Remembering Ruggiero Ricci, 100 years on

Remembering Ruggiero Ricci, 100 years on


norman lebrecht

July 24, 2018

The US violinist, born July 24, 1918, made his debut aged ten in San Francisco in 1928 and was still out there playing 80 years later.

A Paganini specialist, he made some five hundred recordings.

Ruggiero, fondly remembered, died on August 6, 2012.

Anyone know what became of his 1734 ex-Huberman Guarnerius?


  • Amati del Strado says:

    Midori plays on Ricci’s Huberman del Gesu on a lifetime loan.

  • Mark says:

    I believe his violin was sold to a wealthy collector in 2012.

  • Simon says:

    I remember laughing with him over lunch at Gavin Henderson’s home at Darlington that while we both taught at Juilliard he and I both got the same (small) rate of pay. Without being unecessarily modest, it did seem ridiculous that he, one of the greatest violinists on the planet, should be on the same rate as me!

  • Thulliez says:

    Thank you Norman, for posting this.

  • drummerman says:

    In my very first orchestra manager job (1984), we had Ricci scheduled to play the Paganini. Imagine my surprise (and horror) when he came to the first rehearsal and told me: “I’m not playing Paganini. I talked to my manager last week and he told me I was playing Wieniawski.” This very green, very young orchestra manager looked down on him — he is rather short — and said: “Excuse me, Maestro Ricci, but you are playing the Paganini.” Which he did.

    I later found out that his manager had confused my orchestra with another orchestra in the same area where Ricci was indeed scheduled to play Wieniawski a few months later!

  • Ravi Narasimhan says:

    He was teaching into his eighties. In the early 2000s he gave a few masterclasses in the LA area. He worked very well with the young players and they in turn responded well to his guidance.


    He was a great personal friend and we made many tours together. In Australia we recorded the Respighi Violin Concerto. Alas, it was never released because we
    never got around recording a companion work. He was one of the few violinists universally admired by all his colleagues. Amazing technique. Great guy!

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    I once played with him in the Monterey Symphony. He made a point of telling me his son was a tuba player. Very nice man.

  • Iain Scott says:

    I booked him for a concert in Glasgow many years ago in the 80s. The technique was phenomenal but he was incredibly sharp throughout. Not as in intellectually sharp just tonally! It was awkward.

  • David Yonan says:

    Ruggiero Ricci was a great Mentor to me from Age 12 on until he passed away in 2012. His International annual Master Class and Competition in Berlin were legendary. As a Violinist he was one of the greatest-and one of the most modest. I miss him very much. May his Memory be for a blessing.