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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » R » Ricci, Ruggiero

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Ruggiero Ricci (7/24/1918 - 8/06/2012)

Ruggiero Ricci’s performing career spanned seventy-five years, with more than 6000 concerts in sixty-five countries, and over 500 recordings. In his nineties he was still active in giving masterclasses.

His career started with a San Francisco début at the age of ten, playing Vieuxtemps, Saint-Saëns, Mendelssohn and Wieniawski, which amazed the audience and caused him to be hailed as a true prodigy. He had begun learning with his father and then had lessons from Louis Persinger (who also taught Yehudi Menuhin and Guila Bustabo at that time). During the 1930s Ricci studied in Berlin with Georg Kulenkampff, consciously adopting the strengths of the German style of playing and aiming to emulate Kreisler and Heifetz. In 1942 he enlisted in the US Army as an ‘Entertainment Specialist’, giving hundreds of broadcasts and concerts, often without a pianist, and thus developing his knowledge of unaccompanied repertoire. At fourteen his first European tour had been a highly sensationalised series of concerts and it was at this time that Ricci undertook to master Paganini’s Caprices on the premise that in order to excel in technique one should tackle the most difficult music. In 1947 he became the first to record them complete in their original version; further recordings date from 1959, 1975, 1978, 1987, 1988 and 1998 (live at his 80th birthday concert in Hungary).




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