Helmut Roehrig founded music department at Xavier University

img_9071Helmut J. Roehrig established the music department at Xavier University, founded a chorus devoted to performing sacred masterpieces and was an accomplished organist. Music was his passion, but he never wanted accolades. Instead, said his friends and family members, it was his way of giving back.

“He brought out the best in everyone that he dealt with in any way,” said his wife of 54 years, Mary Evelyn Roehrig of Hyde Park. “Especially with people who never knew they could sing. They seemed to appreciate his striving for excellence, and he put his whole heart and soul into everything he did.”

Dr. Roehrig died on Nov. 6 at his home following a lengthy illness. He was 85.

Dr. Roehrig was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1932. In 1959, he traveled to Covington, KY, to become organist of St. Aloysius Church (now merged with Mother of God parish). He continued working there until he was able to pay back the parish for his ship fare, his wife said.Read More »

Gunther Schuller and Cincinnati: Personal memories from a patron and a critic

Gunther Schuller had lifelong ties to Cincinnati
Gunther Schuller had lifelong ties to Cincinnati

Gunther Schuller, a giant of American music, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and the man who defined the fusion of classical and jazz as “Third Stream,” died on June 21 at age 89. Many tributes note that he was the youngest French hornist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra early in his career (1943-45).

“It was a very rich and rewarding period in my life, a growing period because I was 17 to 19 (years old),” Schuller told me in an interview.

After concerts, he often continued playing in late-night jazz clubs in Cincinnati. However, his ties to Cincinnati continued for his entire life. In fact, he taught at the old College of Music, which is where he met his wife Marjorie. (Perhaps he was also their youngest-ever faculty member!)Read More »