Ruth Ascher Piano Masterclass Sunday 24 March 2024 2:00-5:30pm St Joseph's College Reading

Anthony Williams M.Mus GRSM(Hons) DipRAM ARAM, Head of Keyboard and Instrumental Music, Radley College will give the piano masterclass to advanced piano students before an invited audience. After the masterclass Anthony Williams will give a short recital.


Young Ruth

A young Ruth Ascher

Ruth Ascher

about Ruth

Ruth Ascher lived in troubling and anxious times. Born in the early nineteen twenties, she was a German Jew, living in Mannheim, Germany, and witnessed the escalating repression of the Jewish population by the Chancellor Adolf Hitler. She was also a brilliant pianist.   Some time before 1933, she visited her uncle in Belgium, to meet another German Jew in self-exile, Albert Einstein who, amongst other things, was an accomplished violinist. A tea party was organised and she played the Mozart Piano Concerto in C Minor. Einstein was delighted. Ruth’s aunt asked him if he could help her study in England. That request probably saved her life.  With Einstein’s help, Ruth moved to England with her mother and elder sister. At the age of 19, she had completed only a year at Heidelberg University. 

She gained diplomas in teaching and performance at the Royal College of Music, and was the first refugee student to win the Guildhall School of Music gold medal. She gained an external music degree at Trinity College, Dublin, and was a pupil of the leading British soloist, Solomon. Soon after the War she played with Gerald Finzi at Newbury, and her career has included two appearances at the Wigmore Hall, as well as numerous other recitals.  However, she decided against a concert career because of her Orthodox background and the need to care for her mother. She became a teacher at Queen Anne’s College, Reading, eventually becoming Head of Music.  She also joined the University of the Third Age, and held regular music appreciation classes. 

She died in October 2010 at the age of 96, leaving a legacy to the U3A. We have used this legacy to promote the Ruth Ascher Piano Masterclass series, which gives young aspiring pianists a rare opportunity to participate in a masterclass as well as performing to a live audience.

Anthony Williams MMus GRSM(Hons) LRAM ARAM

Anthony Williams


Anthony Williams MMus GRSM(Hons) LRAM ARAM  

Concert pianist, writer, lecturer, examiner and adjudicator, Anthony Williams studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London and then at Reading University.

Following international competition success, he embarked on a career as a concert pianist and alongside this quickly established an international reputation as a piano teacher and a passionate educator of pianistic musicianship at all ages and levels, giving piano masterclasses, public lecture-recitals and seminars on performance and the art of teaching. Anthony has given talks on piano performance for Radio 3 and is author and editor of various publications including The Best of Grade and Fingerprints (Faber), Teaching Notes (ABRSM) and the highly acclaimed Piano Teacher’s Survival Guide (Faber). 

He is Chairman of EPTA Europe, editor of Piano Journal Magazine, an ABRSM examiner (jazz and classical), a member of the ABRSM examiner training and review team and an educational consultant.