Russian pianist Lazar Berman

B. Leni, via e-mail, asks, 'Whatever happened to...?'

Banned book froze the meteoric rise of piano virtuoso Lazar Berman.

Mr. Berman's astonishing technique and interpretations of Franz Liszt were long hidden in the Soviet bloc. When impresario Jacques Leiser heard one of Berman's rare recordings, he invited him to the United States in 1976.

Berman was a hit. He played in New York's Carnegie Hall and with Leonard Bernstein and Herbert von Karajan.

"I have had all the glory an artist can dream of," Berman told the Monitor in a telephone interview from his home in Florence, Italy.

In 1980, Berman carelessly brought home "The Russians," by Hedrick Smith, a book banned in the USSR. He was barred from further travel West.

Today, Berman is free again. He has spent the last decade touring Europe and teaching. He hopes to open his own school someday and play concerts with his son Pavel, an accomplished violinist.

If you wonder 'Whatever happened to...' write us at: One Norway Street,

Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail: whatever@csmonitor.com

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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