Deborah Sobol, the founder of Rush Hour Concerts, was devoted to the music of J.S. Bach.  On July 15th, Rush Hour celebrated its 15th Anniversary with a program focused on Bach, featuring organ music performed by Bruce Barber as well as the Sones de México Ensemble and New Chicago Brass collaborating on an unforgettably unique arrangement of the Third Brandenburg Concerto.  A heartfelt thank you to all who performed in and attended this standing-room-only celebration!

Debbie had a deep appreciation for and love of all things Bach. She would often refer to him as “Mr. Bach” or “ol’ J.S.,” and Bach’s keyboard music was a cornerstone of her pedagogy. In her own words:

“To anyone who has studied piano seriously at one time or another, the Two-Part Inventions of J.S. Bach are familiar territory. And they should be, for Bach wrote them with his students in mind: to teach them how to play with a singing tone, how to understand a good composition, and, of course, how to play two voices at once and make both intelligible. The miracle of Bach’s Inventions is that each of the two voices can be heard as its own distinct voice, even when being played simultaneously with the second voice. It is an auditory playground for the listener! 

Ah, indeed, Bach writes the perfect course book, and we pianists are his lucky, lifelong students. Bach remains the great musical architect, the wellspring of ideas, the master puzzler (I think he would have loved Sudoku!). He sets out a theme for you and then turns it upside-down, inside-out, forward and backward – all the while setting it against exquisite and complex counterpoint. With all the mathematical and computational skills that counterpoint requires, were he alive today, I think Bach might be an artful software programmer or be best friends with Bill Gates.

Lastly, Bach is the teacher of good citizenship between the hands, fingers and the heart. Each has roles to play in order to articulate the intrinsic beauty and expression embedded within his complex Apollonian structures, with which Bach teaches control, patience, and politeness, and, most of all, invites the ear to simply listen.”

– Deborah Sobol, circa 2006
Founder and Creative Director, Rush Hour Concerts
(1950 – 2014)

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