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Biography

1918 Ruggiero Ricci was born in 1918 as the third child of seven. His famliy, not being rich was oriented to music. His father, an immigrant from Italy being a musician (a very ambitious man who played the trombone). He instructed his children to become musicians ("either musician, or garbage man").
Ruggiero listened to his father trying to play the hungarian dance of Brahms and he decided to play this piece on the violin. His first teacher was his father himself, who brought him to Louis Persinger at the age of 7 years. Persinger recognised the high talent of the boy and organised lessons by his assistant, Elizabeth Lackey and by himself.After winning a gold-medal at a local contest, Ricci gave his first public performance 1928 at the age of 10 years with works by Wieniawsky and Vieuxtemps. Persinger accompanied him on the piano. The year after he gave his first orchestral performance, playing the Mendelssohn concerto. His debut at the Carnegie Hall became a great success.
Concert tours in the USA and later in Europe (England and Germany) followed.
Ricci gave much attention to the works of Paganini, as he later said, he learned much of the violin-technique of Paganini from his works. Playing scales with difficult, uncommon fingerings were another speciality of Ricci. He recommends to play compositions for piano, like the Chopin-Etudes on the violin. As a teacher he insists to bring etudes to the absolute mastership instead to a mediocre level.

1930: Persinger arranged to meet Fritz Kreisler and Jacques Thibaud on the occasion of a west-cost concert tour. Although further tuition by Fritz Kreisler was intended, Ricci decided to go to Berlin in order to study with Georg Kulenkampff. He learned the totally different "German style" of playing in the tradition of Adolf Busch, avoiding glissando and portamento. Further studies with Michel Piastro and Paul Stassevich followed, until he returned to Persinger

Ricci's recordings made in the year 1934 in Germany are giving withess of the beautiful sound, the perfect mastering of his instrument and his secure feeling for style. Persinger accompanied on the piano.
During the second world war, Ricci served in the army from 1942 till 1945. He worked out a large repertory for solo violin, which enabled him to appear without accomanment. Again Paganini played a central role during this period. Ricci followed the tradition of Vasa Prihoda, the Cech virtuoso, who performed Paganini as a central part of his repertory.

1947 Ricci recorded the 24 Capriccios Paganini for the first time on Shellac records. (Ossi Renardi who reorded them earlier,had decided for a version with piano accompagnement by Schumann. On his discs - issued under the "Master of the Bow" series, is a complete recordings but unpleasurable due to many cuts, the omission if all repetitions so it is not really a loss, not to know this recording.)

His worldwide touring over the whole world - Ricci played more than 6000 concerts during 70 years of his carreer as a violinist - and made noumerous recordings- was supplemented by master classes and teaching, at last at the academy of music "Mozarteum" in Salzburg where he is active since 1988. Other important masterclasses were held in the USA (Julliard, Indiana, Michigan and North Carolina), as well as in Assisi and Berlin .
His book : "Left hand technique" was published by "Schirmer". This book had been written as a result and from experiences from over ten years.
The Concert "A Golden Jubilee" at the Carnegie Hall with Martha Agerich appeared on CD.

1998 Ricci gave a recital at Wigmore Hall in London on the occasion of his 80th. Birthday. His program selection comprised works by Wieniawski, Ysaye, Paganini and Bach. his only concession was to sit down -the first time he did in his career- while the Chaconne by Bach forced him to stand up "There was no way I was going to play that piece sat on a chair" as he commented later.

Which violinist in the world can look back on a period of concertising of over 60 years, and a "Golden Jubilee" as a soloist ?
Hence, Ricci is full of ideas of what to record, to edit or to publish. On top of that, Ricci continues his activities as a teacher without any concessions to standart and the high level.

 
©Andromeda 2002