Deborah Sobol 1950-2014

Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 6:12 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Deborah Sobol
Deborah Sobol

Deborah Rose Sobol, a fixture on Chicago’s music scene for more than four decades as pianist and presenter, died suddenly Saturday night of an aortal aneurysm. She was 63.

She was a founder, longtime pianist and artistic and executive director of Chicago Chamber Musicians, where she developing innovative programming with an emphasis on audience education.

“She had a grand vision for bringing music into people’s everyday lives,” said Amy Iwano, executive director of the University of Chicago Presents series who succeeded her in the leadership position at CCM.

“She truly believed in the power of music to positively affect people’s lives, and she worked to bring that idea to life through both CCM and the Rush Hour series.”

While her keyboard playing and artistic planning were hallmarks of CCM’s early years, Sobol was more recently known as founder and artistic director of the Rush Hour Concerts. For the past 14 years, the free summer series at St. James Cathedral has offered a wide array of classical repertory and artists.

Sobol was a faculty member of the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and previously held posts at the Longy School of Music in Boston and Northwestern University. She was also principal of Studio 1301, which offers private instruction, coaching, and mentoring for young artists.

She is survived by husband Rowland W. Chang; son Benjamin and daughter Sarah; sister Suzanne Sobol Hagmeyer; and mother Rosemarie.

A public memorial service will be held at St. James Cathedral at 11 a.m. Friday, January 31.  A live memorial concert will air on WFMT 98.7 FM Friday from 5-7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, her family requests that donations be made to Rush Hour Concerts, 650 N. Dearborn, #500, Chicago, IL 60654.

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5 Responses to “Deborah Sobol 1950-2014”

  1. Posted Jan 28, 2014 at 9:18 pm by Jonathan Levine

    And in addition to all of her extraordinary contributions she was a lovely, decent, and altogether wonderful human being.

  2. Posted Jan 28, 2014 at 11:39 pm by ken shanoff

    deborah was a talented creative and above all a real person. she will be greatly missed but her contributions to music in chicago will go on forever.

  3. Posted Jan 29, 2014 at 11:52 am by Caroline A.

    Sending love to the Sobol/Chang family. Debbie was a beautiful, vibrant, talented and loving person. She will be missed dearly and remembered always.

  4. Posted Mar 09, 2014 at 7:38 pm by Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon

    Deborah Sobol was my piano teacher for more than 15 years. She was a truly extraordinary pedagogue–the best teacher of any subject that I ever had. I tape recorded and transcribed all of our lessons over the years. They are a testimony to her great patience, keen insight, enormous courage, and complete dedication to music and her students. I miss her each day, but she left me with so much that I can honestly say: I have my teacher.

  5. Posted Dec 20, 2023 at 4:53 am by Lee

    I remember Suzanne used to come into our class in grade school and play for us so it would give her some concert experience! I’m sad to see this. (Someone was just posting an old newspaper article on Facebook and a comment led me here)

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