Arts Alive Presents: A Recital by Pianist Ruth Slenczynska

Watch the recital presented on May 18, 2021 in the Sanctuary. Derry Church welcomed 35 people in person, and 100 live streamed the program from five countries and 30 states.

Legendary 96-year-old American-born pianist Ruth Slenczynska began her piano studies in Europe at age four and took lessons with Arthur Schanabel, Egon Petri, Alfred Cortot, Joseph Hofmann, and even performed for Sergei Rachmaninoff. She performed her debut in Berlin at age six, and made her debut in Paris with a full orchestra at age 11. She became an instant musical sensation in Europe, heralded as the first child prodigy since Mozart. However, the strain of practice and the touring schedule imposed upon her by her father caused great emotional stress, and by the age of 15 she withdrew from performing.

In 1954 the artist resumed her concert career and established herself as a pianist of impeccable technique and considerable musical insight. In 1964 she accepted a full time position at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville as Artist- in-Residence, a title she retained until 1987.

For this recital, Ms. Slenczynska played lesser known works of Frédéric Chopin, including the Fantasie in F Minor, Op. 49 and the Poloniase in F Minor, Op. 71 No. 3: the exact program she will present at the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C. later this year.