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Raoul Pugno : The French Pianist

Updated: Jul 22, 2019

As a child, I have vivid memories of growing up in Southern, Ohio.The area was the breadbasket of comedians, athletes, and let's just say, very colorful

characters- to say the least.

My childhood memories of Middletown, Ohio are full of rough and tumble steelworkers, in which my Father was one, and also many WW2 veterans that influenced my life in dramatic ways. This article about the talented French pianist visiting my neck of the woods in 1910 was no surprise to me at all. Years after reading this article,I was reading an article about the talented composer and pedagogue, Nadia Boulanger. She and Raoul Pugno were close friends and performed frequently together and even co-wrote an Opera together. In the article she mentioned how Pugno was not a bit impressed during his visit to the United States and planned never to return .The article above adds good reason why he never returned to the United States after his disastrous concert tour to the wilds of the Midwest United States.

Another side note to Raoul Pugno's continued bad fortune was his last performance tour to Russia with Nadia Boulanger. Sadly,he actually passed away during the trip and unfortunately there were insufficient funds to have his body returned, evidently the sponsors of their tour canceled their contract without payment when realizing that the tour had been cut short due to his death. (Eventually Nadia was able to secure enough funds to have his body returned to France, Unfortunately, musicians today are still struggling with many of the same difficulties that plagued past generations of aspiring artists. Some things just never change.)

(Pictures above-Me and my Mother, Lucile Brown in 1971. After my first performance with orchestra of "Rhapsody in Blue.)

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