On November 22, 1922, violinist Erika Morini gave a distinctive and masterful performance at the Court Theatre in Wheeling, West Virginia. It was the 46th concert of the University Club series. Morini played Mendelssohn's E Minor Concerto with "sublimely beautiful" interpretation. Her bowing technique recalled that of Heifetz. She also played works by Tartini, Beethoven, Mozart, Hulbay, Brahms, Schumann, and Sarasate. Robert Permar, reviewing the performance for the "Wheeling Register" declared Morini had complete technical mastery and musical genius. Her tone was lovely and her difficult passages seemed effortless. Permar stated Morini was endowed with intelligence and insight, allowing her artistic power full expression. He considered her performance perfect and said her artistry stood with the greatest violinists. Morini received enthusiastic applause. Her accompanist was the renowned Carl Lamson. Overall, it was a splendid program played with surpassing eloquence.
Erika Morini Siracusano was an Austrian violin virtuoso born in 1904 in Vienna. She studied with her father and at the Vienna Conservatory. She debuted in 1916 to great acclaim, then caused a sensation with her 1921 American debut in New York at age 17. She acquired the famed Guadagnini violin previously owned by Maud Powell and made early recordings. Morini performed internationally through the 1930s and relocated to the U.S. in 1938, changing her name to Erica. She taught at Mannes College while maintaining an active career, including a 1962 memorial concert for Fritz Kreisler. Morini played a Stradivarius violin purchased for her in 1924. Music critic Harold Schonberg once called her the greatest woman violinist ever, but Morini disliked gender distinctions in music. She preferred to be judged equally as a violinist, not a female musician. Morini gave her last concert in 1976, retiring afterward. She received many honors including a gold medal from New York City. Her valuable instruments were stolen before her death in 1995. She was considered one of the finest violinists of the 20th century.
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