Ruggiero Ricci

Ruggiero Ricci

San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA
Death 6 Aug 2012 (aged 94)
Palm Springs, Riverside County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend, Specifically: Ashes given to family.
Memorial ID 94978974 · View Source
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Classical Musician. Out of a career of more than 70 years he shall probably be remembered for interpreting the works of the legendary 19th century grandmaster Niccolo Paganini. The child of a musical family, he was raised in the Bay Area and was taught to play the violin by his father though for a time he and his brother did become pawns in a custody fight between the family and a temporary guardian. Trained from age six by Louis Persinger of the San Francisco Symphony he made his solo recital debut at 10 with a program of pieces by Vieuxtemps, Mendelssohn, and Saint-Saens. Following his orchestral bow at 11 in which he performed the Mendelssohn Concerto he soon made his Carnegie Hall debut. Ricci first toured Europe in 1932 and quickly had a busy concert and radio schedule which continued up to World War II then from 1942 until 1945 served in the US Army Air Corps as an 'Entertainment Specialist' giving hundreds of usually solo performances for the troops. After the war he continued a recital career that would eventually total more than 5,000 concerts in 65 countries, his primary violin a 1734 Guarneri del Gesu once owned by Bronislav Huberman. While Ricci majored in Paganini with a strong minor in Bach he also regularly programmed works of such other great composers as Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Brahms. In 1947 he presented the first complete recording of Paganini's 24 Caprices, works of such overpowering difficulty that few dare play them in public though they are routinely used by pedagogues as a teaching device. Not confining himself to older repertoire Ricci gave the world premieres of at least two modern concertos, that of Alberto Ginastera in 1963 with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic and in 1970 Gottfried von Einem's with the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Seiji Ozawa. Over the years he was to teach at Indiana University, the Juilliard School, and the University of Michigan, to author two books on violin technique, and to cut roughly 500 records including four readings of the 24 Caprices, the last made using Paganini's own "Il Cannone Guarnerius", arguably the most famous musical instrument on Earth. Ricci bade farewell to the stage in 2003, giving his last American concert at the Smithsonian, and afflicted with arthritis lived his final years in the Southern California desert. At his death from heart failure much of his vast recorded legacy remained in print. Of his approach to his art he said: "To improve you have to try for the impossible in order to make the possible possible".

Bio by: Bob Hufford

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 7 Aug 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 94978974
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ruggiero Ricci (24 Jul 1918–6 Aug 2012), Find a Grave Memorial no. 94978974, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend, who reports a Ashes given to family..