Ronald Turini

Ronald Turini. Pianist, teacher, b Montreal 30 Sep 1934; premier prix (CMM) 1950. Born of a US-Italian father and a Canadian mother of Danish origin, he had piano lessons as a very young child from his mother and from Frank Hanson at the McGill Cons.

Turini, Ronald

Ronald Turini. Pianist, teacher, b Montreal 30 Sep 1934; premier prix (CMM) 1950. Born of a US-Italian father and a Canadian mother of Danish origin, he had piano lessons as a very young child from his mother and from Frank Hanson at the McGill Cons. He enrolled at the CMM at nine and studied there with Yvonne Hubert, Germaine Malépart, and Isidor Philipp until 1950. Prior to his graduation he made his debut at the MSO's Matinées symphoniques under Wilfrid Pelletier. He won the Prix Archambault in 1950. He entered Mannes College, New York, in 1953, and had lessons there with Isabelle Vengerova and later with Olga Stroumillo, who introduced him to Vladimir Horowitz. Horowitz taught the young pianist for five years and became the major influence on his playing.

Turini toured 1956-7, 1957-8, and 1958-9 for the JMC (YMC) and in 1958 won second prizes at the Concorso Pianistico Internazionale Ferruccio Busoni in Bolzano, Italy, and the International Competition for Musical performers in Geneva. The following year he gave a series of recitals in Switzerland. After winning second prize at the 1960 Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels he toured Canada under the auspices of the Canada Council. Harold C. Schonberg described his Carnegie Hall debut in the New York Times of 24 Jan 1961: 'He was resplendent. For in addition to technical expertness, there was a quality of aristocracy to the performance.' Turini returned there in 1964 and 1967.

Turini continued to receive highly favourable reviews and soon acquired an international reputation. He toured in the USSR and South America in 1963, 1965, and 1968. As a concerto soloist he performed in the USA with the National SO of Washington in 1968, with the San Antonio SO in 1970, and with other orchestras. He also performed with the Melbourne SO on its North American tour in 1971. In 1965 he played in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and in several recital halls in London including Wigmore Hall. In 1967 he performed at the Institut canadien in Quebec City and at the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67, was a soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Adrian Boult, and gave recitals in France and Ireland. The following year he played Rachhmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 with the TS. He performed with the Orford String Quartet on a 1969-70 JMC tour and in a 1976 chamber music recital at PDA.

Turini was a soloist with the MSO in Montreal in 1953, 1957, 1958, 1969, 1974, and 1979, and on tours of Europe in 1962 and 1976, and he appeared in recital at the PDA in 1966, 1972, and 1975. After a Turini recital Claude Gingras remarked that his performance of Schubert's Impromptu, Opus 142 no. 3 'displayed a deep lyricism, a sound of refined quality, and admirable control of keyboard and pedal, at the same time investing these pages with the improvisational qualities which suit them' (Montreal La Presse, 21 Apr 1972). In 1974 he gave a recital on BBC radio and appeared with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bournemouth SO.

In 1975 Turini became a founding member of Quartet Canada and in 1977 he began teaching at the University of Western Ontario. He has also taught at the Johannesen International School of the Arts in Victoria. He continued his solo career, however. In 1977 he played the Schumann Concerto with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra. He gave a St Lawrence Centre solo recital in Toronto in 1979 and appeared with Ida Haendel in a series of duo-sonata recitals for Montreal's Pro Musica Society in 1980. Eric McLean praised him for a 'splendid performance' of the Grieg Concerto at the PDA and noted that 'the piano part was played with admirable restraint, without subtracting anything from the technical display with which Grieg endowed the piece' (Montreal Star, 11 Apr 1979).