US violinist Ruggiero Ricci dies at 94

Ruggiero Ricci Ricci continued teaching into old age

Virtuoso violinist Ruggiero Ricci has died of heart failure at the age of 94, according to magazine The Strad.

The musician was best known for his association with Paganini and was sometimes referred to as the Paganini of the 20th Century.

Born in San Francisco in 1918, he began learning the violin when he was six and was taught by Yehudi Menuhin's teacher, Louis Persinger.

His talent was soon recognised when he won a local violin competition.

In a newspaper report on the contest, Ricci was described as "a youthful genius".

He made his full recital debut in his home city in 1928 and went to study in Berlin before returning home to work with Persinger again.

He embarked upon his first European tour in 1932, making his debut in London with Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto.

In the same year he played for the scientist Albert Einstein at the California Institute of Technology.

During World War II he joined the Army Air Force, becoming an "entertainment specialist" who played for the troops.

He went on to perform more than 5,000 concerts in 65 countries.

Ricci taught at Indiana University, the Juilliard School, the University of Michigan and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.

His many recordings include works by Paganini, Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.

On hearing of his death, author Norman Lebrecht described Ricci as "a man of immense natural warmth".

"He carried on playing and teaching until he could barely hold a bow," he continued on his blog.

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