Spotlight: Tracey Rush

Tracey Rush is founder and Executive Director of the Northeast Iowa School of Music in Dubuque. In addition to her teaching and administrative duties there, she is the orchestra director at Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School. She is also the founding director of the Dubuque Community String Orchestra. In March 2010, the Telegraph Herald (Dubuque) named Mrs. Rush “One of the most influential musicians of the Tri-States.” She served four terms as Chair of the Iowa Composers Forum and is a member of the American String Teachers Association, National Association for Music Education, and ASCAP. She is also former principal violist with the Dubuque Symphony.

Rush’s compositions have been performed all over the country and in several foreign countries. Her “Angels in the Snow” has been performed by several orchestras and choirs, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, Lucas Richman, conductor, and the Naples Philharmonic, Erich Kunzel, conductor. “Photographic Memories,” based on photographs of Muscatine native Oscar Grossheim, was premiered by the Muscatine (IA) Symphony in April 2010. The musical-comedy review Mothering Heights, which Rush co-wrote with Des Moines playwright Rebecca Christian, is published by Dramatic Publishing. Her song-cycle for treble choir, The Butterfly Garden, with texts by elementary students, won the 1999 Francis J. Pyle Commission Award, sponsored by the Iowa Composers Forum. Recent commissions include her “Celebration!” by the Cumberland County Middle School Youth Orchestra (MSYO) of Fayetteville (NC), and “Petite Allegro” by the Ames High School Orchestra in Ames, Iowa.

She has been a finalist in the Continental Harmony Project and Faith Partners Commissions of the American Composers Forum. In 2006, Mrs. Rush was invited to conduct the North Carolina Eastern Regional All-State String Orchestra. In March 2008, she conducted the Brookfield East (WI) High School Symphony Orchestra in a performance of her “Fantasia in F” at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Rush received her BS in Music Education from Bob Jones University and her MM from the University of Northern Iowa. Mrs. Rush and her husband, John, live in Dubuque where they raised their two sons. They now have the two most adorable grandchildren ever. Her biggest claim to fame, however, is being Michael Gilbertson’s first composition, violin, and viola teacher.

Original String Orchestra Works by Tracey Rush

Original Solo & Ensemble Works by Tracey Rush

Arrangements by Tracey Rush

New Music Friday

New Music Friday: Tango Americana

The Tango is a study in syncopation and accent. This original piece uses two themes, one in the key of F major and another in the relative minor. You can augment the overall Tango feel by using the included percussion parts for claves, bongo drums, and maracas.

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New Music Friday

New Music Friday: Personent Hodie

The tune used in this carol is believed to have originated in Germany, possibly around 1360. This arrangement stays relatively faithful to the melody, which is presented in groups of upper strings and lower strings. All parts can be played in first position, although the cello has several measures of divisi. At the marked tempo, the piece runs about two and a half minutes.

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New Music Friday

New Music Friday: The Changing Timepiece

This work is a set of brief variations based on the theme from the slow movement of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 101. This symphony is nicknamed “The Clock” due to the “tick-tock” effect that you will hear accompanying the theme. This work was created to be a teaching tool. Depending on what the students already were exposed to, this piece offers a chance to deal with changing time signatures, changing key signatures, changing tempi, col legno technique, subito, Grand Pause, tremolo, what are variations, what an old-fashioned mechanical clock sounds like, as well as historical information about Haydn and his symphonies.

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New Music Friday

New Music Friday: Slavonic Dance Op. 46, No. 2

Antonín Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances were originally composed to be played on the piano by two performers. The composer then created orchestrations for full orchestra, bringing him much recognition as a composer. This string orchestra arrangement increases the opportunities for even more performers and audiences to enjoy it.

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