top of page
  • Writer's pictureDavid Winkler

Christopher Philip Winkler

We recently added a section of our website highlighting a unique family history of mine which I think some of you might find to be quite interesting.

My great-great grandfather, Christopher Philip Winkler, was only 16 years old when he came to America from his native Germany. He had already completed his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Munich. Arriving at the port of Philadelphia, he worked his way across the country, eventually securing a job teaching music and languages at a women's college in Jackson, Tennessee.

He later married a young lady from the Memphis area and moved there to continue his career.

For over 40 years he worked in Memphis as a music teacher, church musician, and conductor of opera and various musical programs. He was also a composer, and I'm very fortunate to have a number of his compositions. Some are in published form, and others are handwritten manuscripts. In his music, he combined his European classical training with the popular styles of the day.

After many years of preparation, I was finally able just last month to finish a recording project featuring many of his compositions. Titled “Recollections of Memphis – Music of C.P. Winkler,” the CD includes 21 pieces for solo piano and solo guitar, plus several songs for solo voice and for vocal ensemble.

The recordings are also posted on several streaming services, including iTunes and Spotify.

It has been very inspirational to me personally to learn about this part of my heritage, especially since my own career path has followed a similar trajectory. The information has been of interest as well to researchers of the music of Memphis and 19th-century America. A notable example is Dr. Tim Sharp's fascinating book, "Memphis Music Before the Blues."

You can read more about "The Professor," as he was known, at this web page:


bottom of page