Rohlig Performance Begins Huntingdon Organ Recital Series
Montgomery, Ala.—Internationally known organist and composer Harald Rohlig, professor emeritus of music at Huntingdon College, will perform in concert Tuesday, October 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Ligon Chapel, Flowers Hall, at Huntingdon College. The concert, the first in a new Huntingdon organ recital series named in Rohlig’s honor, will feature works by Bruhns, Buxtehude, Bach, Mendelssohn, Reger, and Rohlig, and is free and open to the public. Rohlig will perform on Huntingdon’s Bellingrath Memorial Organ, which he designed.
Rohlig’s life story is as fascinating as his musical career. He grew up in Nazi Germany, a musical prodigy and the son of a United Methodist minister who instilled in his son a deep faith and a reverence for wisdom. Rohlig’s father opposed the Hitler regime and was later imprisoned in Bergen Belsen concentration camp. At age 10, after the family’s utilities and access to groceries and supplies were stopped as a means of pressure by the regime, young Harald joined the Hitler youth. He was drafted into the German Air Force in 1943 and was later captured by American soldiers. After being traded to the French, he spent three years in a French prison camp.
In 1948, after the conclusion of World War II and his release from prison camp, Rohlig continued his musical studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in London and, subsequently, Osnabrück Conservatory. In 1953 he immigrated to America, answering an ad in a United Methodist publication searching for a church musician in Linden, Alabama. There, he taught piano and organ and conducted choirs at the Methodist and Baptist churches. Since 1955, he has been a member of the faculty at Huntingdon College, while composing more than 1,000 pieces of music and publishing more than 300 works. He has designed several neo-Baroque pipe organs in the Southeast, including the Bellingrath Memorial Organ at Huntingdon, first installed in the 1960s and greatly expanded under his direction in 1998. In addition to his musical abilities, he is a gifted teacher, winning every teaching award Huntingdon offers. He was honored as the United Methodist Foundation for Christian Higher Education Educator of the Year in 2000. Retired since 2006, he continues to compose, teach private piano and organ lessons, and serve as an organist/choirmaster for St. John’s Episcopal Church in Montgomery, a position he has held since 1962.
Huntingdon College, grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the United Methodist Church, is committed to nurturing growth in faith, wisdom, and service and to graduating individuals prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Founded in 1854, Huntingdon is a coeducational liberal arts college. Rohlig’s concert is part of the Harald Rohlig Organ Recital Series, which will include two more concert performances during the 2009–10 academic year: Tuesday, January 19, 2010, with Gene Montgomery, Huntingdon Class of 1967; and Thursday, February 25, 2010, with Elaine Harper Grover, Huntingdon Class of 1965. All concerts in the series are at 7:30 p.m. in Ligon Chapel, Flowers Hall. For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (334) 833-4515.