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      by Anya Laurence

Eugenie Rocherolle
Eugenie Rocherolle

   Although she was born and raised in New Orleans, Eugenie Rocherolle has made an international name for herself as a Connecticut-based composer. At an early age she began to play the the piano by ear. She would go to movies and upon returning home would play the the tunes she had heard ... adding harmony. She was a very talented little girl, and although she received piano lessons for one year while in Grade 4 she discontinued because she found it 'boring'. As she began Grade 9, she realized that she wanted and needed to resume piano studies, and stayed with it throughout high school and college. She also took courses in theory and harmony in college, but as there was no composition major offered, that was the extent of her formal musical training. She was, in that regard, the same as Amy Marcy Cheney Beach, another great self-taught New England composer.

Rocherolle has composed innumerable works for piano; piano trios;The New Colossus (text by Emma Lazarus) for SATB Chorus, orchestra and narrator; Trilogy, a work for SATB chorus and orchestra which was commissioned by the Danbury Chorus and Symphony; works for concert band; two compositions for musical theater and many choral works, some using her own lyrics. And that is only a partial list of her compositions. She is probably one of the most prolific present-day composers, and there is still more to come!

Rocherolle Salt Top House

Ebeneezer Abbot House
The Ebeneezer Abbot House, Wilton

   Another interesting aspect about Eugenie is that she once lived in a beautiful Old House in Connecticut...the Ebeneezer Abbott house at 186 Sharp Hill Road in Wilton. Built in the 1700's, the photo shows the back of the house (extensive remodeling was done in the 1930's and again in 1971). The first structure was a very rudimentary farmhouse, dominated by a brick and stone chimney. The house still retains the original 11-step closed staircase, which winds around the back of the chimney and takes one to the bedrooms on the second floor. In 1795 the house was given by Ebeneezer to his daughter Esther Betts, whose husband then purchased the adjoining 33 acres from his father-in-law. A true Connecticut Old House, this structure was demolished a few years ago.





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