Merz, Karl



Teacher and writer on musical subjects; born at Bensheim, near Frankfort-on-the-Main. He received some lessons from his father who was organist at Bensheim and from F. Kunkel, and when only eight or nine years old played the violin in a quartet club at the home of Baron Rodenstein. When eleven years old he took his father's place as organist, continuing to fill it until he left Bensheim to go to school. After graduating from college in 1853 he taught school near Bingen-on-the-Rhine until 1854, when he came to America. Through J. H. Bonawitz he obtained a position in an orchestra in Philadelphia, and later became organist in the Sixth Presbyterian Church, also serving in the capacity of critic on a German musical journal headed by Wolsieffer. In 1856 he went to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to teach in a seminary, and in 1859 he went south, remaining until 1861, when he settled at Oxford, Ohio, and became professor of music at the Oxford Female College. In 1868 he began his literary career, contributing musical hints to Brainard's Musical World, and in 1873 becoming editor of that magazine. In 1882 he moved to Wooster, Ohio, becoming professor of music in Wooster University. His works consist of operettas, sacred pieces, choruses and songs, also dance music, and pieces for violin and violoncello. His instructive works are Modern Method for Reed Organ, Karl Merz Piano Method, and Harmony and Musical Composition.