Monday, January 17, 2022

97-year-old pianist Ruth Slenczynska signs a worldwide record deal with Decca Classics

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Born in 1925, the pianist made her concert debut at the age of four and later studied with Sergei Rachmaninoff

Now Ruth Slenczynska is hoping to top the charts in her 90’s after signing a new global record deal with Decca Classics.

She was a piano prodigy who began her concert career in the silent film era.

Ms. Slenczynska, born in 1925, made her concert debut at the age of four and can look back on a concert career spanning eleven decades.

The last living student of the great Russian composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff, she was invited to perform before five US Presidents, including Harry Truman, with whom she played a duet.

In the 50s and 60s she recorded albums for the Decca label.

60 years later, Ms. Slenczynska, who celebrates her 97th birthday on Saturday (January 15), returns with a new solo piano album. My life in music, which will be released this March.

Decca previously helped Dame Vera Lynn become the oldest living artist to score a Top 10 album, with a new release celebrating the war favorite’s 100th birthday.

Ms Slenczynska said her return to the recording studio was “amazing! Who has ever heard of a pianist my age making another album?”

The pianist added: “I’m grateful if you like the music. Music should bring joy. If mine is still making people happy, then it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.”

Born in California to Polish parents, Ms. Slenczynska made her concert debut in childhood under the tutelage of a “tyrannical” father.

Dubbed “the amazing keyboard lioness of the Romantic era” throughout her career, she was famous for her Chopin interpretations, which Ms. Slenczynska recreates on the new album.

Still an active artist, she performed at an international Chopin festival at the Polish Embassy in New York last October and will celebrate her 97th birthday with a concert in the US in February.

Laura Monks and Tom Lewis, co-presidents of Decca Label Group, said, “It is noteworthy that Ruth made her concert debut before the birth of color film and around the same time as the birth of television.”

“The fact that she’s still at the top of her game over nine decades later is extraordinary.”

“It is very difficult to imagine anyone in any profession who has achieved such sustained excellence.”

Decca said the musician’s pianism was “one of the last living links” to a “golden era” of classical performance.

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