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Soviet Orchestra Picketed by Jewish Organization

October 20, 1986

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Pickets protesting Soviet emigration policy demonstrated peacefully outside a concert hall Sunday night before a performance by the State Symphony of the USSR.

About 20 members of the Soviet Jewry Council of Philadelphia handed out leaflets that read: ″As you are enjoying the music, please consider that there are 400,000 Jews in the Soviet Union who have been waiting up to 17 years for their freedom.″

Part of the leaflet was a postcard addressed to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev asking for the release of Jewish families who have not been able to leave the Soviet Union.

There were no incidents and the pickets had left by the time the orchestra’s performance ended.

The state symphony’s visit is the first visit to the United States by a Soviet symphony orchestra since cultural exchanges were re-esablished in November of 1985 at the Geneva Summit by President Reagan and Gorbachev.

The orchestra’s program included the U.S. premiere of a symphony written over 100 years ago by Russian composer Mikhail Ivanoviuch Glinka.

Glinka’s unfinished ″Symphony No. 1 in D Minor on Two Russian Scenes″ was completed by one of his students after the composer’s death in 1857. Glinka is considered the first important Russian composer and was the founder of a distinctly Russian style of music, which relied on Russian folk music for inspiration.

Sunday evening’s program also includes Brahms’ ″Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra″ and Rachmaninoff’s ″Symphony No. 2,″ which was performed for the first time in 1909 by the Philadelphia Orchestra with the composer on the podium, according to Philadelphia Orchestra spokeswoman Renee Tursi.

The symphony was to perform only one night in Philadelphia, following appearances in Canada; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Washington, D.C. The orchestra members left immediately for New York, where they are to perform at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on Monday night.

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