Piano Master Class with Ruth Slenczynska
April 22, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Master class coaching by guest artists has been part of Hoff-Barthelson’s curriculum since the School’s founding in 1944. This distinguished tradition continues this season with a roster of world-class musicians and educators.
Master classes are an enlightening experience for students and audiences alike. After months of careful preparation, students perform for, and then receive feedback and guidance from a master teacher who challenges the student to think in new and critical ways about the piece they’ve prepared. The results are inspiring and serve as a catalyst for students to reach new heights in their own musical explorations. Yet the learning isn’t limited just to the students who perform. In point of fact, any student—regardless of their level of development or whether or not they even play the same instrument—can learn a great deal.
Master Classes are open to the public to observe free of charge, but reservations are required.
Ruth Slenczynska, piano
Ruth Slenczynska was born in 1925, and has the distinction of having studied piano with Sergei Rachmaninoff. Her father, Josef Slenczynski, a violinist, imposed a rigorous and disciplinary practice routine on her beginning at age three. She gave her first recital at age four and took lessons with legends Schnabel, Petri, Cortot, and Hofmann. She debuted in Berlin at age six, and made her Paris debut with a full orchestra at age seven. She was a European musical sensation, heralded as the first child prodigy since Mozart. At the age of fifteen she withdrew from performance, but resumed her concert career in 1954 when she established herself as a pianist of impeccable technique and considerable musical insight. She was artist-in-residence at Southern Illinois University from 1964-1987. Her memoir, Forbidden Childhood, deals with life as a child prodigy; she also published a book on piano technique, Music at Your Fingertips: Aspects of Pianoforte Technique. Ms. Slenczynska’s highly-acclaimed series of six CD recordings is entitled The Art of Ruth Slenczynska. The fourth CD in the series was recorded one week after her 80th birthday. Now in her 97th year she no longer presents public piano concerts, but maintains an active musical life. She teaches private students in New York City, gives master classes, and acts as a juror for various piano competitions.
Photo by Dorothy Hong for the Wall Street Journal