Learning from the past, living in the moment, and leaving footprints for the future. Stories of lov

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Talented Tuesday - A Child Prodigy

Photo provided by
Diana Burgin
 Ruth Pierce Posselt was born on September 5, 1911 to a musical family.  Her mother, Ida Pierce was an accomplished pianist and her German born father, Emil Posselt, was a conductor of the Boston Symphony.  Three of her sisters, Gladys, Mollie and Marjorie used to sing under the name of Posselt Trio.  They also played the piano, cello and violin respectively.  Ruth was the youngest sister playing the violin at age three with a violin that was specially made for her. 

Ruth became an outstanding American violinist whose career spanned over half a century.   She was invited to perform at The White House by President and Mrs. Roosevelt in 1937.  Posselt toured frequently as a recitalist, and formed a duo with pianist Luise Vosgerchian in 1958. A favorite of Koussevitzky and Munch, she appeared more than sixty times with the Boston Symphony, playing both the classics and 20th century composers like Bloch, Khachaturian, Hindemith, Copland, Barber, and Vernon Duke (Dukelsky). Married to Richard Burgin, long-time concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, she appeared often under his baton.  Posselt toured frequently as a recitalist, and formed a duo with pianist Luise Vosgerchian in 1958. 

My 1st cousin
2x removed
Photo provided by
Diana Burgin

 Ruth Posselt performed several world premieres in her career, including Walter Piston's First Violin Concerto, a piece which was written for her, in 1940. (Violin Concerto No. 1) She also premiered a violin concerto by Vladimir Dukelsky, a.k.a. Vernon Duke, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and conductor Serge Koussevitsky in March 1943. Also with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Posselt premiered violin concertos by composers Edward Burlingame Hill (Concerto for Violin, Opus 38), in 1939, and Samuel Barber (Concerto for Violin and Orchestra), in 1942, and played the New York premiere of Paul Hindemith's Violin Concerto in 1941. In 1944, Posselt premiered Aaron Copland's Violin Sonata with the composer at the piano.

Later in life, she and her husband moved to the state of Florida.  Posselt taught and performed at Florida State University from 1963 to 1978, coming to the school as a visiting artist, continuing her stay as an artist in residence and member of the Florestan String Quartet, with her husband. Posselt eventually became a professor at the University. She also taught privately at Wellesley College and New England Conservatory.

Ruth and her husband, Emil during rehearsal
Photo provided by
Diana Burgin

Ruth was ahead of her time, becoming a virtuoso in a predominately male world.  She died February 19, 2007. 

Although I don't have any of Ruth's recordings as of this date, I hope to before long.  Recently I met Ruth's daughter through ancestry.com.  We have been enjoying and sharing family stories and information. She lives not too far from me.  We plan to meet this September.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing woman. Do you have any recordings of her playing?


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