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Tureck, Rosalyn

Born: 1914 AD
Died: 2003 AD
Nationality: American
Categories: Musicians, Pianists

1914 – Rosalyn Tureck, born on the 14th of December in Chicago, Illinois. She was an American pianist and harpsichordist who was particularly associated with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

1924 – At the age of 10, she had met the Russian musical inventor Leon Theremin, and heard the electronic instrument known by his surname; the experience made a huge impression on her.

1930 – At 16, she auditioned for the Juilliard School of Music, New York, she startled the panel by offering to play most of Bach’s 48 preludes and fugues from memory.

1932 – Her debut at Carnegie Hall was made on the theremin, rather than the piano.

1935 – Made her New York piano recital debut, and, in the same year, gave her first all-Bach series.

1936 – At 22, she made her orchestral debut in New York with the Philadelphia Orchestra, under the baton of Eugene Ormandy at Carnegie Hall, playing J. Brahms’s gigantic Second Piano Concerto – nothing daunted by her own slight build (she was 5ft 2in tall) and tiny, if extremely flexible, hands.

1947 – She championed contemporary music, especially that of American composers such as Charles Ives, William Schuman and David Diamond; Diamond’s First Piano Sonata was written for her, and she premiered Schuman’s Piano Concerto.

1952 – She presented the first programme in the USA of tape and electronic music.

1958 – 1959 – She became the first woman to conduct the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a subscription concert and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.

1960 – 1972 – She founded her own orchestra, the Tureck Bach Players.

1964 – At the age of 50, she married an American architect, George Wallingford Downs, who tragically died the same year; she did not marry again.

1998 – She continued to perform widely, appearing in St Petersburg, Italy, New York and at the Wigmore Hall, London.

2003 – Died on the 17th of July at the age of 88.