KRANTZ, EJNAR (1915-2007)

Ejnar Krantz, concert pianist, organist, teacher, composer was born August 3, 1915, the second-born son of Swedish immigrants, Sam and Hannah Krantz, on their family farm two miles from Mears, Michigan, north of Muskegon. At an early age, he learned to play the mouth-organ and then a small accordion purchased from the Sears & Roebuck catalog, gradually graduating to a larger accordion loaned to him by a friend on which he learned to improvise and delight his school mates, family (he had one brother), and friends.
By the time Ejnar was twelve, his mother discovered a used Carlyle player piano for sale for $100 for which he pitched in working hard at picking cucumbers that summer to pay for the instrument. Before the season was up, his mother surprised him with the instrument one day having had it secretly delivered to the house. He was so overjoyed and he played and played, growing in his ability to improvise music. His Dad, seeing the musical gift his son had so innately been given, sacrificed to bring a teacher to the farm home each week for half-hour piano lessons paying $2.00 for every three lessons. In winter, Mrs. Greiner would be picked up and returned to her home by horse and sleigh. His next teacher, Mrs. Noret, during his attendance at Hart High School in Michigan, charged 75 cents a lesson but was not as good as the first one. However, Mr. West compensated for this by giving Ejnar organ lessons making him very adept in playing with both hands and feet. Loving to practice, Ejnar would devote hours to his music for the rest of his life.
In 1933, Ejnar moved to Chicago with his maternal uncle to continue his real formal music education in piano, music theory and composition at Sherwood Music School made possible through the kindness of the its director, Prof. Scanlon, offering him a scholarship. With only one transfer, Ejnar thoroughly enjoyed the daily 7-cent street car rides to and fro from school. After three years of study and due to the need to make money to afford the completion of his collegiate music studies, Ejnar accepted a partnership with professional violinist, Alexander Kaminsky from Russia, to be his piano accompanist and soloist, as well as being his driver. At his son-in-law's recommendation, Kaminsky purchased a Model A Ford which enabled the duo to give concerts all over the USA (East, South and Midwest America) and Canada for the next two years. After this time, having earned $75.00 a week, Ejnar was ready to return to Sherwood Music School and where he finished his Bachelor's Degree in 1939.
For a full year, Ejnar was a scholarship pupil of Rudolph Ganz studying piano with him as he attended the Chicago Musical College where in 1943, he obtained his Master of Music degree. He here studied composition with Max Wald and gave piano recitals annually and had the opportunity of playing concerti with the orchestra supplemented with the players from the Chicago Symphony at Orchestra Hall. Supporting himself by being organist-choir director at a church on weekends, teaching high school French and Spanish during the week, and having a few private students, this energetic, enterprising and talented musician was able to take on doctoral study at Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University which he completed in 1954. His doctoral thesis was An Approach to Fingering in Piano Playing. (AP-00830)
Concert pianist Ejnar Krantz made his debut in New York's Town Hall and has concertized for several years in the USA and abroad with violinists, singers and as a soloist under art agency. As a result of a nationwide contest, he represented the state of Michigan in concert in Carnegie Hall. His professional teaching career began in Ruston, Louisiana at the Polytechnic Institute for one year, followed by three years in San Antonio, Texas where he set up a large private Piano Studio in the old opera building downtown and was choral director at Grace Lutheran Church. At the same time, for one year, while in San Antonio, he played 15-minute weekly radio broadcasts of the classical piano repertoire on KMAC AM radio.
Ejnar Krantz had a broadmindedness about himself, others and the world, wanting to feel at home with all nationalities and religious groups. His wanderlust took him to share his music in Sweden. December of 1950 saw him make his formal debut as Pianist in the Konserthus in Stockholm followed by a 3-month tour of twenty piano and organ concerts there. Denmark, France, Holland, Spain and Germany were countries where he vacationed while speaking their native languages. He served Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches in Michigan, Illinois, Texas, Washington, D.C. and Indiana.
For three years, beginning in 1957, Dr. Krantz served the First Presbyterian Church in South Bend, Indiana, as the organist-director Minister of Music. In addition to rehearsing five choirs, he played a series of 27 organ concerts on the last Sunday of each month. He also conducted several oratorios with his choir augmented by singers from other churches and a guest organist. However, since this was a full time position, and since his first love was piano performance, private teaching and composing, he left this position but only long enough to answer the urgent request of the pastor of Trinity Grace Methodist Church in South Bend, Indiana to help out over Christmas. Dr. Krantz ended up staying here for 10 years as organist-director, a part-time position. From 1960-1963, Dr. Krantz was Assistant Professor of Music in two colleges interim apointments while faculty members were on sabbatical Manchester College, North Manchester, Indiana where, in March 1961, he performed the Rachmaninoff's "Concerto No. 2," followed by one year at Gosher College, Indiana. In 1970, Dr. Krantz became an adjunct professor of Piano and Music History at the University of Indiana-South Bend, the position he held for more than 20 years until his retirement in 1995 while maintaining a private piano studio. This venue became the hub of his mature musical life.
Since 1964, the public could count on Dr. Krantz to play an annual piano recital. His last recital took place at UI-SB in 1996. He loved to practice and did so for 4-5 hours a day. Twice in his life, he recalls practicing all night long! Dr. Krantz developed an extensive piano repertoire for solo or orchestral appearances from which he has designed many programs to suit various occasions such as student convocations, formal evening recitals, club meetings, etc., besides lecture-recitals featuring major classical works like the 24 Piano Études of Chopin.
Dr. Krantz served the National Guild of Piano Teachers for over 30 years as an Adjudicator who knew how to enable students to perform their best by making them comfortable with him.
Mr. Krantz enjoyed his golden years at his home in South Bend, Indiana, grateful for the thousands of audiences and church services he was privy to enthrall with and through music.
Composer, Dr. Ejnar Krantz has provided the music world with compositions for piano, organ, voice and choir as need and inspiration dictated throughout his life. They are now published by Alliance Publications, Inc.