Born in Modena, Köhler was taught the flute by his father, Venceslau Joseph Köhler, who was the first flute of the Duke of Modena's orchestra. He moved to Vienna in 1869 as a flautist, and then became a member of the orchestra of the Imperial Opera in Saint Petersburg beginning in 1871. He also led the orchestra of the Imperial Institute of Engineering and taught at the Prinz Oldenburg Institute.
Noted as a composer for flute, Köhler wrote over 100 works for the instrument: études[disambiguation needed], duets, and solos. He also produced an opera and several ballets. He is well known among flute players for "Flöten-Schule" (c. 1880), his popular method for learning the flute, and for Progress in Flute Playing (his Opus 33, published in the 1880s), a series of three progressive instructional books for the flute player.
Ernesto Köhler died in Saint Petersburg on March 17, 1907.
- Köhler's Page
- Inside cover biography of Ernesto Köhler, "Progress in Flute playing (Op.33) Book 3: 8 Advanced studies", Chester Music, edited by Edward Blakeman http://www.chesternovello.com/default.aspx