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Stanley Ritchie (Violin, Conductor)

Born: April 21, 1935 - Yenda, New South Wales (about 350 miles west of Sydney), Australia

The Australian violinist, author, conductor, and teacher, Stanley Ritchie, began his violin studies at age 7. He enrolled at the Sydney Conservatory of Music as a young man and graduated in 1956, when he was 21 years old. In 1958, he went to Paris where he studied with Jean Fournier (pupil of George Enescu and brother of cellist Pierre Fournier.) Ritchie finally came to the USA in 1959, when he was 24.years old. In New York, he studied with Joseph Fuchs, Oscar Shumsky, and Samuel Kissel.

From 1963 to 1965, Stanley Ritchie was concertmaster of the New York City Opera. He then moved to the Metropolitan Opera where he served as Associate Concertmaster from 1965 to 1970. Raymond Gniewek was the concertmaster at the time. From 1970 to 1973, Ritchie was a member of the New York Chamber Soloists. He was also concertmaster of the Musica Aeterna Orchestra at the Metropolitan Museum from 1970 to 1973. He was appointed Assistant Concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and played in that orchestra from 1973 to 1975. In 1975, he joined the Philadelphia String Quartet (in residence in the University of Washington in Seattle) as first violinist. In 1982 he accepted his current appointment as professor of violin at Indiana University School of Music, but has continued to concertize and teach far and wide.

Stanley Ritchie is known for a successful career encompassing a wide range of musical activity. He is, however, probably best known for his later involvement in Baroque music, being a specialist in period instrument performance, and a pioneer in the Early Music field in America. His interest in Baroque and Classsical violin dates from 1970 when he embarked on a collaboration with harpsichordist Albert Fuller which led to the founding in 1973 of the Aston Magna summer workshop and festival. In 1974 he joined harpsichordist Elisabeth Wright in forming Duo Geminiani - their 1983 recording of the J.S. Bach’s Sonatas for Violin and Obbligato Harpsichord (BWV 1014-1019) earned immediate critical acclaim. He has performed with many prominent musicians in the Early Music field, including Christopher Hogwood, John Eliot Gardiner, Frans Brüggen, Roger Norrington, Joshua Rifkin, Malcolm Bilson and Anner Bylsma, and was for twenty years a member of The Mozartean Players with fortepianist Steven Lubin and cellist Myron Lutzke. He has appeared as soloist or conductor with a number of major Early Music orchestras, among them the Academy of Ancient Music, Tafelmusik, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and the Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra Orchestra. In fact, Ritchie may well have been one of the first artists to teach (historically-informed) early music practice in America, if not the first. Sergiu Luca also pioneered early music playing on Baroque instruments in the mid-1970’s and was the first to record the Bach unaccompanied violin works ((BWV 1001-1006)) on a period instrument; however, he did not become as well-known in the field as later violinists did.

Recognized as a leading exponent of Baroque and Classical violin playing, Stanley Ritchie performs, teaches and lectures worldwide, most recently in Australia, Germany, Italy, Colombia, China and Greece. Ritchie has served on the jury at the Leipzig International Bach Competition and is a frequent guest at Kloster Michaelstein, in Blankenburg, Germany, where he gives masterclasses in Baroque and Classical technique and interpretation. He has been a faculty member of the Accademia di Musica Antica in Bruneck (Südtirol) since 2000, and served for ten years as Artistic Director of the Bloomington Early Music Festival. His ex-students are prominent members of the Early Music profession, some of them also occupying important teaching positions in the USA. In June 2009 he received Early Music America’s highest award, the Howard Mayer Brown Award for Lifetime Achievement in Early Music.

Stanley Ritchie has recorded for various labels, including EMI, Decca, Dorian, Nonesuch, and Harmonia Mundi. His recordings include Antonio Vivaldi's Op.11 Violin Concertos with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music (Oiseau Lyre); the Mozart piano quartets and the complete piano trios of Mozart and Schubert as a member of The Mozartean Players, and a CD of 17th Century music for three violins and continuo entitled “Three Parts upon a Ground”, with John Holloway, Andrew Manze, Nigel North and John Toll, all for Harmonia Mundi USA; and selected Concerti and Serenate of Francesco Antonio Bonporti, with Bloomington Baroque (Dorian Discovery). His book entitled Before the Chinrest - a Violinist’s Guide to the Mysteries of Pre-Chinrest Technique and Style, published by Indiana University Press, was released in January 2012, a recording of J.S. Bach’s Solo Sonatas and Partitas (BWV 1001-1006) was released in January 2014, and a reissue on CD of the Bach Sonatas for violin and obbligato harpsichord with Elisabeth Wright, was released in February 2014.

Stanley Ritchie plays a Jacob Stainer violin of 1679, which he has owned since 1976.

Source: Pron to Violins Blog (March 31, 2013); Akademie für Alte Musik Bruneck Website (2013); the Artist (March 2014)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (September 2013)

Stanley Ritchie: Short Biography | Indiana University Baroque Orchestra | Recordings of Vocal Works | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Joshua Rifkin


BWV 12, BWV 172, BWV 182

Paul Hillier

Violin, Director of Orchestra

BWV 6, BWV 65, BWV 161, BWV 245

Links to other Sites

Stanley Ritchie (Pron to Violins)
Stanley Ritchie (Akademie für Alte Musik Bruneck) Interview with Baroque Violinist, Stanley Ritchie

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