Rodney Gehrke is Director of Music at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, Organist and Choir Director at San Francisco’s Temple Emanu-El, and Professor of Organ at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He holds a musicology degree from U.C., Berkeley. He is a Past Dean of the San Francisco Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and played the organ and directed the choir at Temple Emanu-El for the opening service of the 2011 Region IX Convention of the AGO. His teachers have included his father, Hugo Gehrke, as well as David Dahl (Pacific Lutheran University), Lawrence Moe (University of California, Berkeley), and Harald Vogel (North German Organ Academy).
In 1985, in observance of the 300th birthday of J.S. Bach, Mr. Gehrke played the complete organ works of Bach in twelve recitals. In March, 2011, he played a recital at the church most popularly associated with Bach, St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany. In June, 2011, he was the keynote presenter for the 100th anniversary of Seoul Theological University, Korea, where he played a recital, led an Episcopal liturgy, and offered two lectures and a day of masterclasses. He has performed and recorded as continuo organist and harpsichordist with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, and Voices of Music, and has also made two CDs of Mexican Baroque music with Chanticleer, with whom he toured the American Southwest and Mexico in 1998. He can also be heard on the CD collection, “Historic Organs of San Francisco,” a performance recorded in 1988 on the historic organ at Temple Sherith Israel at the concluding recital of the national convention of the Organ Historical Society. He also appears on “Historic Organs of Seattle,” also produced by the OHS in 2008. In addition to many solo performances, including frequent recitals at Stanford Memorial Church, he is in demand as organ accompanist for numerous community choruses as well as the two conservatory choirs conducted by David Conte and Ragnar Bohlin. He also occasionally plays organ with the San Francisco Symphony, most recently in Bartok’s “Duke Bluebeard’s Castle.”
Mr. Gehrke has also conducted several full-orchestra performances of Ernest Bloch’s Sacred Service, commissioned by Temple Emanu-El, most recently in 2008 at Emanu-El for the national convention of the American Conference of Cantors. He has conducted many other special programs of Jewish music, including a memorial concert of the music of Leonard Bernstein. In 2001 he conducted two major works for a CD of contemporary Jewish music produced by Temple Emanu-El’s Cantor Roslyn Barak. He has also performed solo harpsichord recitals, including Bach’s Goldberg Variations.