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March 12, 1939 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1939-03-12

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Rudolf Serkin Made His American Debut Under Toscanini'

s Bato

Pianist Tours
U.S. 6th Year
Played In Europe Several
Seasons In Company Of
Violinist Adolph Busch
Rudolf Serkin was born in Bo-
hemia, now Czech.o-Slovakia, of Rus-
sian parents. His father as a young
man abandoned a career as a singer
and became a merchant in order to
support his large family. Rudolf was
the fifth of a brood of musically tal-
ented children. At four, perched on
a high stool, he could already play
the family piano creditably and was
able to read music with facility.
Here was a child prodigy ripe for
the customary .ekplotations. But
although his parents' desperately
needed the money that might accrue
from exhibiting their gifted son in
public, they wisely listened to the
counsel of the celebrated Viennese
pianist, Alfred Gruenfeld, who point-
ed out the dangers of a premature
career. On his advice the boy was
taken to Vienna and placed under the
tutelage of Prof. Richard Robert.
Debut At 12
At 12 Rudolf Serkin made his debut
as guest artist with the Vienna Sym-
phony Orchestra. But though he
achieved a great success and was of-
fered a long tour by several enthusi-
astic managers, his teacher and par-
ents decided he was still too young
to undertake anything so strenuous.
So for several years more he con-
tinued his studies, rounding out his
technical knowledge of music by
studying composition under Arnold;
Schoenberg. When finally he did
inaugurate his career he quickly
established himself as an important
artist, concertizing in France, Eng-
land, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and
Austria. Making the acquaintance,
of Adolph Busch, the violinist, Serkin
undertook several tours in joint re-
cital with this artist.,
It was five years ago that he ap-
peared in the United States for the
first time, together with Busch, at
the Coolidge Festival in Washington.
The following winter he made his
American debut as soloist under the
baton of Arturo Toscanini, who con-
ducted the New York Philharmonic
Brilliant Impression
Serkin made a brilliant impression
receiving such an ovation from both
the critics and the exacting Carnegie
Hall audience as has seldom been
witnessed in drew York. The ensuing
seasons have seen him rapidly estab-
lish himself with concert audiences1
throughout the country.
One of Serkin's most vivid mem-
ories is of his first public -appear-
ance, at the age of 12, as guest soloista
with the Vienna Symphony Orches-


tra. What he recalls chiefly con-
cerns not music but dress. It seems
that in preparation for the debut
some well-meaning friends convinced
his mother that Rudolf would make
a more appealing figure on the stage
if he were dressed in a Fauntleroy
costume, with his hair arranged in
curls. So, loudly protesting, the boy
was dragged to a local hairdresser on
the day before his debut. There with
the aid of nkuch liquid vaseline the
desired tonsorial effect was achieved.
When the ordeal was finally over,
the youthful pianist was taken be-
fore a full length mirror to admire
the result. Instead of being pleased
he went into a violent tantrum, prob-
ably the only one he has ever in-
dulged in during his career. He bolt-
ed out of the hairdressing salon, ran
home and put his head under the
water faucet. By the time his
astounded companions caught up
with him, every vestige of curl had
disappeared, and he was struggling
with a towel to remove the stubborn
vaseline: His hair was still a bit
greasy and stringy when he came
on the stage the next day, but at
least there were no curls. The debut,
incidentally, was a tremendous suc-
cess, from the muscial point of view.
Tenor Peerce Got
Start As Violinist





(Continued from Page 1)

conductor's Carnegie Hall concert
in New York last year. Mr. Peerce
was chosen later in the season to
sing Verdi's "Requiem" and has been
a frequent guest artist at Toscanini's
Saturday night broadcast with the
NBC Symphony Orchestra.
To his credit, beside the Toscanini
concerts this season, Peerce has giv-
en recitals in Chicago, Cleveland,
Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the latter
at the Peabody Conservatory, which
only presents in its course "lieder"
singers of the finest calibre.









This brilliant young piano virtuoso, who first
appeared, in this country,, only five years ago,
has since been widely acclaimed by critics at
every performance. His inspired interpreta-
tions have been received everywhere with the
utmost of enthusiasm. Mr. Serkin will.appear

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