John Zundel

John Zundel (10 December 1815 – 21 May 1882)[1] was an organist, composer, arranger, and pedagogue. Zundel was perhaps best known for his hymn BEECHER, widely used in American hymnals with "Love Divine" by Charles Wesley.

John Zundel
Johannes Zundel
John Zundel.jpg
Born(1815-12-10)10 December 1815
DiedMay 21, 1882(1882-05-21) (aged 66)
Kirchheim unter Teck, German Empire
CitizenshipNaturalized citizen of the United States
EducationRoyal Academy at Esslingen
OccupationOrganist, Composer

Early lifeEdit

Zundel was born in the village of Hochdorf an der Enz (now part of Eberdingen) in what was then the Kingdom of Württemberg, Germany. He attended the Royal Academy at Esslingen, Württemberg, from 1829 to 1831, then he began teaching at the local school in Birkach, Germany. In 1833 he was appointed teacher of music in Esslingen. During this time, Zundel studied the violin with a pupil of Bernhard Molique. Also he studied the organ first with J.G. French and then with Heinrich Rinck.[2]

St. Petersburg, RussiaEdit

In 1839 Zundel studied organ building at the factory of Eberhard Friedrich Walcker, and in 1840 he travelled to St. Petersburg, Russia, to give a concert on a Walcker organ at the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. It was the first organ concert ever given on Russian soil.[2] Zundel became organist at Saint Anne Lutheran Church in Saint Petersburg and bandmaster of the Imperial House Guards. He remained in St. Petersburg for seven years.[3]

Plymouth Church in New YorkEdit

Intending to give organ concerts, Zundel emigrated to the United States in 1847. Unable to find suitable instruments for concerts, he settled in as a church organist. Employed first at the Unitarian Church of Brooklyn under Reverend Farnley in 1848, he was then hired by Henry Ward Beecher in 1850 as music director and organist for Brooklyn's Plymouth Church. Zundel remained at Plymouth Church a total of 28 years, interrupted twice to travel and to serve briefly in nearby churches.[2]


Image from The complete melodeon instructor, in seven parts. - Designed as a thorough instruction book for the melodeon, seraphine, eolican, melopean, organ, or any similar instrument (1853) by John Zundel

Zundel's lasting contributions to music pedagogy were his instructional texts, principally Zundel's Harmony. His work spanned over 20 years.

  • Zundel's Melodeon Instructor, 1853[4]
  • The Amateur Organist, 1854[5]
  • Plymouth Collection of Hymns, 1855 (edited with Beecher)
  • Psalmody, 1855 (editor)[5]
  • Modern Organ-School (Boston, Massachusetts: 1860)[5]
  • Treatise on Harmony and Modulation, 1862[6]
  • Christian Heart Songs, 1870[5]
  • School Harmonist (with James E. Ryan) (New York: American Book Company, 1873)[5]

Additionally, Zundel composed a number of preludes, postludes, voluntaries, and fantasies suitable for church services.[7]

Zundel returned to his native country before his death in Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany, in May 1882.[8]


  1. ^ Arnold, Corliss Richard. Organ Literature: A Comprehensive Survey. 3rd ed. Vol. 2. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1995.
  2. ^ a b c Bomberger, E. Douglas (January 1, 1999). Brainard's Biographies of American Musicians. Portsmouth, NH: Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 305.
  3. ^ Schröter, Rainer. "Zundel, Johann (1815-1882)". People: Composers & Arrangers. New Apostolic Church Hymnal. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  4. ^ Zundel, John. The complete melodeon instructor, in seven parts. Designed as a thorough instruction book for the melodeon, seraphine, eolican, melopean, organ, or any similar instrument. Boston, MA: O. Ditson, 1853.
  5. ^ a b c d e "John Zundel". Net Hymnal. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  6. ^ Zundel, John. Treatise on Harmony and Modulation: being an exposition of the rules of harmony, thoroughbass and composition, practically illustrated by numerous examples and especially designed for young organists, composers and amateurs. New York, NY: S.T. Gordon, 1862.
  7. ^ Zundel, John. Original Organ Compositions: A collection of corrected pieces for advanced players and of voluntaries for all occasions in church services. Boston, MA: O. Ditson, 1878.
  8. ^ Slonimsky, Nicolas (1978). "Zundel, John". Baker's Biographical dictionary of musicians (6th ed.). New York: Schirmer Books. p. 1953. ISBN 0-02-870240-9.

External linksEdit