Ruth Posselt

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Ruth Pierce Posselt (Medford, Massachusetts, 6 September 1911[1] – Gulfport, Florida, 19 February 2007[2]) was an American violinist and educator.[1]

Studies and early career[edit]

Posselt studied violin with Emanuel Ondříček, a former student of Eugène Ysaÿe, and made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1923. She won the Schubert Memorial Prize in 1929, toured France, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, the Soviet Union in the early 1930s and made her first tour of the United States in 1935.[3] She performed with the National Orchestral Association, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Columbia Symphony Orchestra and frequently with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She was invited to perform at The White House by President and Mrs. Roosevelt in 1937.[2] Posselt toured frequently as a recitalist, and formed a duo with pianist Luise Vosgerchian in 1958.[4]


Posselt performed several world premieres in her career, including Walter Piston's First Violin Concerto, a piece which was written for her, in 1940.[5][6] (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.[7] 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 (revised version of Concerto for Violin and Orchestra), in 1949, and played the New York premiere of Paul Hindemith's Violin Concerto in 1941.[8][9][10] In 1944, Posselt premiered Aaron Copland's Violin Sonata with the composer at the piano.

She married violinist, concertmaster, and conductor Richard Burgin on July 3, 1940. Their son, Richard W. Burgin, is the author of numerous short-story collections and novels. Their daughter, Diana Lewis Burgin, is an author, Professor of Russian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

From 1958, Posselt performed on a 1732 Giuseppe Guarneri "Del Gesu" known as the "Posselt, Phillip".


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.[2] She also taught privately at Wellesley College and New England Conservatory.


  1. ^ a b Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Seventh Edition, Revised by Nicolas Slonimsky, Schirmer Books, New York, 1984, page 1804
  2. ^ a b c Florida State Times, Alumni News, November 2007, page 11
  3. ^ New York Times article, "Items Afield and in Town," January 6, 1935
  4. ^ Boston Globe, obituary, "Musician Taught Others to Love the Art," by Richard Dyer, March 15, 2000, page F.5
  5. ^ Boston Globe Calendar, album review, "James Buswell, National Symphony of Ukraine,; Theodore Kuchar; Walter Piston: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2; Fantasia for Violin and Orchestra; Naxos," by Richard Dyer, December 24, 1998, page 8
  6. ^ New York Times review, "World Premiere for Violin Work," by Howard Taubman, March 19, 1940
  7. ^ New York Times review, "New Concerts Listed," October 16, 1943
  8. ^ New York Times article, "Burgin on Podium," by John Briggs, January 6, 1957
  9. ^ New York Times article, "Notes here and Afield," November 9, 1939, page 140
  10. ^ New York Times review, "Boston Symphony Plays New Work," by Howard Taubman, January 10, 1941