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 dentist 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.

Dr. Monrotus has spent a substantial part of his life serving youth.  During the many years he was active with the Greater Saint Louis Council, B.S.A. he served as a Cub Scout pack committee member, assistant scoutmaster, unit commissioner, assistant district commissioner for training, and counseled seventy-four merit badges for thirty-three Boy Scouts in twelve different skill areas.  He served 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 as Associate Guardian of Bethel 34, Missouri Job's Daughters.

At a time when Dr. Monrotus was a much younger man he 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 high caliber of God-fearing, charitable men it attracts and from whom he would have otherwise always remained at a perpetual distance 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 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.

At the age of thirteen Dr. Monrotus began what would grow to become a lifelong interest in the pipe organ beginning with several consecutive years of private Organ study in the Saint Louis Area with Robert Thompson, James Frazier, Henri DeKiersgieter, Gregory Cohn, and at the Saint Louis Cathedral Basilica with Dr. Mario Salvador.  In later life he resumed private instruction with John Weissrock at the historic Church of the Gesu on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from whose mentorship he was to benefit greatly.  Dr. Monrotus is thus on the direct teacher/pupil succession back to J.S. Bach through Dr. Salvador who studied with Wilhelm Middleschulte, and through John Weissrock who studied with Dr. Wayne Fisher, a pupil of Marcel Dupre; both Middelschulte and Dupre could trace themselves, tutorially, through an unbroken chain of teachers on back to Bach; this also meant Dr. Monrotus could trace his instructional genealogy from Dupre back to Louis Vierne and on back to Cesar Franck.

In 2013 Dr. Monrotus created OrganBench, an online conceptual learning blog for organists.  Enjoying nearly 300K visits to date and averaging over 3K visits per week, this web site has shown itself to be a much used tool in the Organ world.  He also gave to the world of the Organ five major collections of original compositions 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 methods of composition, he likes to think horizontally in several moving contrapuntal lines, and canonic imitation and fugue figure prominently in his writing.  Four independent voices worked in triple or quadruple counterpoint, long subjects, at least two countersubjects, rapid development, and some bold moves within the bounds of tonality and common practice are all part of the signature style of his fugue-writing.  Some of his vocabulary is also based upon the methods that Louis Vierne used.

This music of his was composed entirely from the mind away from the instrumentrequires no explanation to the listener as to what it is, and can best be described as what it isn't:  It isn't strange-sounding, odd, jarring, or incomprehensible ... It isn't something that leaves the listener waiting patiently for something -- anything -- that starts making sense to the ear ... It isn't something that speaks in a confused, eccentric, or erratic language devoid of warmth and meaning to an audience ... It isn't outlandish or unsettling enough to win a prize as composition prizes seem to be awarded these days.  For those drawn to any of these things, this music is probably not for you; for those who aren't, it will be found interesting, enjoyable, 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