Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:
Maria Yudina (1899-1970), Russian pianist, was openly Orthodox under Communism; a “holy fool” who gave her money to the poor and once responded, legend has it, to a middle-of-the-night summons by Stalin to play Mozart’s Concerto No. 23.
Born to Jewish family in the town of Nevel, in the western part of Russia, her first diary entry, at the age of seventeen reads, “Arrived in Petrograd to start living my life for ART.”
She converted to the Russian-Orthodox church in 1919 and was dismissed from the Petrograd Conservatory in 1930 for replying “Yes” when asked whether she believed in God. She wore a large cross while performing in public, a demonstration of faith that, in Communist Russia, could easily have earned her a death sentence.
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.