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Young at Art

At age 85, violinist Robert Rudié is still fiddling around - and teaching and acting and ...

By Robert Faires, Fri., March 5, 2004

Young at Art

Age, schmage. You won't catch Robert Rudié setting down his bow and shuffling off to the rocking chair just because the calendar tells him he's turned 85. The accomplished violinist, actor, teacher, and Salon Concerts founder and music director, who hit that milestone in February, hasn't paid attention to old age so far, so why start now?

Consider this: Rudié made his permanent move to Austin at the tender age of 65, and in the time since then, he served as assistant concertmaster of the Austin Symphony Orchestra for 10 years; launched the city's first series of professional chamber music concerts in private homes; founded Salon Concerts Inc. and the CHAMPS program (Chamber Music in Public Schools) providing in-school coaching for student musicians playing chamber music; has acted in numerous local stage productions, from Shakespeare to Stoppard, including several runs of his acclaimed one-man shows Paganini! and Heroes & Lovers. Oh, and he got married. That was to local composer and pianist Kathryn Mishell, whom Rudié met during his time as a visiting professor of violin at the UT School of Music in the early Eighties and for whom he returned to make Austin his home.

Rudié had already crammed a lot into his life up to that point: graduating with honors from Juilliard, playing violin with the Riverdale String Quartet and the Casals Festivals in Europe and Puerto Rico; serving as concertmaster for the American Symphony Orchestra, the Aspen Festival, New York City Ballet, Dallas Symphony, and Honolulu Symphony, among others; teaching at the Riverdale School, Harlem School of the Arts, Westchester Conservatory, and Vassar; touring extensively with his own ensemble, the Rudié Sinfonietta, and his solo stage show playing legendary violin virtuoso Nicol Paganini, a portrayal he repeated in two episodes of Steve Allen's Emmy Award-winning PBS series, Meeting of Minds.

But if you can see why he continued to perform and teach and create after he hit town, then you'll understand why he's marking his most recent birthday with a party at which he performs! On Saturday, March 6, Salon Concerts will present Music! Theater! Cake! Robert Rudié's Birthday Extravaganza, during which the guest of honor will play the very first piece he played with orchestra at age 11, play a duet with his wife (something she composed), brush up his Shakespeare (via an excerpt from Henry V) and a little Shaffer, too (a monologue of Salieri's from Amadeus), and, of course, perform excerpts from Paganini! He'll do all the heavy lifting; you just get to listen and eat cake. end story


Music! Theater! Cake! Robert Rudié's Birthday Extravaganza will be presented Saturday, March 6, 3pm, at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover. For more information, call 342-2785 or visit www.salonconcerts.org.
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