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January 2014
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In Loving Memory










WFMT will broadcast a memorial concert live from St. James Cathedral, Friday at 5:00 PM

Also, Monday’s live broadcast of Chicago Chamber Musicians will be played in her memory, 12:15 PM

A little radio tribute:

All of us at WFMT are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of Deborah Sobol’s passing.  Debbie was a relentless advocate for classical music, epitomized most recently in her creation of the free and hugely successful Rush Hour Concerts from St. James Cathedral, a series of summer concerts broadcast each week on WFMT.  Debbie co-founded and ran Chicago Chamber Musicians for 20 years, working closely in that endeavor with WFMT and our long-time program director, Norman Pellegrini. Debbie was a joy to be with because her creative mind was always spilling over with ideas and projects.  I was with her just a few days ago and was doing my best to keep up with the steady stream of ideas and plans bursting from her.  We’ve lost a great spirit and a dear friend. Our community won’t be the same without her.

—Steve Robinson, General Manager, WFMT



  • Jamie O’Reilly

    Our family is at a lost, and so is the world, without Deborah. Rest in peace dear, dear friend. We love you.

  • Devvora Papatheodorou

    What a tremendous loss! Debbie was my teacher and mentor for 7 years in piano technique and chamber music. No one taught piano technique the way Debbie did. So much of what I know in piano it’s because of her. She will be greatly missed. I feel very grateful to have met her.

  • Gary Geiger

    Deborah Sobol believed in me as a musician and a person in a way that nobody else ever has. She was my mentor in the truest sense. I would not be the person I am today, nor have a music career of any sort, were it not for her. I have looked up to her from my first lesson with her, and have thought about the things she has taught me about music and life almost every day for the past 25 years. I am just devastated by her passing.

  • Jon Kavanaugh

    I was fortunate to be working at WFMT when the Chicago Chamber Musicians became the “house band” for the then Continental Bank Concerts (now Live from WFMT). Deborah was the consummate professional and a delight to work with in promoting the emerging CCM. She’ll be greatly missed.

  • Ann Murray

    I was deeply saddened to hear that we have lost a fine spirit and a great contributor to classical music. Her vision and drive in creating Rush Hour were inspirational to all of us in the business. From the early days of having 75 folks in the audience to the full church we see today, Deb was the driving force in propelling the series into the news and into the hearts of her loyal audiences. I feel I’ve lost a kindred spirit in providing free classical music experiences to the people of Chicago. But, her legacy will be with us for a long time to come. With deep sadness.

  • Connie and Peter Dickinson

    Debbie was so much more than a gifted musician — a loving, caring, exciting, creative muse to so many, and a real visionary in countless ways. It’s hard to imagine Chicago’s classical music scene without Debbie stirring the pot. It was our privilege to work along side her to start and nourish The Chicago Chamber Musicians. Connie and Peter Dickinson

  • Richard Young

    My first time playing with Debbie was the one I remember best: a Schubert “Trout” quintet with Joe, David, Marc, & Brad. In large part because of her, it was elegant, bubbly, filled with love & friendship, and just so much fun.

  • Allen Linkowski

    I was shocked.and devastated to hear of Deborah Sobol’s untimely and sudden passing. Ever since we met, almost 23
    years ago, and she invited me to join the CCM family, an association that remains rewarding to this day, she continued
    to be an enriching presence. Her passon for music, shared with us as performer, teacher and as curator of the remarkable Rush Hour Concert series has created a priceless legacy that will cherished for generations to come. Her generosity of spirit, boundless energy and warm and gracious presence (she truly lit up a room) will be sorely missed.
    A bright, illuminating spirit has sadly left us.

  • Anne E. Rice

    The memories of events in my life twenty+ years ago cascaded around me as my brother in Chicago told me over the phone that Debbie is gone. She was my piano teacher, professor, mentor, boss, friend, and the one who most nourished my love for chamber music. I send love to her family, friends, students, colleagues, and anyone else who was affected by her music, never-ending energy, larger-than-life hopes, and her genuine love. She was a beautiful pianist and a beautiful opportunist. I don’t know which I admired more. Thank you to WFMT for broadcasting the service on Friday. I will listen to it from a thousand miles away.

  • Sue Thompson

    She had the greatest appreciation of every one of us who
    were in the audience. She made each one of us in the audience feel like we
    contribute to the program; and made us feel like we were intelligent and
    knowledgeable about music.

  • Mick Mulcahy

    Our city has tragically lost one of our great cultural visionaries. Deborah Sobol’s passing leaves very much the poorer. Her creativity and passion were the soul of The Chicago Chamber Musicians and Music at St James. Everything great about these institutions is directly traceable to Debbie.
    I have lost a truly great friend.

    Michael Mulcahy

    Chicago Chamber Musicians

    Chicago Symphony Orchestra

    Northwestern University

  • Andres Franco

    I was deeply saddened when I heard about Deborah Sobol’s passing. While I met Debbie relatively recently, in 2010 during the launch of Caminos del Inka, Inc. in Chicago, we worked closely in preparation for our appearance at the Rush Hour Concerts in 2011. During that time, I came to appreciate Debbie as a gracious, creative and energetic person. Her love and passion for classical music was contagious. She showed all of us the incredible power music has to connect, to build community, to make us all better people.

    All of us who knew Debbie will miss her immensely, but her memory and her legacy will continue to serve as a guiding star. Thanks to people like Debbie, classical music is very much alive and her efforts provide hope for a bright future. All who knew her can thank her for being such an incredible source of inspiration!

    Andrés Franco
    Principal Conductor
    Caminos del Inka

  • Bliss Browne

    Gracious loving goodness. Debbie opened hearts to the joys of creating together in a way that lifted spirits and made community work. Practical, hopeful and persuasive, she raised children and programs with contagious enthusiasm and humor. She was a great friend, hostess and irrepressible visionary. Many thanks to WFMT for recording so many of her wondrous performances and interviews which give us ways to continue to be touched by her. Debbie, you inspired us beyond what you could ever know. While we are disappointed with the timing, heaven is lucky to get you. May your legacy of love now be truly unbounded.

  • Karyn Sobol Rosypal

    I am saddened by the untimely passing of my dear first cousin, Debbie Sobol. We grew up together and even as a child, she was a joy to be around – always lively, full of energy and coming up with new things to do and ideas that were fun. Her beautiful music brought joy to many. The world is a better place because she was in it. May Deborah Sobol be blessed a hundredfold for all the good she did and for enriching so many people’s lives.

  • Drs. Peter and Margaret Hurst

    We are shocked to learn today of the passing of such a talented, enthusiastic and dynamic woman, wife and mother.

  • Freya Dinshaw

    The relationship between a piano teacher and student is a very special one, and although I only studied with Deborah for six months while on exchange from Australia, she made a very important impact on me and I will miss her very much. Deborah was extremely lively and passionate about everything – not just music – and I remember her inviting all the international students to her home for Thanksgiving and how she used to teach me about American history and all the great things to do in Chicago while studying Bach or Brahms in our piano lessons. I looked up to Deborah very much and I think she was a role model for many of her students. Thank you very much WFMT – I am tuning in from Melbourne to listen to the concert today.

  • Christine Saldanha & Bill Youm

    Thank you, Steve and WFMT for your beautiful tribute concert last Friday in honor of Debbie Sobol. Music is enduring …. and Debbie will forever endure in our hearts, minds and memories. Her friendship was a true gift to us and she changed our lives for the better.

  • Therese Inverso

    I went to high school in Kingston PA with Deborah, and though out of touch with her all these years, everything written about her now was already present in her then. So saddened to hear that she isn’t here any longer.

  • Jack & Antonetta Mulcahy

    We were overcome with the news about Deborah.
    Our hearts go out to you all.
    May her Creator receive her with loving, open arms.

    Jack & Antonetta Mulcahy ( Michael’s parents, Australia)