Performing Life

SKU: 978-1-61468-339-1
Qty in Stock: 4

This first-ever, richly illustrated biography cum memoir of the internationally renowned violinist Ruth Posselt (1911–2007) traces her career from her early debuts as a child prodigy in her native Boston and in New York’s Carnegie Hall to her last solo appearances in the late seventies. The multivoiced narrative details Posselt’s struggles with the widespread gender bias against female violinists as well as the lesser-known prejudice of American audiences and managers against American-born virtuosos. But Performing Life focuses on Posselt’s achievements, especially her pioneering work in premiering and popularizing important works for the violin by twentieth-century composers such as E. B. Hill, Walter Piston, Samuel Barber, Paul Hindemith, Bohuslav Martinu, Aaron Copland, Vladimir Dukelsky (Vernon Duke), and others. Special attention is also given to Posselt’s decades-long record of performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Serge Koussevitzky and Charles Munch, as well as her musical partnership and marriage with Richard Burgin, concertmaster and associate conductor of the BSO for almost half a century. Drawing from written and oral narratives, published and unpublished sources, personal reminiscences, conversations, and anecdotes, Diana Lewis Burgin, Posselt’s daughter, tells this exhilarating story of a trail-blazing female musician, through which an imagined mother–daughter dialogue murmurs continuously in the background.

“Miss Posselt played with fiery virtuosity, with bravura and exceptional accuracy, a vibrant and sensuous tone and a style that went well with the nature of the music.”
—Olin Downes, The New York Times

Diana Lewis Burgin, Slavic philologist, biographer, translator, poet, dog-lover, and violinist manquée has been Professor of Russian at the University of Massachusetts-Boston for 40 years. In addition to her widely acclaimed translation (with Katherine T. O’Connor) of The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (1996), Professor Burgin has authored: Richard Burgin. A Life in Verse (1989); Sophia Parnok. The Life and Work of Russia’s Sappho (1994); two books on the Russian poet, Marina Tsvetaeva in Russian translation; translations and readings of Tsvetaeva’s long poems (available on; and numerous scholarly articles and essays in journals and anthologies on topics ranging from Russian literature and culture to women’s and gender studies.

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews for this product. However, you can be the first person to add a review for this product.

Add Review


(Your browser will be redirected back to this page)

Related Products


Subtotal: $0.00