Johann Theodor Roemhildt

(1684 – 1756)

German composer born on September 23, 1684 in Salzungen bei Eisenach. His father, Johann Elias, was curate there, his mother, Johanna Elisabetha, was the daughter of the Gumpelstadt minister G. Christian Silchmueller. Roemhildt probably received his early music instruction from his father, who was also a composer, and later from Johann Christoph Bach in Ruhla.

At the age of 13, Roemhildt entered the Thomas school into Leipzig, where he studied under Johann Heinrich Schelle and Johann Kuhnau. Among his schoolfellows were. Reinhard Keiser, Johann David Heinichen, Christoph Graupner and Johann Friedrich Fasch, with whom he remained in contact. In 1705 Roemhildt entered Leipzig University remaining for six semesters until gaining his first position as Kantor and Kapelldirektor in Spremberg in the Lausitz, in 1714 being promoted to the Rektorat of the school there, not for educational reasons, however, but because the position of Rektor belonged ex officio to the Kantor.

In 1715 Roemhildt left Spremberg to take the post of Kappellmeister to the Evangelical church of Freystadt/Niederschlesien. In addition to his position as Kantor, Roemhildt was active as teacher at the Lyzeum, a school with at that time about 150 pupils. In 1717 he rejected an appointment in Luckau and remained until 1726 in Freystadt; in which year he was recalled by Duke Heinrich to Spremberg. When Duke Moritz William died in 1731, Heinrich succeeded him at the Merseburg court, and appointed Roemhildt the Hofkapellmeister. After the death of the cathedral organist George Friedrich Kauffmann in the year 1735, Roemhildt took his place. The Dom- and Stadtkantor was at this time August Friedrich Graun, the older of the Graun brothers.

The years in Merseburg were obviously Roemhildt’s most productive, Karl Paulke estimated that Roemhildt created some 200 vocal and organ there. Roemhildt was for 25 years cathedral organist and Titular Hofkapellmeister (the office had been abolished briefly after Duke Heinrichs’ death in 1738) in that city, and he appears to have died in office in 1756. However, in his latter years his functions were performed frequently by a certain Johann Elias Seydel, who later applied to succeed Roemhildt.


Salomon Kuemmerle, article "Roemhild, Johann Theoderich" , in: Encyclopädie der evangelischen Kirchenmusik, Gütersloh 1888-1895

Gustav Schilling, article "Römhild, Johann Theodorich", in: Encyklopädie der gesammtem musicalischen Wissenschaften, 6. Band, Stuttgart 1838

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