ULLRICH BÖHME was born in the Vogtland area of Saxony. He assumed the position of organist in his home town of Rothenkirchen at the age of 13. From that time on he retained his fascination with the “King of Instruments.” He studied with Hans Otto at the Dresden Church Music Academy and then at the Leipzig Conservatory with Wolfgang Schetelich. He then assumed the position of Cantor and Organist at the Church of the Holy Cross (Kreuzkirche) in Chemnitz.
In the Bach anniversary year 1985 (300 years after Bach’s birth), Ullrich Böhme was chosen from among many applicants for the position of Organist at Leipzig’s famous St. Thomas Church (Thomaskirche), the church where Johann Sebastian Bach worked for the final 27 years of his life. Since that time Böhme’s principal responsibilities have included solo organ work at the services of St. Thomas Church, concerts, and performances at the regular Motetten (evening choral services) with the venerable boy choir at St. Thomas Church (Thomanerchor), as well as playing continuo for cantatas, oratorios, and passions. In addition he has made regular concert tours to many European countries, to North America, and to Japan. He has made numerous recordings on compact disk, and for radio and television productions, both in Germany and abroad. He has been invited to serve on the juries of significant international organ competitions and in 1989 received the Critics’ Prize of the Cultural Journalists of Leipzig.
Ullrich Böhme provided the impetus for the restoration of the large Romantic organ by Wilhelm Sauer at St. Thomas Church. He then developed the concept of a new Bach organ for St. Thomas Church, replacing a modern neo-Baroque organ in a side gallery of the church. This new instrument was dedicated in June 2000.
Installation of this organ coincided with the worldwide celebration of the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death. The focal point of the global celebration was the official “Bach 2000” festival held in Leipzig in July. Bach 2000 celebrated the completion of the restoration of St. Thomas Church (interior, exterior, and stained glass windows), and comprised ten days of concerts by distinguished musicians from around the world, lectures on Bach-related topics, excursions to hear historic organs from Bach’s day, and chamber concerts at historical sites in the area.
Ullrich Böhme is active as advisor to organ restoration projects such as that of the superb Hildebrandt organ of St. Wenceslas Church in Naumburg. A professor since 1994 at the Leipzig Conservatory of Music and Drama, he teaches masterclasses in interpretation in Germany and abroad.