Ruggiero Ricci (born July 24, 1918) is an Italian-American violin virtuoso.
Ricci has become famous in particular for his performances and recordings of Paganini.
He was born in San Bruno , California , the son of Italian immigrants.
It was his father who first taught him to play the violin. At age seven, Ricci studied with Louis Persinger and Elizabeth Lackey. Persinger would become his piano accompanist for many recitals and recordings.
Ricci gave his first public performance in 1928 at the age of 10 in San Francisco where he played works by Henryk Wieniawski and Henri Vieuxtemps. He gained the reputation for being a child prodigy. At age 11 he gave his first orchestral performance, playing the Mendelssohn concerto, and soon after he played his highly successful debut at Carnegie Hall.
In the 1930s Ricci studied in Berlin with Georg Kulenkampff, where he learned a "German style" of playing in the tradition of Adolf Busch. He also studied with Michel Piastro and Paul Stassevich.
After serving in the US army from 1942 till 1945 where he served as an "Entertainment Specialist," Ricci made his first recording of the 24 Capriccios by Paganini in 1947 on the Shellac recording label. After his time in the military he uncovered many pieces by 19th century composers that he would perform solo, without any accompaniment. He has performed the world premieres of pieces my contemporary composers.
Aside from an performing over 6000 concerts in 65 countries during his 70 year solo career, Ricci has also made over 500 recordings on every major label He has taught violin at Indiana University , the Juilliard School and the University of Michigan . Ricci has held master classes in the United States and Europe. He also wrote a book Left Hand Technique published by G Schirmer.
He currently teaches at the Mozarteum Akademie in Salsburg , Austria .
Ricci plays on a Guarnerious Del Gesu violin. He played his fourth recording of the Paganini Caprices on Paganini's own Guarneri on loan to him by the City of Genoa, Italy.