Very few western journalists were invited to the 15th Tchaikovsky Competition, a symptom of troubled times. Among those who got in was the Spectator’s Russian-speaking ballet critic, Ismene Brown.
Ismene, a terrific journalist, made a beeline for the brilliant Lucas Debargue and discovered that he spoke English – self-taught, of course, like playing the piano. He said, he learned it by reading Joyce’s Ulysses….
He told me that he was quite happy playing jazz eight hours a day to earn the money for his classical studies. His finger technique, honed in jazz, is so odd, so individual, that an eminent Russian piano teacher actually walked out of his Tchaikovsky concerto.
Read Ismene’s full report here.