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Since the collapse of the Soviet Union a decade ago, a stream of brilliant Russian musicians has been arriving in Melbourne.
Many of these exceptional players have had perhaps the most rigorous and inspiring musical training in the world. They come from the Ukraine, the country of Horowitz, Milstein, Gilels, Richter and Kogan and have been students in the great academies of Moscow and St Petersburg.
When nine of these classical musicians performed here in a concert organised by a fellow-Russian Klavdia Vainshtein about a year ago, the audience was overwhelmed. "They said they didn't know there were so many world-class musicians living in Melbourne," says Vainshtein, who is now helping to promote concerts for about 50 Russian classical, folk and jazz musicians.
Some of these Russian classical musicians are still struggling to gain recognition. Competition for major performances is fierce, but some would also say that these musicians, even the younger ones, have a romantic style of playing that belongs to another time and it just does not work for Western audiences.
Also, that they are inclined to resist new approaches to interpretation with a firmness that can be seen as arrogance.
But no one would deny that within their tradition, there are treasures - particularly their teaching techniques and interpretations of the great Russian and Romantic repertoire - and that if they are not exposed and appreciated, it will be a deep loss to our culture.
Despite his impeccable background, Boris Guslitser has had a most difficult time in Australia. He has survived by teaching at Geelong Grammar for the past 11 years, but has never had the chance to show his talent on the big stage.
From Azerbajan, which borders Iran, Guslitser won a major prize in the 1976 Liszt Bartok International Competition in Budapest, where he was described by French pianist and judge Vlado Perlemuter as one of the most outstanding pianists of his generation.
But due to the many restrictions on Jews in the former Soviet Union, Guslitser migrated a few years later to Israel and then to Melbourne in 1987. Though no major performing opportunity has arisen, he practises every day for up to six hours, because he has to.
Guslitser has never been given work at any of the main music schools. He says he understands why: "The musical world is very small and people have fought for their positions and they have to hang on to them."
As a teacher, he is impressed by the talent of Australian children considering how little practice they do. "In Russia, we practise from morning to the night if we want to do music professionally. My main concern here is that I never see people aged 15-25 at my concerts. The majority are in their 50s. There are so many students learning music, why they are not interested in going to live concerts is a mystery to me. In Russia, 90 per cent of the audiences were the students of the conservatorium."
He thinks children need to be pushed to appreciate classical music. "Beethoven didn't like to practise and his parents forced him, Paganini was tied to the chair in order to practise. Children never like music; it's very serious and difficult. But if you take them to a live performance once or twice a year, they get get a taste for it."