Gerhard Alexis


Born: Ap­ril 12, 1889, Swa­burg, Ne­bras­ka.

Died: May 31, 1927, St. Paul, Min­ne­so­ta.

Buried: Union Ce­me­te­ry, St. Paul, Min­ne­so­ta.



Gerhard was the son of Jo­han­nes N. Al­ex­is—an itin­er­ant Swed­ish Lu­ther­an min­is­ter—and In­grid Swen­son, and hus­band of Ol­ga Ma­ria Grund.

He de­di­cat­ed his life to the mu­sic of the church as an or­gan­ist, com­pos­er, ar­ran­ger, sing­er and cho­ral con­duct­or.

His ear­ly stu­dies and po­si­tions led him from Rock Is­land, Il­li­nois to Ish­pem­ing, Mi­chi­gan, and Lin­coln, Ne­bras­ka, where he stu­died at the Uni­ver­si­ty School of Mu­sic and played the or­gan at the First Lu­ther­an Church (1911–14).

During this time, he tra­veled Am­eri­ca and Swe­den with three of his four bro­thers as the Al­ex­is Male Quar­tet. They gave con­certs that in­clud­ed vo­cal so­los, du­ets and quar­tets; or­gan, pi­ano and flute works, and dra­ma­tic re­ci­ta­tions.

His stu­dies in or­gan, voice and com­po­si­tion con­tinu­ed at the Roy­al Mu­sic­al Con­ser­va­to­ry in Stock­holm, Swe­den, af­ter which he re­turned to Am­eri­ca for a church or­gan­ist post in New Bri­tain, Con­nec­ti­cut.

In 1916, he ac­cept­ed the po­si­tion of or­gan­ist and choir­mas­ter at First Lu­ther­an Church in St. Paul, Min­ne­so­ta, where he and his wife Ol­ga raised their three child­ren.

In ad­di­tion to his du­ties at First Lu­ther­an, he served as pro­fess­or of mu­sic at the Min­ne­so­ta Col­lege’s School of Mu­sic, and at Pha­len Lu­ther Se­mi­na­ry. Ger­hard al­so taught pri­vate­ly and per­formed pub­lic­ly through­out the Am­eri­can Mid­west as an or­gan­ist and sing­er.

He was a mem­ber of the St. Paul Fe­de­ra­tion of Lu­ther­an Bro­ther­hood’s Male Quar­tet, and was a Fel­low of the Am­eri­can Guild of Or­gan­ists.