“His manipulation of instrumental color is always interesting”

American Record Guide


Born in New York City to German parents, Carl Vollrath attended Newton High School. He received a B.A. from Stetson University, an M.A. from Columbia University, and an Ed.D. from Florida State University. Vollrath studied composition with Ernst von Dohnanyi Carlisle Floyd, and John Boda. He served with the West Point Military Band at West Point NY from 1953 to 1956 and was a music consultant in Miami FL from 1956 to 1958. He joined the Troy University (AL) faculty in 1965.

Major works include six symphonies for band, an opera – The Quest – and a large collection of chamber music, all published by Tap Music (tapmusic.com). MMC Recordings has released three albums of Vollrath’s works, including a two-disc album of clarinet works recorded by Richard Stoltzman entitled Jack’s Fat Cat (2008). His most recent releases by Navona Records include Lingering Longings (2016), THREE PASTELS (2016), WARRIOR MONKS (2017), and SOULS IN TRANSITIONS (2018).

Albums

Old & New Poetry

Release Date: June 11, 2021
Catalog Number: NV6342
21st Century
Vocal Music
Clarinet
Saxophone
Voice
Carl Vollrath’s OLD AND NEW POETRY from Navona Records is a lovingly-prepared setting of the works of seminal poets William Blake and Sara Teasdale, as well as the contemporary writer John Gracen Brown. The verses chosen by Vollrath—including such varied selections as Blake’s “The Fly,” Teasdale’s “Dusk In War Time,” and Brown’s “The Coming of a Summer Rainstorm”—all reflect the composer’s belief in the interdependency of all life on earth. Employing piano, saxophone, and mezzo-soprano, Vollrath thoughtfully pushes tonal boundaries in response to the poetic language.
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Transit Voices

Release Date: February 12, 2021
Catalog Number: NV6332
21st Century
Chamber
Cello
Clarinet
Piano
Navona Records is proud to release TRANSIT VOICES from composer Carl Vollrath. Featuring a series of works for clarinet, the album grapples with existential questions; who were the humans of prehistory, and what defining qualities do our spirits share in common with theirs? Vollrath imagines these clarinet pieces as found archaeological objects, voices from long ago that have somehow made their way to our present-day ears. Inspired by Andrew Robinson's book Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts, the music plums a cavernous underworld for clues toward a deeper understanding of human existence.
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Aero

Release Date: August 28, 2020
Catalog Number: NV6296
21st Century
Chamber
Clarinet
Flute
From Mozart’s concertos to Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung,” the flute has served as a versatile tool for conveying the spectrum of human emotion. On AERO, flutist Dieter Flury puts decades of study and a handmade golden flute by Yamaha to work to breathe life into works by contemporary composers and spark the imaginations of listeners.
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The Unfolding Flute

Release Date: July 24, 2020
Catalog Number: NV6295
21st Century
Chamber
Flute
Piano
Composer Carl Vollrath returns to Navona Records with THE UNFOLDING FLUTE, a collection of contemporary chamber works showcasing his years of experience writing for flute. Vollrath unfolds his talents piece by piece through the performances of acclaimed flutist Dieter Flury and pianist Ieva Osa.
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Souls In Transitions

Release Date: February 8, 2019
Catalog Number: NV6212
21st Century
Chamber
Cello
Piano
Violin
Beginning with just the spark to write three trios, composer Carl Vollrath created an intense yet reflective collection of works in SOULS IN TRANSITIONS. This Navona Records release moves through waves of contemplation on life, history, and the evolution of spirituality through the performances of violin, cello, and piano by acclaimed pianist Karolina Rojahn.
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Warrior Monks

Release Date: September 8, 2017
Catalog Number: NV6102
21st Century
Concertos
Clarinet
Orchestra
WARRIOR MONKS is a collection of two clarinet concerti and a trumpet concerto by Carl Vollrath that span topics of war, solace, fascination, and reverence among many others. “And Bugles Sang” drew inspiration from the unique juxtapositions in Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” and explores the many ways the trumpet is used as a symbol throughout human history. At times the trumpet is brash and lyrical, expressing ecstasy; in other instances it is strident and rhythmic perhaps reflecting charges into battle; and yet in an instant it reappears low and mellow in what could be heard as a faux-lullaby. The virtuosity in this piece is not to be understated.
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Three Pastels For Piano & Orchestra

Release Date: May 13, 2016
Catalog Number: NV6039
21st Century
Concertos
Orchestra
Piano
On his Navona Records release THREE PASTELS FOR PIANO & ORCHESTRA, composer Carl Vollrath presents his three piano concerti, written between 2012 and 2015. Representing some of his most recent work, these concerti are connected to each other thematically, and in a way portray a different hue of the same color.
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Lingering Longings, Music for Clarinet and Piano Vol. 2

Release Date: January 8, 2016
Catalog Number: NV6018
21st Century
Chamber
Clarinet
Piano
Considered by American Record Guide as a composer who “approaches his pieces with respect and care,” Carl Vollrath presents the second volume of his clarinet and piano works on Navona Records, LINGERING LONGINGS: MUSIC FOR CLARINET AND PIANO VOL. 2. Expanding upon the first release in this collection, PAST RECOLLECTIONS: MUSIC FOR CLARINET AND PIANO VOL. 1, the composer continues to celebrate past events through musical narratives, tenderly and radiantly performed by clarinetist Michael Norsworthy and pianist Yoko Hagino.
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Past Recollections

Release Date: February 10, 2015
Catalog Number: NV5988
21st Century
Chamber
Clarinet
Piano
The stories we tell, stemming from our experiences of people, places, and events, reveal how we understand and express the world around us. Composer Carl Vollrath presents works for clarinet and piano which depict his interpretations of past events and tones of past composers, oftentimes conveying them through ironic and spirited musical themes.
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