after one year in a St. Louis high school. After several failed business attempts, his father began the Krohn School of Music and Ernst began teaching full-time in 1909. Even while teaching, Krohn continued his own development studying with Ottmar Moll for a period of five years. In 1914, Moll offered Krohn a teaching job as Moll's "first assistant" at Lenox Hall and later as a faculty member of the Ottmar Moll Piano School. Krohn continued to teach privately until 1953.

In addition to teaching piano privately he taught music courses at both Washington University (1939-1953) and St. Louis University (1953-1963) before either had a music department. Krohn was an avid collector of books about music and scores and particularly of sheet music. In 1964, Krohn continued his bibliographical work at the Gaylord Music Library of Washington University. He sold his collection of more than 10,000 volumes to Washington University in 1966 and was named Honorary Curator thereof. His publications which number more than sixty books, articles, reviews, dictionary entries; and, more than a dozen solo piano works; and, numerous editions for Art Publications Society and Shattinger Music Company include A Century of Missouri Music (1924, 1965), The History of Music: An Index to the Literature Available in a Selected group of Musicological Publications (1952), Music Publishing in the Middle Western States before the Civil War (1972), and Music Publishing in St. Louis (1988). He was an early contributor to Musical Quarterly.