Ruth Slenczynska, an American pianist, turned 97 on Saturday, January 15, 2022. Slenczynska started performing as a child prodigy in the 1920s, and at this milestone age, she has accomplished an astounding nine-decade career.
Slenczynska’s new solo piano album, My Life in Music, is scheduled to be published later this year. To honor the occasion, Slenczynska announced her resignation from the record label, Decca Classics.
Whoever heard of a pianist my age releasing another album?, Slenczynska said in response to a question about the record. ‘Music should make people happy. If mine continues to make people happy, it is fulfilling its purpose.’
Slenczynska was the daughter of Polish immigrants and was born in California in 1925. At just four years old, she had her concert debut. A year later, she gave a Beethoven performance on television (watch below).
Slenczynska had her European concert debut in Berlin when she was six years old, and 92 years later, this renowned musician continues to enchant audiences all over the world with her piano prowess.
Notably, Slenczynska is regarded as the final living student of pianist-composer Sergei Rachmaninov.
The talented young pianist may have even substituted for the legendary Russian artist once when he was forced to cancel due to injury.
Sources claim that the two frequently drank tea together, and Slenczynska still wears a Fabergé egg necklace that Rachmaninov is reputed to have given her.
Slenczynska was acquainted with American composer Samuel Barber, another well-known musician, and heard his famous Adagio for Strings before it was given a name.
Slenczynska has given performances for four US presidents, including a Mozart duet with Harry S. Truman and the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.
She most recently performed at the Chopin International Festival and Friends at the Polish Embassy in New York, despite her advanced age. She will perform a recital at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania to mark her 97th birthday.