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Olga Rudge
Olga Rudge
n.d.
Olga Rudge Papers

 

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A talented and successful musician and music historian, Olga Rudge was born in Ohio but from the age of ten was raised in Europe, where she studied violin in London and Paris. Rudge was already well established on the European concert scene as an excellent violinist when she met Ezra Pound in 1923 at the Paris salon of Natalie Clifford Barney; this meeting began a nearly fifty-year-long creative and romantic partnership between the two. “For the first time in his life,” one Pound biographer wrote, “Ezra had come into the hands of somebody more obstinate and resourceful than himself. One of Olga’s relatives has observed: ‘I shouldn’t think he stood a chance.’”1

After giving birth to Pound’s daughter in 1925, Rudge continued to tour, performing throughout Europe. In 1927, she performed for Benito Mussolini, and one contemporary report states, “Mussolini complemented [sic] Miss Rudge on her technique and musical feeling, saying that it was rare to see such depth and precision of tone, ‘especially in a woman.’”2

In the 1930s, Rudge and Pound worked together to organize and support a concert series, the Concerti Tagulliani, in Siena, Italy. The series allowed Rudge and Pound to promote the music of the then-neglected composer Antonio Vivaldi. Up to that point, most of Vivaldi’s work had received little attention from scholars and musicians, and Rudge and Pound began an intensive study of the composer, examining and transcribing archival materials and compositions. Rudge also co-founded the Centro di Studi Vivaldiani at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena.

Rudge remained loyal to Pound throughout his controversial trial for treason and his subsequent incarceration in a mental institution; after his death, she devoted herself to promoting the poet’s legacy by assisting scholars, organizing exhibitions, and attempting to establish memorials to him and his work.

1 Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character: The Life of Ezra Pound, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1988, p. 434.
2 Youngstown Violinist Plays Before Premier Mussolini,” Youngstown Telegram, undated clipping. Olga Rudge Papers.

 

 

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