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Pianist Envy?

August 23, 1987

Many native-born American concert pianists would give anything for the publicity that William J. Eaton gave pianist Vladimir Feltsman of Moscow ("After 8 Years, Emigration Is Music to His Ears," Aug. 6). Feltsman had not even arrived in the United States but he was already guaranteed a university teaching position, plenty of money and concert tours. American pianists should be so lucky!

Eaton's article states that Feltsman will be earning more money in a year of teaching than he did in 20 years as a performer in the U.S.S.R. How many native-born American pianists make that much money teaching? How many graduates of Juilliard and the best music schools in the country can afford to rent a home in New Paltz, N.Y., as well as a small apartment in Manhattan?

Many native-born American piano virtuosos live in poverty, especially if they are women. Most of them live in "cramped apartments," as Feltsman did in Moscow. Many of them are relegated to the lowliest of low positions in the music world--the "neighborhood piano teacher." Others must find subsistence jobs or change professions just to survive.

Pianists from the U.S.S.R. continue to be welcomed with open arms and given preferential treatment while our own are in dire need. Let Feltsman start at the bottom of the ladder and work his way up like the rest of us--or go back where he came from.

LONA G. VAN DEN HEUVEL

Northridge

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