Alexander Ernestrinoff. One of the marked tendencies and creditable characteristics of the American people is the willingness
to recognize excellence and to seek the best from an infinite variety of sources. It is this disposition which has secured for
our "conglomerate nation" so many of the most talented of the masters from Europe in the older civilization of which greater
attention has been given to specialties. In all European countries the capitals are really the foci of c ulture. As in the
Roman republic and the Roman empire "all roads lead to Rome", so in European countries now the roads to eminence have led to the
capitals and in these capital cities genius has been most quickly appreciated. Testimonials of excellence from the sources there
to be found are regarded as of highest value, and so are the institutions of education, severe in methods of mental discipline
understood to be the best. As was Rome to the Roman empire so is St. Petersburg to the magnificent empire of the Russias, that great
nation of the east whose sincere friendship for the great republic of the west has been so repeatedly attested.
It was in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia that Prof. Alexander Ernestinoff, whose leadership in music in Indianapolis, has had such a remarkably beneficial influence, was born January 14, 1853. His parents were Alexander and Lementine (Janoushkowska) Ernestinoff. He was the only son among their three children. Reared in St. Petersburg, he was educated at the Royal gymnasium and later at the Conservatory of Music, graduating from each of these thorough institutions.
Quite early in life he gave promise of unusual talent in music. It was fortunate that, having naturally a splendid voice and a strong inclination amounting to enthusiasm, he could developed his natural talents under the superior training of some of the ablest teachers.
Berlin, as well as St. Petersburg, for many years has possessed great advantages for the devotee of music and to that city went Prof. Ernestinoff. At that time some New York gentlemen were in Berlin seeking a thoroughly competent man to take charge of the German opera for a complete tour of the United States. They meet Mr. Ernestinoff, and being pleased with his extraordinary musical accomplishments, as well as with him as a gentleman, they contracted with him that he should take charge of the opera. For this purpose, accordingly, in 1872, he crossed the Atlantic and for three years thereafter traveled throughout the United States with this company, making his home in New York city. In 1876 he was married to Miss Amelia Kinklin, a native of New York city. They have two children, Antoinette and Helen.
Entering into an agreement to take charge of the St. Louis orchestra in 1876, he accordingly located in that city. At the time that he had charge of this work he was also leader of two musical societies, the Germania and the Arion. Remaining in St. Louis until 1881, he was at that time engaged by the Indianapolis Maennerchor to come to Indianapolis. He was connected with that society for two years thereafter. The Lyra society was next placed under his charge. Later he accepted the leadership of the Meridian Street church quartette. For three years he successfully conducted this. He served twice as assistant conductor of the May festival. At the formation of that musical organization which has had no superior in Indianapolis, the Music Verein, the directorship was offered to him and he accepted the same. During the two seasons of its existence its concerts by a chorus of one hundred and twenty voices and orchestra of fifty-two musicians, have made it a very important factor in the musical life and development of the city.
For some time Prof. Ernestinoff has devoted most of his time to teaching. His orchestra is one of the finest in the city. His quartette also soon became very well known for the excellent music which it produced. The entertainments given by in the various opera houses of the city have been largely attended, evidencing the hearty appreciation felt for it by those who are fond of good music.
As a teacher Prof. Ernestinoff has been a pronounced success. His methods have been received by a most hearty appreciation. Many musicians of high abilities have united in pronouncing him the best teacher of music in the state. Quite a number of the most successful teachers scattered throughout various parts of the country have been his pupils, and all who have studied under him speak in the highest terms of his musical knowledge and ability and of his capacity to successfully c ultivate in others the musical talent they may possess. He is regarded by his pupils with a respect akin to devotion.
The Russians are credited with being naturally the finest linguists in the world and Prof. Ernestinoff speaks French, Italian and the language of his adopted country with remarkable fluency, besides remembering well the language of his native country.
Men of progress, Indiana : a selected list of biographical sketches and portraits of the leaders in business, professional and official life : together with brief notes on the history and character of Indiana Indianapolis: Indianapolis Sentinel Co., 1899, pg. 507-8