The creator of this website was born at a very early age in Saint Louis, Missouri. When he was one year old his parents moved to the city of Affton in the Saint Louis Metro area where he grew up. Upon graduation from Affton high school with a diploma of special distinction he attended Southern Illinois University where he completed predental studies and earned a baccalaureate degree in physiology. He graduated from Washington University School of Dental Medicine in Saint
Louis in 1975 and practiced as a licensed, trusted, and respected doctor of dentistry in Missouri for forty-one years until his retirement.
At the age of 13 and without any outside persuasion or prior musical concernment Dr. Monrotus expressed a sudden interest in playing the Organ. His mentors with whom he studied the instrument included Robert Thompson, James Frazier, Gregory Cohn, Henri DeKiersgieter, and Dr. Mario Salvador. During his teen years he also was heavily influenced by his friendship with and the dramatic and extended song arrangements of world class theatre organist Don Baker. Much later in life he resumed intensive private instruction at the organ with John Weissrock at the Church of the Gesu on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Having expressed the requisite elements needed for membership in the National Association of Christian Ministers (NACM), and after careful examination by a Council of God's elected Elders and prayerful consideration by the same of his calling as a Minister of Education in obedience to the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-10, Dr. Monrotus has been set apart and recognized by this sizable institution as an independent, non-denominational minister of the gospel under the ecclesiastical authority of Jesus Christ, ordained, licensed, and confirmed with a laying-on-of-hands to serve the Christian faith, minister to the needy in the name of Jesus, and administer its rites, if requested. He spent many years creating OrganBench.com, a Christian online learning resource offering information, encouragement, guidance, and edification about organ playing and composition as it relates to serving the music ministry. Having been blessed with well over 650K visits to date, this website has grown to become a significant and widely used online tool. OrganBench.com has been warmly received and is currently under review by the NACM for inclusion among the many resources archived in the Ministry Tools Section of its website, a library made available to members to encourage the academic study of Christianity.
Reverend Dr. Monrotus was privileged over the years to spend time performing at the historic IV/53 Kimball organ of 144 stops at the Saint Louis Scottish Rite Cathedral. He holds membership with the Saint Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and is a founding member of the Panel of Advisors for the Committee on the New Organist of this organization. He also belongs to the Saint Louis Theatre Organ Society and the American Composers Forum, and his experience as an organist has taken him all across North America from Tampa to Vancouver, Dallas to Toronto, Portland to Buffalo, to perform at over 40 separate cities and venues. He is a composer as well, with six major collections of original organ music in various styles to his credit which may be used for instruction, recitals, ceremonies, or before, during, or after worship services. These scores represent a practical contribution to the art and are available for digital download and printing from
As for this new music, today we hear many voices promoting their own talking points, one of which, in effect, is that digging through the chronicles of history for anything pragmatic and applicable to the free-wheeling society of today is generally of little worth if not a complete waste of time. Sadly, the creative arts have been exposed to that same persuasion despite the reality that the studying and learning what has come before is implicit, distorting or trying to erase it has tangible effects, and nothing from any age is devoid of interest in which the operation of a quick imagination is discernable. Anyone composing for the organ these days is writing for a medium whose core repertoire spans hundreds of years and is automatically entering into a dialogue with what has gone before and having enduring works for models. This parley with the past inevitably leads to the inference that nothing in music discloses a more powerful and constant stimulus to the imaginative faculty than contrapuntal methods of tone association. The argument that counterpoint IS the arterial life's blood of music therefore would not be a difficult one to make. And, since the Organ is essentially a polyphonic instrument and polyphony is merely the product of the employment of the contrapuntal method, it follows that FUGUE, the most elaborate of contrapuntal processes, takes precedence as THE Organ piece par excellence. It should therefore come as no surprise, just as woodworking should figure prominently in the output of a carpenter, that contrapuntal figuration and various modes of imitation including canon, fugue, fughetta, fugato, and invention procedure should figure prominently in the preparation, if not the output, of the emerging composer who writes for this instrument today. The beautiful cohesion of the harmonies, how they move around, in polyphonic music like this cannot be missed by the listener's ear.
Adhering to such criteria is by no means outdated. The 4-voice fugue in F# Major Op. 33 from this webmaster's "Six Postludes Op. 29-34" collection, for example, made it into the 2021 finals of the non-profit YouTube-based Community-Fusion Network Free-For-All competition adjudicated by a team of international experts who received multiple submissions in all categories from over 150 contestants worldwide -- people from many countries who, according to the judges, were among "some of the best composers in the world." The majority of pieces from this webmaster's output are either stand-alone fugues or fugues paired with a prelude of some sort in which canon and imitation is liberally employed.
This new organ music is made up so far of 39 complete, recital-worthy pieces which explore a variety of styles and a broad range of writing. The fugues are all in four voices, have at least two recurring countersubjects (some have three), and most are supplied with tonal rather than real answers. Two of them start in the soprano voice, five begin in the alto, fourteen in the tenor, and one in the bass. Most of them start on the 1st scale degree, but four (all having modulating subjects requiring tonal answers) start on the 3rd scale degree, two on the 5th scale degree, and one even on the 2nd scale degree. Because each subject and its multiple countersubjects take turns entering at least once in the bass, the writing is in triple or quadruple counterpoint, respectively. This and the long subjects, short codettas linking entries in the opening exposition, and short, stubby episodes linking all subsequent entries, are all stylistic features which combine in signature construction, one which in addition permits a rapid and weighty development.
A wide variety of procedure is found in these fugues. One of them (Op. 20) is supplied with a counterexposition, but others make moves which are far more audacious and unexpected. Four of them are supplied with redundant (5th) entries during which all 4 moving lines either are inverted (Op. 18), modulate to the relative key (Op. 22, 31), or modulate a whole tritone distant from the home key (Op. 33). Another one (Op. 11) is a very bold double fugue in which the 2nd subject is introduced using invention rather than fugal procedure and carries on with a countersubject that exists in 2 forms, both of which reappear in the final combinatory section. Certain pieces are also thematically related: The subject from Op. 26 is the Op. 25 subject inverted -- the Op. 33 subject is the Op. 32 subject inverted -- the 1st countersubject from Op. 28 is the Op. 27 subject inverted). The theme of the Op. 5 Prelude and the subject of the Op. 6 Fugue also were both derived by rhythmic transformation (same pitches, different note values) of the main theme from the Op. 4 Variations.
This music may be sampled on this website in slide show form or as live YouTube video recordings.
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PLEASE NOTE: Those who love polyphonic tonal music in this style built upon chord relationships with no ambiguity of key also should revere the impulse that would push one to the edges of tonality, if not beyond. A good deal of music of great beauty has been written within regions of musical space where the tonal fences are shaky but still standing, and some composers have pushed their music successfully into tonally rarified atmospheres well beyond that. Art forms destined to have a future subsist on energy innovation like this -- in the case of music by keeping the best from the musical language of composers from the past and doing something different, interesting, and unexpected with it that nobody's ever heard or tried before. At the same time, with music today being divided into the sad dichotomy of tonal versus atonal, the temptation to view through a preferential prism more recently composed musical works which either strictly obey or tend to drift from traditional rules of tonal grammar and syntax and to weigh them too early in their life before they have withstood the test of time also seems to be ever-present. But for those who believe that new music should be cogent, concise, contrapuntally savvy, listener-friendly, definitely of our time, and weighed by its discernable formal architecture, the quality of its thematic material, the bold moves it makes, the speed of its harmonic rhythm, and how it stands up under usage, such scores, often considered by their composers are mere trifles compared to the masterpieces of others, have been known to appeal to a broad group of musicians and music lovers over a span of time, cultures, and places, to have a life beyond their original premiere, and possibly labored over, loved, interrogated, and admired by future generations.