Carl Wilhelm Kern – Gaylord Music Library Special Collections


Biographical Sketch

Carl Wilhelm Kern was born on June 4, 1874 in Schlitz, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany and died in St. Louis on August 19, 1945. Kern was a pianist, theorist, editor and composer who studied at Mayence Conservatory of Music. He was first taught by his father Carl August Kern and then by Friedrich Lux, Paul Schmacher, and Adam Coy.

He came to the United States in 1893 and taught at Elmhurst (Ill.) College of Music, 1893-94; was an organist in Merrill, Wis., 1894-95; taught at Springfield (Ohio) School of Music 1895-98; and Dennison (Ohio) School of Music, 1898-1903. He concurrently served as supervisor of Music, Dennison (Ohio) Public Schools 1898-1903. He was in St. Louis briefly in 1903 before taking a position at Baptist University, Dallas Tex., 1903-04. He then returned to St. Louis to join the Strassberger’s Conservatory of Music from 1904 until 1922. In 1923 he joined the Ottmar Moll Piano School as Teacher of Theory.

Ernst Krohn states that Kern had published over one thousand pieces for piano. Other works include operettas, many songs, organ solos, and choral pieces.

Finding list of the Carl Wilhelm Kern Archive

(prepared 6/19/96)

Box 1 : Series I – II
Box 2 : Series III – VIII

Series I: Writings

  1. “Aids to Teaching the Elements of Musical Theory” by H J Lemcke, Mus. B., and Carl Wilhelm Kern, Mus. D., Instructor of Harmony, Counterpoint and Composition August, 1942
  2. (Envelope) “System In Musical Notation”, by Kern

Series II: Business Documents

  1. (Envelope) Presumably Carl Wilhelm’s ledger

Series III: Works

  1. (Envelope) The Three Pines (for piano) (c) 1927 by Dixon Lane (8 proof copies)
  2. Ledger of Kern’s compostions and their publishers (signed and dated by Kern, 1874)
  3. (2 Notebooks) “Carl Wilhelm Kern Compositions Listed by Opus Numbers. This List Compiled by Mary Garrone Under the Direction of Ernst C. Krohn. St. Louis, 1935.”
  4. (2 Notebooks) “Carl Wilhelm Kern Title List of Compositions” presumedly by Ernst C. Krohn.

Series IV: Biographical Information

  1. (Folder) Questionnaire for Krohn‘s “A Century of Music in Missouri” (published in The Missouri Historical Review; reprinted in Missouri Music)

Series V: Correspondence

  1. (Folder) Correspondance with or concerning Kern
  2. (Folder) Two letters from Kern addressed to his former student Gayle Ingraham Smith (donated by Prof. Ed Duling)

Series VI: Articles

  1. (Envelope) Articles concerning Kern
  2. (Folder) Articles about Kern’s former student Gayle Ingraham Smith written and collected by Prof. Ed Duling

Series VII: Programs and Brochures

  1. (Envelope) Programs and brochures

Series VIII: Photographs

  1. (Envelope) Photographs

List of manuscripts

Note: Manuscript titles are transcribed from the items themselves and are not necessarily consistent throughout the list.

  • 23rd Psalm, Op.672 [voice and piano]
  • 33d Psalm, Op.669 [voice and piano]
  • Ballet Musik, Op.350 [piano]
  • Berceuse, Op.358 [organ]
  • The Builders [male quartet]
  • Chaconne, Op.680 [piano with string quartet ad lib]
  • Compositionene [Choral?]
  • Compositions [piano]
  • Concert Overture [orchestral]
  • Coranthem no.1 [choral]
  • Creation, Op.671 [voice and piano]
  • Dennison High School March [orchestral]
  • Dream — bliss, Op.544 [voice and piano]
  • English Country Dance, Op.608 [orchestral]
  • For You: Romance for piano, Op.251 [piano]
  • Governor Bushnell March [orchestral]
  • Great God Attend, Op.222 [chorus and piano]
  • Happy and Free: Scherzo for piano, Op.243 no.5 [piano]
  • Die heilige Nacht, Op.81 (Du, heilige Nacht) [duet for soprano and alto]
  • High School Grand March, Op.667 [concert band]
  • The Lord is my Light, Op.216 [chorus and piano]
  • The Lord’s Prayer, Op.670 [voice and piano]
  • Loss, Op.572 [voice and piano]
  • Love, Op.672 [voice and piano]
  • March for Strings, Op.662 [string orchestra]
  • March, Op.662 [piano and strings]
  • Moon and Stars: Reverie for piano, Op.243 no.4 [piano]
  • Prayer and Praise, Op.684 [chorus and piano]
  • Serenade a la Valse, Op.579 [piano]
  • Shepherd Show Me How to Go, Op.663 [voice and piano]
  • A Song of Life, Op.658 [voice and piano]
  • Suite in D, Op.190 [organ]
  • Teaching pieces of smaller compass [piano]
  • Theory Tutor
  • Tonsatz
  • Twilight on the Waters [duet for soprano and alto, piano]