Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
July 24
Did You Guess?
The Rocketeer was about a fellow who happens upon a rocket pack which allows him to fly!  Will he save the beautiful girl?  Will the backpack fall into the hands of the evil Nazi spy?  A great movie reminiscent of the Saturday afternoon serials!  And with Melora Hardin singing, what more could you ask?
Can You Guess?
In a 1991 film about a flying hero, actress Melora Hardin makes an appearance singing Artie Shaw's Begin the Beguine just before all sorts of excitement occurs. Can You Guess the name of the movie?

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
What Else
Happened
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Ruggiero Ricci was born in July 24, 1918.  He was the third child of seven. His famliy, not being rich was oriented to music. His father, an Italian immigrant and musician, urged his children to become musicians.  As it turned out, three of the seven would become professional musicians.
1752 - Birth of English violinist and composer Michael Festing. Director of the Italian Opera in London and Music at Ranelagh.

1880 - Ernest Bloch, Swiss-American composer, was born. Director of San Francisco Conservatory of Music 1925-30.

1906 - Pierre Fournier, French cellist, was born in Paris

1938 - Premiere of Richard Strauss's opera Friedenstag ('The Day of Peace') in Munich.

1938 - Artie Shaw recorded Begin the Beguine.

1964 - Elliot Goldkind, US composer, was born in New York City.

1965 - The Beach Boys' California Girls was released.

1983 - Premiere of Elisabetta Brusa's Favole 'Fables' for chamber orchestra, George Hanson conducted the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra.

1987 - The movie biography of Richie Valens, La Bamba, opened.

2000 - Oscar Shumsky, US violinist and teacher, died in Rye, New York.  Taught Eugene Drucker of the Emerson Quartet. Click here to see a great collection of Shumsky's work.
Ruggiero's father was his first teacher.  By the time he was 7, Ruggiero was being taught by Louis Persinger. After winning a gold-medal in a local contest, Ruggiero gave his first public performance in San Francisco on Nov. 15, 1928 (age 10), playing works by Wieniawsky and Vieuxtemps. Persinger accompanied him on the piano. On October 20, 1929, Ruggiero made his New York City debut, playing with the Manhattan Orchestra conducted by Henry Hadley.

His New York debut was followed by a national concert tour, then (in 1932) an international tour to England and Germany.

During his career, Ruggiero became famous for his performance of works by Paganini.  He also became known for playing scales with exceptionally unusual and difficult fingerings as well as playing works originally written for piano (such as the Chopin Etudes) on his violin.  Ruggiero would later say that he learned tremendously from these, and would recommend them to his students.

During World War II Ricci served in the US Army Air Corps as an "entertainment specialist."  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 repertoire.  He worked out a substantial repertoire that allowed him to perform without an accompanist.  Ruggiero left the army in 1945.

After the end of the war, Ricci returned to the concert stage.  In addition to his work in the US, he traveled to South America, Australia, Japan, and Russiaduring several world tours. He developed a formidable repertoire of about 60 violin concertos, including all the violin works of Paganini; edited the newly discovered manuscript of Paganini's early Violin Concerto, presumed to have been composed c. 1815, and gave its first N.Y. performance with the American Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 7, 1977.  He also gave the first performances of violin concertos by several modern composers including  Alberto Ginastera (1963) and Gottfried von Einem (1970).  During his 70 year career he gave more than 6000 concerts.

Ricci was devoted to violin education and gave master courses at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Indiana University, and the Juilliard School of Music in New York.  He also taught in Assisi and Berlin.

Ricci's book, Left Hand Technique was written over a ten year period.  It was published by Schirmer.

In 1998, Ricci gave a "Golden Jubilee" recital at Wigmore Hall in London on the occasion of his 80th birthday. His program included works by Wieniawski, Ysaye, Paganini and Bach. For the first time in his career, Ricci chose to sit during the performance.  But the Chaconne by Bach caused him to rise to his feet, commenting that there was no way that he could play it seated.

Ricci owns and plays a 1734 Guarnerius del Gesł violin.

Ruggiero Ricci
1918-
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