Brink Bush is one of the leading interpreters of German Romantic organ music in the world today. He has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe and made his German debut at the Berliner Dom. He was featured on American Public Media’s "Pipedreams" in a program titled Bach, Bush and Middelschulte. His New York debut was heard at Trinity Church Wall Street during the "Virgil Fox Legacy Twenty-fifth Anniversary Concert Weekend".
Mr. Bush studied organ at Peabody Institute, the Juilliard School, and the Eastman School of Music. His principal teachers include David Craighead, Robert Elmore, Russell Saunders and Rosalyn Tureck.
Mr. Bush specializes in the German Romantic repertoire, especially the works of Gerard Bunk, Felix Mendelssohn, Wilhelm Middelschulte, Max Reger, Gerard Strecke and Ludwig Thiele. He has been sponsored by the Middelschulte family for three consecutive trips to Germany for his research on Wilhelm Middelschulte.
Mr. Bush has lectured at Yale University on the "Life and Works of Wilhelm Middelschulte". His recording, Volume 1 of the Complete Works of Wilhelm Middelschulte, was released in October of 1999. Mr. Bush’s article on Wilhelm Middelschulte appears in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. He is the editor of The Innermost Secrets by T. Ernest Nichols, 2005, an analysis of the Virgil Fox technique, and is the primary contributor to the new Wilhelm Middelschulte: Complete Organ Works I published by Baerenreiter, 2007.
Brink Bush presently serves as Organist and Director of Music for St. John's Episcopal Church, Beverly Farms, MA.
" Brink Bush is in his element with the German Romantic composers, as was made evident by Tuesday’s concert. From the crystalline shimmer of the chandeliers, and the winding stone staircases, the English Gothic interior of St. George’s Chapel served to highlight the impact of the music; its sparse interior complimented by the lush, dense and, at times, brazen harmonies issuing forth from the organ.
Mr. Bush’s playing was precise, intensely musical, expressive, and exciting. Each piece seems to have been carefully chosen and placed on the program with regard to key, style, form, and mood. Upon hearing the opening Toccata upon the hymn tune “Ein Feste Burg”, Mr. Bush’s command of the instrument was immediately apparent. The listeners’ reaction to the sparkling accompaniment to the sturdy hymn tune, was one of delight, as a child tasting ice cream for the first time-- something completely new, unfamiliar but delicious!
The Prayer from “Jewels of the Madonna” was exquisite, as was the Melodie (Reger): Expressivo at its best! Middelschulte’s Passacaglia fur Orgel (1896) demonstrated the vast palate of color and timbre available on the organ, and in Brink Bush’s hands is akin to a painting of the great masters.
The sound of the audience’s jaws hitting the floor accompanied Middelschulte’s Perpetuum Mobile for pedals, as Brink ripped through with flawless virtuosity, speed, and ease. Glancing at the audience’s reaction, one could obviously deduce that this was surely a showstopper par excellence!
As a sumptuous meal ends with something light and refreshing, so Mr. Bush’s concert closed with the encore. Nun freut euch, leiben Christen of J.S. Bach was airy, gyrating, and yet the running notes were shaped and sculpted. The chorale tune was grounded and firm, but not weighty. It was the perfect juxtaposition to the more substantial, and highly virtuosic pieces on the program. "
" That program of Middelschulte's compositions was a real tough one. I was very much impressed with your playing. Your technique is flawless but even more, your sense of phrasing is impeccable and you have a very keen sense for registration. This is not a common virtue with many organists today. You show a mastery of the organ. Wilhelm Middelschulte would have been very proud of you! "
" I am hugely moved by your musicianship! Your playing this most mechanical beast we so adore, and being able to leap over it, and force it to 'sing'... you, Brink, are unique and a marvel. "
" Mr. Bush was in comfortable control of the prodigious technical demands of this material and he fully utilized the sonic resources of the instrument to access the spirit of these compositions. "
" We found his playing, all from memory, to be an exciting and thoroughly satisfying experience. His technical equipment seems to be adequate to the most demanding scores, and his sense of musical form and shape equally sensitive. Our faculty was immensely impressed. He is surely a musician/performer of high order. "
Comments following a recital entitled "A German Romantic Retropective", Music of Middelschulte, Karg-Elert and Reger played at St. George's School, Middletown, RI for the AGO Regional Convention June 26, 2007:
" I wish to offer my personal thanks and gratitude as well as that of our RI Chapter AGO for your fine program and its contribution to the overall success of the convention. There were a great many comments on how well you played and how the repertoire fit so beautifully for that organ and in that space. Here is a representative sampling of some of the comments "
" Brink Bush launches this disc with this warhorse, the Perpetuum Mobile, played cleanly and at a Virgilian Tempo "
" If you appreciate supreme playing of the highest clarity, musicianly control, judgment of tempo and rhythmic excitement, this [CD] is for you. Brink Bush's impressive credentials are matched by his authority in all this music: stunningly immaculate playing of verve and refinement."
" Brink Bush made a superb presentation to our graduate students on the music of Wilhelm Middelschulte. He has immersed himself in this heretofore unexplored area so thoroughly that he has a vast store of information "on top of his head". Anyone who might assume that Middelschulte is only a peripheral figure among late-Romantics will be amazed at what he created. Brink Bush's lecture was, very honestly, a revelation and his finely produced hand-outs a highly valuable reference. "
" Middelschulte returned to Chicago brought by German Romantic Organ Specialist and enthusiast Brink Bush. Armed with a power-point presentation accompanied by numerous recordings of Middelschulte's compositions, Mr. Bush brought to life again the music of Middelschulte. The assembled workshop participants were treated to a rare scenic window into the life and music of this ' Master of Counterpoint '.
Certainly Brink Bush is well-qualified to share his knowledge of the life of Middelschulte. It is only hoped that this brief synopsis of the music of Middelschulte by Brink Bush will entice many other organists to tackle this music by the ' Master of Counterpoint '! "