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 aged 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.
‘MY LIFE IN MUSIC’ TRACKLIST:
- Rachmaninoff: 6 Romances, Op. 38: 3. Daisies
- Rachmaninoff: 13 Preludes, Op. 32: No. 5 in G Major. Moderato
- Barber: Nocturne 'Homage to John Field', Op. 33
- Barber: Fresh from West Chester: II. Let's Sit It Out, I'd Rather Watch
- Chopin: Grand valse brillante in E-Flat Major, Op. 18 (Ed. Paderewski)
- Chopin: Berceuse in D-Flat Major, Op. 57
- Grieg: Lyric Pieces, Op. 65: 6. Wedding Day at Troldhaugen
- Debussy: Préludes / Book 1, L. 117: 8. The Girl with the Flaxen Hair
- Chopin: 12 Études, Op. 10: No. 3 in E Major (Ed. Paderewski)
- Chopin: Fantaisie in F Minor, Op. 49
- Chopin: 24 Préludes, Op. 28: No. 3 in G Major (Ed. Paderewski)
- J.S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C-Sharp Major, BWV 84