Lionel Rogg

Lionel Rogg


• Born 1936

Often appears with


Organist and composer Lionel Rogg was born in Geneva, Switzerland and educated at the Conservatory there, taking piano with Nikita Magaloff and organ with Pierre Segond. In 1961, Rogg gave the complete organ works of J.S. Bach in a series of ten recitals at Victoria Hall in Geneva. This established Rogg as one of the primary interpreters of Bach's organ music. His 1970 Angel recording of Bach's The Art of Fugue raised some controversy in critical circles as Rogg dared to complete the "Contrapunctus 28," which Bach had left unfinished. In spite of the controversy, the disc earned the Grand Prix du Disque from the Charles Cros Academy that year. Rogg has gone on to record the entire organ works of Bach three times over, his Harmonia Mundi set available on CD. Another complete set of Buxtehude's organ music took the Deutsche Schallplatten Prize in 1980. He has also recorded extensively on the harpsichord and clavicembalo. His recorded output is not exclusively limited to the Baroque period, as he has also recorded the organ music of Liszt, Brahms, and Reger, among others.

Rogg has taught and performed worldwide. In 1972, he was named professor of organ at the Geneva Conservatory, which awarded Rogg an honorary doctorate in 1989. In 1993, he dedicated the new organ installed in Victoria Hall, and since has acted as the organist in charge of this Van der Heuvel instrument.

As a composer, Rogg started out in the early 1950s writing in the serial style favored at that time. His activities as composer broke off as his career as an organist picked up, and Rogg resumed writing only in the 1980s. Casting off the doctrine of serialism in these later works, Rogg's music incorporates a broad number of stylistic elements, adding up to a result that defies distinct categorization. Rogg favors the term "free" in describing his music and these newer compositions have gained wide acceptance in Europe. In his attitude towards serialism, Rogg seems to have been a bit ahead of younger composers working within the post-modern era. Among his notable compositions are the piano duet Face à Face, the Pièce for oboe and synthesizer, the Cantata Laudes organi, and the organ work Arcature. A disc of Rogg playing his organ music was released on Wergo in August 2000. Rogg is married and has three children; his son, Olivier, is a jazz pianist.