promoting his musical and theoretical legacy
Marie M. Kraehenbuehl
David Kraehenbuehl (Crane-byule) was an American composer, theorist, and creator of ingenious piano-teaching materials. After graduation from the University of Illinois in 1943, and subsequent service in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, he studied at Yale 1947-49 under Paul Hindemith. A charismatic teacher, he held posts at Colorado College in Colorado Springs (1950-53) and at Yale School of Music (1953-60), both on the recommendation of Hindemith. In 1957 he conceived and founded the Journal of Music Theory. Though tenured at Yale, he left there in 1960 to devote himself henceforth to the development of methods of piano-teaching and teacher-training, a move that testifies to the depth of his lifelong conviction of the need for improving music education at the grass-roots level. His large body of work in this field helped raise the level of piano study in the United States. At the same time he remained committed to his calling as a composer, and his music has been performed by numerous major artists and groups. Following his conversion to Catholicism in 1956, many of his compositions have a religious inspiration. These include works for the concert stage, for liturgical use, and--in keeping with his mission to raise standards--even for congregational singing. He died in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, in 1997, at age 73.
In 2000 a group of former students, friends, and admirers formed The David Kraehenbuehl Society to promote the artistic and scholarly legacy of this 20th-century American genius. It sponsors performances and recordings, furthers publication of his concert music, and encourages study of his pedagogical and theoretical approaches.