Rosalyn Tureck, the American Bach and contemporary music expert, keyboard and theremin player, author, conductor, editor and teacher, was born in Chicago on 14 December 1914 to Russian and Turkish parents. She first appeared as a solo pianist at the age of nine. She studied with Sophia Brilliant-Liven (an Anton Rubinstein student) and at Juilliard with Olga Samaroff. At odds with the fashion of the time, she played Bach on the modern grand piano (and even on a Moog synthesiser), believing that Bach's abstract music was not dependent on the sounds of any particular instruments. She made many international tours, often with her own group, the Tureck Bach Players, based in London in the 1950s.
Despising narrowness of mind in any form, she befriended composers, inventors, scientists and writers, and she refused to return to South Africa after discovering that non-whites attending her concerts had been forced to leave at the interval because of an evening curfew.
She founded the International Bach Institute, the Tureck Bach Institute, the Tureck Bach Research Foundation, Composers of Today and the Society of Contemporary Music. Her writings include An Introduction to the Performance of Bach (1959-60, three volumes), and her awards include five honorary degrees.
Rosalyn Tureck died in New York on 17 July 2003, aged eighty-eight.
CD Spotlight. Deeply Satisfying - Elena Kuschnerova plays J S Bach, selected by Howard Smith. '... decisive and fresh as a dewfall.'
CD Spotlight. Thoughtfully Appealing - Judith Lambden plays J S Bach, heard by Howard Smith. '... a great deal to admire ...'
Rosalyn Tureck - A memoir by Jenna Orkin of wtceo.org