Ruth Laredo


Born: November 20, 1937 Died: May 26, 2005
American pianist Ruth Laredo achieved considerable prominence as a concert pianist in 1970s and 1980s and has remained active in her career into the new century. Her recordings of Rachmaninov and Scriabin's piano works were considered milestones by some and in the case of the latter composer, may well have been instrumental in the revival of his piano music in the last decades of the twentieth century.

Ruth Laredo (maiden name Meckler) showed unusual musical talent as a child. She later enrolled at the Curtis Institute, where she studied under Rudolf Serkin. Her first performance with an orchestra provided her with instant credentials in the classical world: she appeared in 1962 at Carnegie Hall with Leopold Stokowski conducting the American Symphony Orchestra. She would later take part in another high-profile debut when she appeared with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra led by Pierre Boulez. She has had many stunning concert successes in the U.S. and Europe throughout her career, but some will contend her greatest contributions have come in the recording studio. With the release in 1971 of LP recordings of etudes, preludes, and the complete sonatas of Alexander Scriabin, Laredo drew much critical acclaim, not only for her enlightening performances, but for her bold choice to turn her attention to this then rather-neglected corner of the repertory. An even more important recording project followed: in 1975, CBS Masterworks released the first in a series of seven LPs by Laredo, devoted to the complete solo piano music of Sergey Rachmaninov. By 1981, the series was complete, giving Laredo the distinction of being the first pianist to have conquered this Mount Everest. Moreover, critical response was generally very favorable and the effort helped Laredo achieve nearly front-rank standing among the world's piano virtuosos. While she continues to record, mostly with smaller labels and focusing on the music of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and many others, Laredo has expanded her career to include other interests. She wrote a column for Piano Today magazine, occasionally appeared as a critic on New York's WQXR radio's First Hearing, and served as a correspondent on NPR's Morning Edition. In July 1996, Laredo turned her attention to jazz, giving a concert with jazz pianists Marian McPartland and Dick Hyman at New York's 92nd St. Y. She also appeared in Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks (2000), where she is shown giving a recital playing Rachmaninov. Early in her career, Laredo married the well-known violinist Jaime Laredo. Their union produced a daughter, Jennifer. Ruth Laredo has long been a resident of New York City.