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Release: Sept. 14, 2001

Organist Brink Bush to present UI guest recital Sept. 28

Brink Bush, organist at St. Anne's Church in Rochester, N.Y., will present a free recital at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 on the organ in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus. Bush will perform as a guest of the UI School of Music.

Called "a very gifted organist and musician" by noted keyboard artist Rosalyn Tureck and "a musician/performer of high order" by Donald McDonald of Westminster Choir College, Bush specializes in one of the least explored areas of organ repertoire -- music by German Romantic composers. He is particularly an expert on the music of Wilhelm Middelschulte, who lived in Germany and the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The second half of the Sept. 28 program will be devoted to works by Middelschulte. Bush will play the Toccata on the Chorale "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" ("A mighty fortress is our God") and Contrapuntal Symphony on Themes by J.S. Bach, as well as Middelschulte's arrangement of the Prayer from "I gioielli della Madonna" (The jewels of the Madonna), an opera by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari.

The first half of the program will include works by other relatively neglected composers of the 19th and 20th centuries: the Concertsatz (Concert movement) in C minor by Carl Ludwig Thiele; Three Character Pieces by Gerard Bunk; and Fantasy on "St. Clement" by Aaron Miller.

Bush discovered the organ works of Wilhelm Middelschulte while searching for compositions by neglected romantic masters. He found Middelschulte's works to be of such significance that he embarked upon a journey to uncover the story behind the music. Travel to Westphalia, Germany, and access to the Middelschulte family archives have led Bush to an in-depth knowledge of Middelschulte's life and career.

After serving as organist at the Church of St. Luke in Berlin, Middelschulte moved to the United States and settled in Chicago in 1891. He was organist at the Cathedral of the Holy Name, and later served as organist for 20 years at St. James' Church in Chicago. Noted for his performances of Bach's organ works, he taught at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee and the Detroit Foundation Music School. He returned to Germany in 1939 and died at the age of 80 in 1943.

Bush has been sponsored by Achim Middelschulte, great nephew of the composer, for three consecutive research trips to Germany. In February 2000, he was invited to Yale University to give a lecture on the Middelschulte's life and works, and the first volume of his recording of Middelschulte's complete works was released in October 1999. His article on Middelschulte has been published by the "New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 2000."

Bush has been the director of music and organist of Saint Anne Church in Rochester, N.Y., since 1992. He has been heard on the nationally syndicated radio program "With Heart and Voice" and has concertized widely throughout the United States.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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