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Former child prodigy signs record deal aged 97

LEFT Source - San Francisco Examiner-Pictorial Living, p. 10, date J. 12, ca. 1929, Associated Press Photo; RIGHT Photo by Meredith Truax
By @RobDexES
14 January 2022
A

former child prodigy pianist is celebrating after signing a record deal aged 97.

Ruth Slenczynska is releasing her album, My Life in Music, in March - 93 years after her concert debut as a four-year-old.

The classical musician, born in California in 1925 to Polish immigrant parents, first performed on television aged five, made her European concert debut aged six and was taught by the great Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Slenczynska, who is the legendary composer’s last living pupil, even stepped in for him when he was unable to perform and still wears a Faberge egg necklace he gave her.

She first recorded with Decca Records in the 1950s and said returning to the label with a new album at her age was “unbelievable”.

She said: “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.”

Laura Monks and Tom Lewis, Co-Presidents of Decca Label Group, said: “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.”

: My Life in Music is out on Decca Classics on March 18.