They send us their Jews from Odessamain
A tweet from Steven Isserlis reminded us of Isaac Stern’s famous aphorism when he became the first US violinist to visit the Soviet Union and David Oistrakh was allowed to play in the US.
Stern, who was born in Ukraine with family in Odessa, said that cultural diplomacy was a simple matter: ‘They send us their Jews from Odessa, and we send them our Jews from Odessa.’
Today, Steven tweets from Madrid:
Amazing! My Odessa-born father was a fine amateur violinist, with a certain way of holding the instrument. In 1987 in Odessa I saw a violinist holding it just the same way. And now in Madrid, I saw a violinist with a familiar stance. ‘Where are you from?’ I asked. ‘Near Odessa’.
— Steven Isserlis (@StevenIsserlis) November 12, 2020