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97-Year-Old Ruth Slenczynska Returns to Decca After Six Decades and Records Brand New Album, My Life in Music

January 14, 2022 | By Katy Salomon
Account Director, Morahan Arts and Media

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PR Contact:
 Katy Salomon | Morahan Arts and Media
katy@morahanartsandmedia.com | 863.660.2214



97-Year-Old Ruth Slenczynska Returns
to Decca After Six Decades and Records
Brand New Album, My Life in Music

Slenczynska, the Last Living Pupil of Rachmaninoff and
a Colleague of Barber, Performs Their Music Paired
with Chopin, Grieg, Debussy, and Bach

Out March 18, 2022 on Decca Gold
Review Downloads and Copies Available Upon Request

Listen to a Single from My Life in Music

“The greatest piano genius since Mozart” – Olin Downes
 

New York, NY (January 14, 2022) — Decca Classics is proud to announce the re-signing of legendary pianist Ruth Slenczynska who tomorrow, January 15, celebrates her 97th birthday.

Having recorded for the Decca Gold Label in the 1950s and 60s, Ruth is thrilled to return to the label nearly 60 years later to release a brand new solo piano album, recorded in 2021, entitled My Life in Music. The album celebrates her remarkable life and performing career which began as a child prodigy in the 1920s and continues nine decades later.

When asked about her new album, Slenczynska said, "Unbelievable! Whoever heard of a pianist my age making another album? I'm grateful if they like the music. Music is meant to bring joy. If mine still brings joy to people, then it is doing what it is supposed to do."

Born in 1925 in Sacramento, California, to Polish immigrants, Slenczynska gave her concert debut at the age of four (just as the world entered the Great Depression), performed on television at age five, and at six made her European concert debut in Berlin. 92 years later, the extraordinary pianist still performs to audiences around the world.

As a child, Ruth Slenczynska was taught by some of the most celebrated pianists in history. She is the last living pupil of the great Russian composer-pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff, and even stepped in for him at the last minute when he was unable to perform due to an injury. The pair would often drink tea together and, to this day, Slenczynska wears a Fabergé egg necklace the great musician gifted to her.

My Life in Music is inspired by Slenczynska’s personal connections with Rachmaninoff, as well as American composer Samuel Barber, who was her fellow student and friend. Slenczynska heard Barber’s now world-famous Adagio for Strings in the classroom, before it even had its title.

Slenczynska also explores the music of Chopin throughout the new album, including a piece she performed at the memorial service of one of the greatest pianists of all time, Vladimir Horowitz, a life-long friend. Chopin’s music formed Slenczynska’s musical foundations, with her father making her play all 24 Études before breakfast every morning. Slenczynska went on to earn a reputation as one of the most celebrated Chopin interpreters. The album also features pieces by Debussy, Grieg, and Bach which, for her, conjure memories of some of her great piano mentors: Egon Petri, Alfred Cortot, and Josef Hoffman.

A phenomenal performing career has seen Slenczynska appear at some of the most prestigious concert halls around the world, as well as for the likes of President Reagan, President Kennedy, President Carter, and Michelle Obama, and has even played duets with President Truman and the (now former) Empress Michiko of Japan (with whom she is friends). She has also written extensively with many articles published and two books to her credit.

Still an active performer, Slenczynska performed at the 2021 Chopin International Festival and Friends in October 2021 in the Polish Embassy in New York and is set to celebrate her 97th Birthday with a recital at Lebanon Valley College, PA, on February 6.

Laura Monks and Tom Lewis, Co-Presidents of Decca Label Group, say, “It’s remarkable to think that Ruth made her concert debut before the birth of colour movies, and around the same time as the birth of television! The fact that she is still at the top of her game over nine decades later is extraordinary. It’s very hard to think of anyone, in any profession, who has achieved such a sustained period of excellence.”

Label Director of Decca Classics, Dominic Fyfe, says, “We are privileged to have Ruth record for Decca again, some sixty-six years since she first recorded for the label in New York. One of her earliest producers was Thomas Frost and we were delighted to unite her with Thomas’ son David, the multi GRAMMY award-winning producer, for this new album. Decca has a long-cherished history of bringing great pianists back to the studio, from Shura Cherkassky to Jorge Bolet. Ruth was friends with them both and her pianism is one of the last living links to that golden era.”

My Life in Music is out on Decca Classics in conjunction with Universal Music Australia on March 18, 2022.

Ruth Slenczynska celebrates her 97th birthday on January 15, 2022.

My Life in Music Tracklist
1. Rachmaninoff – 6 Romances, Op. 38: 3. Daisies
2. Rachmaninoff – 13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 5 in G Major. Moderato
3. Barber – Nocturne “Homage to John Field,” Op. 33
4. Barber – Fresh from West Chester: II. Let's Sit It Out, I'd Rather Watch
5. Chopin – Grand valse brillante in E-Flat Major, Op. 18 (Ed. Paderewski)
6. Chopin – Berceuse in D-Flat Major, Op. 57
7. Grieg – Lyric Pieces, Op. 65: 6. Wedding Day at Troldhaugen
8. Debussy – Préludes / Book 1, L. 117: 8. The Girl with the Flaxen Hair
9. Chopin – 12 Études, Op. 10: No. 3 in E Major (Ed. Paderewski)
10. Chopin – Fantaisie in F Minor, Op. 49
11. Chopin – 24 Préludes, Op. 28: No. 3 in G Major (Ed. Paderewski)
12. J.S. Bach – Prelude and Fugue in C-Sharp Major, BWV 849

 

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