Renowned TROY composer Carl Vollrath turns 92; here’s a look into his life

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — Composer, professor, and musician. These are a few of the titles that have belonged to the renowned composer Dr. Carl Vollrath.

Vollrath is a former TROY professor, a published composer, has an archive on campus dedicated to preserving his music, and just turned 92 years old on March 26. His music has been performed by renowned musicians, particularly for clarinet.

“I found the clarinet has many different sounds to it,” Vollrath said. “The instruments that led to the clarinet have many different sounds to it.”

Many of his pieces embody the creativity and techniques he incorporates in his music. One technique includes playing the natural fingerings for a note but wiggling one of the keys.

“It’s sort of another tone coming,” Vollrath explained. “Not a tremolo or or trill, but something much lower or higher.”

Vollrath is also known for his directing clarinetists to not put their bottom lip on the reed, which is not the traditional way of playing the clarinet. After all these years, Vollrath is still composing music. His current inspiration is the beauty of Bellingrath Gardens.

“It’s not just one garden, it’s several gardens,” Vollrath told TrojanVision. “The Asian Garden, Azalea Gardens, Lake Garden and so on and so forth. We went down there and I fell in love with them.”

Vollrath hopes his music will inspire others to value the garden’s beauty so it will become a state park.

To learn more about Vollrath’s work, visit the Carl Vollrath Music Archives that is located on the south end of the third floor of Wallace Hall.