Applications Now Accepted for Alexander Ruggieri Memorial Scholarship (Monrovia, CA)
Date: March 5, 2013
Location: California, USA
The San Gabriel Valley Choral Company is now accepting applications for the Alexander Ruggieri Memorial Scholarship. This award was established this season to honor the SGVCC’s previous artistic director, who contributed so much to Southern California’s musical culture before his passing last summer.
This $250 scholarship will be awarded to a student who: is a vocal musician; will be a college undergraduate student in the fall of 2013; is majoring or is planning to major in music; and lives in and/or attends school in the San Gabriel Valley. Please note that high school seniors are also eligible to apply if they intend to enter college in the fall of 2013. In addition, vocal musicians who are also composers are welcome to apply and have the choice of auditioning as a vocalist or submitting a manuscript.
Applications can be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or (626) 579-2433. Applications will be accepted through March 26 and finalists will be auditioned in April. The scholarship will be awarded at our final concert of this season to be held on June 15th, with the winner performing a selection of his or her choice.
Alexander Ruggieri (1952-2012) shared his many gifts with the San Gabriel Valley Choral Company as Artistic Director in 2011 and 2012. Though his time with the SGVCC was short, Alex’s impact on its program was profound. The SGVCC honors his memory and his love of music with the Alexander Ruggieri Memorial Scholarship. It is their intention to offer this scholarship annually, that his legacy live on through the continued music education of young people.
Alex Ruggieri was a man of talent, passion and presence. With a keen mind, a sincere and abiding love of great music, and a booming bass voice, he was an imposing figure that housed sharp wit and a kind heart. He was well-known in Southern California and well beyond, as his tenacity and deep knowledge of choral repertoire made him a sought-after conductor, coach and author. An award-winning composer, Alex was a man of many diverse passions, reading extensively and fostering interests in film, literature, science, history, sports and travel, as well as the performing arts.1
Alex and Jamie Martin, Alex’s significant other of eight years, hot air ballooning in Nov. 2011
Mr. Ruggieri passed away in July 2012, after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. During his life, he was an incredible conductor of both choral and instrumental ensembles, with degrees from the University of Southern California and Wayne State University (Detroit). He studied with such noted teachers as Charles Hirt, Valter Poole, Gustav Meier, Hans Beer and Helmuth Rilling.
Mr. Ruggieri was the Music Director of the famed Gilbert and Sullivan repertory company Opera A La Carte, as well as Music Director of the 32-year old University Campus Choir in Westwood and the San Gabriel Valley Choral Company. For five years he was the Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Bach Festival and for seventeen years he was Artistic Director of the Cambridge Singers in Pasadena. He frequently did Russian language coaching for, and occasionally sang with, the Los Angeles Master Chorale. He conducted numerous church choirs in the Los Angeles area, Wichita Falls, TX, and Detroit, MI, over his extensive career.
Alex with his mother, Ludmilla, and sister, Irene Khouri, at UCC’s performance of the Brahms Requiem
He came from a family of music lovers but they were not, themselves, active musicians. His Italian father, Vincenzo, taught him a love for opera and vocal music, while from his mother, Ludmilla, he inherited an appreciation of classical music and the choral music of the Russian Orthodox Church. Fate may have predicted his eventual path since both his god-parents were accomplished musicians who studied piano at the Conservatories of Music in Moscow and Kiev.
Mr. Ruggieri was involved with the music of the Eastern Orthodox Church for over 40 years. He began his career as director of the choir at Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Silverlake, where he sang with his sister, Irene, as a teenager.
At age 24, after founding the Orthodox Concert Choir of Los Angeles, he directed the ensemble in the west-coast premiere performance of Rachmaninoff's All Night Vigil. A subsequent recording of the work, on VOX-Turnabout records, has been the only performance of this work in the composer-sanctioned English edition in the catalogue.
Mr. Ruggieri was one of 12 choral music experts from around the world, working under the guidance of renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and musicologist Dr. Vladimir Morosan, to compile the most important liturgical music written over the last 1,000 years. The first volume of Monuments of Russian Church Music was published by Musica Russica in 1991. He subsequently co-edited the volume on the "All Night Vigil" by Rachmaninoff, and continued to edit and perform lesser-known music from Russia and Eastern Europe.
Mr. Ruggieri’s composition, Madrigals, was awarded first prize in the South Bay Master Chorale’s National Composition Competition in 1998. In 1995, he appeared along with his ensemble, The Cambridge Singers, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the nationally broadcast program Music and the Spoken Word.
Alex’s other interests included classic movies, old-time radio, dance band and swing music from the early 20th century, traveling, racquetball, NPR, museums, astronomy, theater and reading biographies and histories. He loved to discuss religion, politics and music history. He shared the last eight years of his life with Jamie Martin in Pasadena, CA, hosting annual Christmas caroling parties, visiting family, and hiking around Eureka and other parts of the northern California coastline. He is sorely missed by his family and all the people he influenced and loved.
1 Excerpt from Laurie’s List