Biographical & Catalogue of Works

Dr. Steven Monrotus was born in 1949 in Saint Louis, Missouri.  When he was one year old his parents moved to Affton, Missouri, where he grew up.  Upon graduation from the Affton public schools in 1967, completion of four additional years of pre-dental studies at Saint Louis Community College and Southern Illinois University, and having earned from the latter a degree in physiology, he entered Washington University where in 1975 he graduated with the degree of Doctor of Dental Medicine.  For the next forty-one years he worked as a trusted and respected doctor of dentistry in Missouri until his retirement in 2016.  During that time he was listed in the Guide To America's Top Dentists, taught part-time at Saint Louis Community College, and served on the courtesy staff of several hospitals.

In his younger years Dr. Monrotus helped to make a difference in the life of a boy, many times over.  At the time he served the Ozark Trailblazers District, Greater Saint Louis Area Council B.S.A, for seven consecutive years alongside dozens of other dedicated, morally upright volunteers as an assistant scoutmaster, unit commissioner, assistant district commissioner, and merit badge counselor.  During that time he was privileged to counsel thirty-three different Boy Scouts through seventy-four merit badges in twelve separate skill areas.  He served faithfully for many years as Secretary of the Advisory Council of Ronald M. Compton Brotherhood Chapter, Order of DeMolay and is a recipient of the Honorary Legion of Honor from Missouri DeMolay.  He also served for a time as Associate Guardian of Bethel 34, Missouri Job's Daughters.

Many years ago Dr. Monrotus experienced firsthand a generous helping hand from a family of very special parental friends of long standing who happened to be affiliated with the Masonic fraternity.  The last surviving member of this family passed away not long thereafter and before he had a chance to repay them for their kind generosity.  A child of his who had been born with multiple developmental disabilities was also accepted for treatment and underwent two major bone and joint surgeries and had three leg braces constructed, all free of charge, at the Saint Louis Shriners Hospital for Children.  These experiences prompted Dr. Monrotus to do what he could to return some of the favor shown to him and his family by joining, and sharing his specialized music ministry as an organist with, the oldest fraternity in the world.

Through the course of over a quarter century of deep and active involvement with it Dr. Monrotus has found Freemasonry to be exactly what it purports to be, nothing more, nothing less -- a fraternal organization of a social nature composed of good men of high moral character who believe in God and work for the benefit of their fellow man, an organization unique in that its effect is upon the individual man, an institution which gives away over four million dollars a day to charity, mostly to the familes of non-Masons, and that the Holy Bible is the rule and guide of a Mason's faith and practice.

Dr. Monrotus also joined a great many appendant Masonic and Trinitarian Christian organizations and has received certain awards and honors for dedicated service, charitable work, and community involvement.  He learned and verified for himself from this spread of experience that Masonic thought had much to do with the formation and then building of this great nation ... that the overwhelming majority of Masons from around the world are devout Christians, some in fact being trusted and respected Christian ministers ... that this gentle Craft has attracted to its membership fourteen U.S. Presidents, eighteen U.S. Vice-Presidents, multiple Supreme Court justices, governors, and members of Congress, scores of patriots, pioneers, decorated veterans, business leaders, and a vast company of others who have made extraordinary contributions to advance the arts and sciences or to improve the human condition ... that its system of morals veiled in alleghory and illustrated by symbols, when considered with an open mind without any preconceived bias and properly understood in its intent, is so basic that it is not, and never has been, incompatible with biblical Christianity or his own Christian faith ... that it has done nothing to add to or subtract from the inerrant Word of God or presume to misinterpret it or alloy it with fiction ... that it has no religious or political agenda other than requiring Masons to believe in God, to have been a law-abiding citizen, and to continue that way ... that it is not a religion, not a cult, has never conspired against any religion, or implied that all religions are the same ... that it encourages a Mason to attend his worship center regularly, leaves the convicting of a man's conscience to the Holy Spirit, and has never attempted to interfere with, hinder, undermine, contradict, misdirect, dilute, or replace his own Christian beliefs or to so influence any other person, ever.  His association with its principles and the caliber of honorable, fiercely law-abiding, faith-conscious, and charitable men it attracts, from whom he would have remained at a perpetual distance were it not for the fraternity, has been for him a blessing which has enriched his life in many ways. 

As timing would have it he's the only Missouri Freemason in history to have officially served as Grand Musician for the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. and for the General Grand Council Cryptic Masons International ... to have served the longest simultaneously as Grand Organist for the Missouri Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons, Grand Council Cryptic Masons, and Grand Commandery Knights Templar ... to have served as Grand Organist for the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International, York Rite Sovereign College of North America, and Provincial Grand Court for the United States of America Masonic Order of Athelstan ... and to serve in all eight of these offices simultaneously, as he does currently.  In addition he is the only musician in history to have performed all five armed services songs as a tribute to American veterans during an annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Missouri and at a triennial convocation of the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International.  He is also the only musician in Missouri history to have performed live the musical accompaniment for a public exemplification of a Masonic degree.

Dr. Monrotus has served officially as Principal Organist at the great Kimball organ of the Saint Louis Scottish Rite Cathedral since 2018 and holds memberships in the Saint Louis Chapter American Guild of Organists (A.G.O.), Saint Louis Theatre Organ Society, and American Composers Forum.  He also serves on the Panel of Advisors for the Committee on the New Organist (CONO) of the A.G.O., and his travels have taken him to or through thirty-five states and two Canadian provinces to perform at over forty Masonic venues.

In 2013 Dr. Monrotus created OrganBench, an online conceptual learning blog for organists.  Receiving over  500 visits daily and enjoying over 330K visits to date, this web site has grown to become a much used resource by organists worldwide.  He has also given to the Organ world a small but significant set of thirty-two original compositions grouped into five collections which have been published online and with several libraries.  These pieces are in various styles and pitched at all levels of proficiency, with four of them being dedicated to the memories of his former teachers.  The music from the first collection is for two hands and playable on a single manual pipe organ with no pedals, a melodeon (harmonium, or reed organ), or an electronic keyboard with pipe organ sampling, and has been separately arranged for piano.

As for his compositions, they reflect his belief that counterpoint is the arterial life's blood of music, thus, fugue and passages with canonic imitation figure prominently in his work.  Long subjects, multiple countersubjects, voices treated in triple or quadruple counterpoint, rapid development, and some very bold moves are all part of the signature style of his fugue-writing.  It's sound is very reminiscent of the Bach school.  Some of his compositional vocabulary is also based upon the methods that Louis Vierne used.

His music was created by starting from a place situated along the edges of the box rather than from far outside it, and thus from a place where there are rules, something with which to interact and work against, and where the means of production are available.  Because this is also where the audience is, music written this way fails to confuse, requires no explanation to the listener as to what they just heard, and can best be described as what it isn't:  It isn't formless, jarring, strange-sounding, or incomprehensible ... It isn't something that speaks in an eccentric, erratic language devoid of warmth and meaning to an audience ...  It isn't deliberately charged with a high dose of dissonance to prove modernism with a bit of counterpoint thrown in to show good will to pedagogy in some shallow or tawdry attempt to win the ears of those judging a prize competition ... It isn't outlandish or unsettling enough to even consider for submission to such contests as some of them seem to be conducted these days.

For those drawn to any of these things, who cling to the idea that a lasting work of art can be created from a place far outside the box where there's nothing but a vacuum, where there's no rules there, no reality there, this music is probably not for them ... but for those who believe that music of worth can be judged by the way it stands up under usage, his pieces will be found tuneful, interesting, enjoyable, perhaps captivating at times, and useful.

For a complete listing of his compositions and links to previews, playbacks, and digital downloads of his scores, please use this link:

Catalogue of Works

To view photos of Vierne and Notre-Dame de Paris, please use this link: 

Photos 2

To listen to a sampling of Vierne's masterful organ and choral writing, please use this link:

Vierne Kyrie eleison

To view all videos/slide shows, please use this link:

https://youtube.com/channel/UCqkz1hNm1FNrfE5RAN-BrGg/videos