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Rosalyn Tureck Dies at 88

Rosalyn Tureck, the "High Priestess of Bach," Is Dead at 88

andante - 18 July 2003

Rosalyn Tureck, a leading performer of Bach on the piano, harpsichord and clavichord, has died, WQXR radio in New York City reports. She was 88.

According to writer Teri Noel Towe, a friend, Tureck died on Thursday evening in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York.

Tureck was born in Chicago, where she made her solo recital debut at age 9. One of her piano teachers was Sophia Brilliant-Liven, a student of Anton Rubenstein, to whom Tureck traced her technique. She attended the Juilliard School, where she studied with Olga Samaroff; during her tenure there she made her Carnegie Hall debut performing on the theremin, the electronic instrument invented by Leon Theremin, with whom she had studied.

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Rosalyn Tureck, Pianist Specializing in Bach, Dies at 88

By ALLAN KOZINN, The New York Times - 19 July 2003

Rosalyn Tureck, a pianist and harpsichordist who played an important part in the revival of interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and who devoted more than six decades to performing, researching, teaching and writing about his works, died on Thursday at her home in Riverdale, the Bronx. She was 88.

Ms. Tureck, born in Chicago, spent many years living in London, where she acquired a regal bearing and the hint of an upper-crust British accent. She was as comfortable in literary and scientific circles as in musical ones, and was ahead of her time in arguing for a view of Bach, and of music-making, that drew on scholarship, yet was entirely nondogmatic and even fairly freewheeling.

She could argue, for example, that it was crucial to understand Bach not as a modern thinker, or as the beginning of music as we know it today, but as the peak of musical development from medieval times through the Protestant Reformation. In the same discussion, though, she could speak enthusiastically about performances of Bach on electronic instruments.

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