Composer, conductor, teacher, administrator, performer, publisher. Tracey Rush has worn many hats in her life but musically her first love is writing beautiful music that is accessible for both educational and professional ensembles. It is no wonder she has been commissioned by dozens of educational and professional orchestras and choirs.
Portrait artist: Nick Majesky
Tracey Rush is founder and former Executive Director of the Northeast Iowa School of Music in Dubuque, Iowa. She earned a BS in Music Education from Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina, where she was a composition student of Dwight Gustafson, and has her MM from the University of Northern Iowa. Rush taught music in the Dubuque Community School District for 18 years and currently teaches at Tri-State Christian School as well as composition at Emmaus Bible College. She served as principal violist with the Dubuque Symphony for many years, where she also served as Education Coordinator for 5 years and head librarian for 14 years. In 1998, she formed the Dubuque Community String Orchestra which she still conducts. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald named Rush as one of the “Most Influential Musicians in the Tri-States.”
Rush served as Composer-in-Residence of the Dubuque Symphony’s 1996-97 season, when four of her works were performed during that season including the commissioned “Spirit of Freedom.” A rousing concert fanfare, this piece was chosen to be performed at the MENC 56th National In-service, April 1998, in Phoenix, Arizona. The Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Nicholas Palmer, performed "Spirit of Freedom" at the Kentucky governor's inaugural in December 1999. Her “Angels in the Snow” has been conducted by Erich Kunzel and the Naples Philharmonic, as well as many other orchestras around the country. She has had over 25 commissions, and her educational works appear on festival and preferred music lists nation-wide, including Texas and Virginia. “The Butterfly Garden” received the Francis J. Pyle Award in 1999. She was also a finalist in several states for the American Composers Forum “Continental Harmony Project.” Dramatic Publishing, Inc has published the musical-comedy review, “Mothering Heights,” which Rush co-wrote with Rebecca Christian. In March 2008 she conducted the Brookfield East (WI) High School Orchestra in her “Fantasia in F” at Carnegie Hall. In April 2010, the Muscatine (IA) Symphony premiered “Photographic Memories” which they commissioned; it is based on photographs of Muscatine native photographer Oscar Grossheim.
Rush served four terms as Chair of the Iowa Composers Forum. Her professional affiliations include the American String Teachers Association, Music Educators National Conference, and ASCAP. Tracey and her husband, John, live in Dubuque, where they raised two sons. They also have the two most awesome grandchildren ever.
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This video from the premiere performance starts with the explanation of the piece, written in memory of my mother. The music starts at 4:40, but the explanation is very helpful to understanding the work.
Performers: Wesley Precourt, Violin 1; Hanah Stuart Precourt, Violin 2; Danielle Wiebe, Viola; Bridget Pasker, Cello; David Fung, Piano. Introduction by Michael Gilbertson.
Here are what some of my colleagues have to say about me!
“My senior violist performed “Song” during last night’s concerto concert. She did such a wonderful job performing Song that our high school principal was seen wiping his eyes. “Song” is such a beautiful work! Thank you for writing this work. PLEASE keep writing….”
“I love Tracey’s music. She has a gift for melody and writing. All of my orchestras have a great time working on her music. Highly recommended!"
DAVID H. BAILEY
Former Music Director, Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra, Nashua, NH
“Tracey Rush’s music is guaranteed to please your audience and your musicians. Her style is one which flows easily and has a natural grace about it.”
Former President of the American Music Center and American Composers Forum
“Tracey’s music speaks in a familiar tongue; something that can surprise and delight with its emotional immediacy. There is no greater accomplishment in music than to make sounds that are ‘inevitable’ and ‘right.’ To me, this is what she seems to be striving for in every work.”
The majority of works are available through lucksmusic.com. Angels in the Snow and Spirit of Freedom are for rent at wendelmusic.com. The rest of the selections are available directly from the composer. For more information, contact her at