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Rosalyn Tureck

Pianist, harpsichordist

Rosalyn Tureck, pianist and harpsichordist best known for her specialty in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, died July 17 at her home in the Bronx. She was 88.

She had been scheduled to perform at the Intl. Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes College of Music the day she died.

Besides performing Bach’s work for more than 60 years, Tureck also taught and wrote about the composer. Her work is considered to have played an important part in reviving interest in Bach’s music.

Chicago native began taking piano lessons when she was a child; her first instructor was Sophia Brilliant-Liven, a onetime teaching assistant to renowned Russian pianist Anton Rubinstein.

At 16, she moved to New York to study at the Juilliard School and began to focus on Bach’s work. She gained stardom in the music world in late 1937, when she played six concerts consisting only of Bach’s work.

But Tureck also played recitals featuring of music from other composers and had an interest in new composers, such as Aaron Copland and William Schuman.

In the mid-1950s she moved to London and formed a chamber orchestra, the Tureck Bach Players. She also formed the Intl. Bach Society. In 1981, she started the Tureck Bach Institute.

Tureck returned to New York in 1977 and held a series of performances at Carnegie Hall devoted to Bach. She moved back to London in the 1980s and returned to New York for good in 2001.

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