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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

KRAFT, EDWIN ARTHUR - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

KRAFT, EDWIN ARTHUR (1883-15 July 1962), musician and organist-choirmaster of TRINITY CATHEDRAL for over 50 years, was born in New Haven, Conn. to John J. and Marie F. (Kohne) Kraft. He began his musical training early, becoming a church organist in New Haven at 14. Kraft studied at Yale and became the organist at St. Thomas Church (Episcopal) in Brooklyn, N.Y. He continued studying in Berlin and Paris, returning to become organist-choirmaster of St. Matthew's Church (Episcopal) in Wheeling, W.Va. In 1907 Kraft was appointed organist-choirmaster of Trinity Cathedral. He played extensively around Cleveland and gave recitals around the country. In addition to playing the organ, he directed the choir of men and boys. In 1914, Kraft left Cleveland to become municipal organist in Atlanta, Ga., but he returned to Cleveland and the cathedral the following year. In 1922 he played before an audience of 12,000 at the dedication of the Cleveland Municipal Organ at the PUBLIC AUDITORIUM.

Kraft participated in founding 2 chapters of the American Guild of Organists, in Cleveland (1909) and Atlanta (1914). He transcribed a large number of orchestral and piano works for the organ and composed over 60 choral works. Kraft married Nancy Lovis in Dec. 1909 and had 3 children, Nanetta, Margaret, and Edwin Arthur, Jr. Mrs. Kraft died 1925, and the following year Kraft married Marie Simmelink. Kraft retired from Trinity Cathedral in 1959. He died only minutes after playing one of his own organ transcriptions informally before a group of friends and former students. Kraft was cremated and interred in the Mausoleum of Knollwood Cemetery.

Edwin A. Kraft Papers, WRHS.

Last Modified: 17 Jul 1997 04:33:20 PM

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