4 Musicians, Refugees from Ussr, Rumania, Give First U.S. Concert
Menu JTA Search

4 Musicians, Refugees from Ussr, Rumania, Give First U.S. Concert

Download PDF for this date

Four concert musicians, refugees from the Soviet Union and Rumania, gave their first performance on American soil Sunday at the 89th annual meeting of United Hias Service. They arrived in the United States with their families last Tuesday after a brief stay in Rome.

The four musicians were Mark and Alexander Piskunow, brothers from Odessa, a 16-year-old violinist and 20-year-old pianist, who had given concerts together and separately in major Russian cities; Vladimir Hirsu, 28, a former violinist in the Bucharest Chamber Orchestra and Radio-TV Orchestra; and Adrian Semo, 39, who was soloist and concert master with the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra and toured Europe as leader of the “Concertino” Chamber Orchestra. All emigrated to the U.S. with United Hias Service assistance.

An audience of more than 1000 persons including some 300 recently arrived immigrants and refugees acclaimed the artists, who were introduced by Gaynor I. Jacobson, executive vice-president of United Hias Service. The Piskunow brothers, who have been called prodigies by critics, were able to leave the Soviet Union with their parents by selling all the family possessions. Semo, a solo artist, was forbidden by the Rumanian authorities from performing as a soloist after he applied for emigration.

Former Congressman Emanuel Celler received the Rev. Zvi Hirsch Masliansky Award, and Jacob S. Potofsky, president emeritus of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, was the recipient of the Liberty Award.

A message of greetings from President Nixon stated, in part: “It is with great satisfaction that I take the occasion of your 89th annual meeting to reiterate my admiration for the work of United Hias Service…..I also assure you that our government agencies will cooperate with you toward the advancement of our common goals.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund