click photo to enlarge Ruggiero Ricci violinist

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Susie McLeod Manager

Jenny Ball

In 1998 Ruggiero Ricci celebrated his 80th birthday and an extraordinary concert career spanning 70 years. His debut in 1928 at the age of 10 in San Francisco playing a formidable programme of works by Vieuxtemps, Saint-Saens, Mendelssohn and Wieniawski, astounded the audience and started him on the road to early stardom. His consecration as a world class "wunderkind", one of the 20th century's few authentic prodigies, came in New York when the leading critic of the day wrote: "All that great violinists do, he did."

Newsletter/Autumn 1998:
Intermusica in Japan

He made this first tour of Europe in 1932 at the age of 14, a highly sensationalised series of concerts with the world's greatest orchestras; he continued to play extensively until, ironically, the Army Air Force put a stop to his world travels. He enlisted at the beginning of the war and became "Entertainment Specialist Ricci". During those three years he played and broadcast hundreds of concerts under a variety of unusual conditions, often without an accompanist, exploring and presenting the largely unexploited solo violin repertoire. Since then he has remained an enthusiastic exponent of the solo recital, basing a majority of his yearly programmes on the solo works of Bach, Paganini, Wieniawski, Kreisler, Ernst, Bartok etc. His was the first recording of the unadulterated Paganini Caprices, and he performed the US premieres of both the 4th and 6th concerti. Not surprisingly, Ricci is recognised as having greatly contributed to the world's renewed appreciation and affection for the great 19th century composers, though he maintains a broad repertoire of over 50 concerti. He has performed the world premieres of several distinguished contemporary composers, including Alberto Ginastera, Gottfied von Einem, Alexander Goehr, Joseph White, Gerard Schurmann and Carlos Veerhoff. His discography lists more than 500 recordings, including 65 CDS. His fourth recording of the Paganini Caprices was made for the first time on Paganini's own Guarneri, exceptionally lent to Ricci by the City of Genoa. At the last count, Ricci has performed over 6 000 concerts in 65 countries.

Ricci's first teacher, from the age of six, was Louis Persinger. He later studied with Michel Piastro, Paul Stassevitch and Georg Kulenkampf. Past teaching posts include Indiana University, the Juilliard School and the University of Michigan. His book, "Left Hand Violin Technique" is published by G Schirmer.

Ricci teaches at the Mozarteum Akademie in Salzburg, Austria.

Ruggiero Ricci appears by arrangement with Intermusica Artists’ Management Ltd.

November 2000

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It was more than just a treat to hear the great legendary violinist Ruggiero Ricci recently. This grand old man appeared feeble and walked with difficulty onto the stage, but once he drew the bow across the strings, his 81 years fell away and his fingers flew with remarkable agility over the fingerboard….Ricci not only showed his skill and mastery of the violin but also bared his soul.
Malaysian Philharmonic/Kees Bakels, Sarasate, Kreisler, Paganini etc.

Ricci held his audience spellbound. What marked out his playing was its excitement and its energy. .. Bach’s Partita in D minor showed Ricci’s mastery, combining energey with quiet authority and heartfelt treatment… This was breathtaking playing.
Recital with Daniel Adni, Bach, Prokofiev, Sarasate

Nothing flash but twice as dazzling. Ricci gave elegant distinction to music by Saint-Saens.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Ricci: keeps alive the flame of the virtuoso violin tradition… His recording of Beethoven’s violin concerto offers new insights into the violinist’s art.
Beethoven Violin Concerto, (BBC Music Magazine)

Criticism struggles when it is confronted by performances that come close to the ideal. Every note seems inevitable, and the perforamnces are immensely exciting, argent, perfectly paced… Ricci’s highly individual tone colour (radiant with a rapid, fairly narrow vibrato) is a source of constant fascination; a slightly huskiness in certain phrases only adds to its already intensely expressive character.
Mendelssohn Concerto, London Symphony (Classic CD)

Outstanding..the freshness, vigor and ease of interpretation of this incredible performer, emerging also in this latest recording of his, attest to a technical mastery that, in our century, remains almost unparalleled.
Polish National Radio, Tchaikovsky, Paganini (Gramophone)

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