Performance Today offers appreciations of two classical artists who recently passed away: cellist Elsa Hilger and pianist Ruth Laredo. Hilger was the first woman to be hired as a full-time member of a major symphony orchestra. During her 35-year career in Philadelphia, she missed only one concert – on the day she gave birth to her son. Elsa Hilger died May 17 at the age of 101.
Dubbed "America's First Lady of the Piano," Ruth Laredo rose to fame in the 1970s, popularizing the works of Alexander Scriabin and recording all of Rachmaninoff's piano music. Laredo died on May 25 of cancer at the age of 67.