MOSCOW (AP) _ Soviet pianist Vladimir Feltsman said Thursday he was granted an exit visa after an eight-year wait, and expressed both joy and pain over his pending departure.
″It took us so many years,″ the 35-year-old Jewish composer and concert pianist said in a telephone interview. ″But finally, the game is over.″
Feltsman, whose public performances were abruptly halted when he applied to leave in 1979, said he received exit visas for himself, his wife Anna, 35, and their 4-year-old son Daniel to leave the Soviet Union before Aug. 9.
″I want to live in New York, and I am looking forward to being able to play in other places,″ he said.
″At the same time,″ Feltsman added, ″I am leaving my country, which I love. I hope I will have the opportunity to return to see my parents and play before a Moscow audience.″
On April 21, Feltsman was permitted to give his first public concert in Moscow since applying to emigrate.
Since 1979, he had been permitted to play only in smaller Soviet cities and at Spaso House, the U.S. Ambassador’s official residence in Moscow.
Feltsman was featured in a two-hour CBS News special on the Soviet Union, ″Seven Days in May,″ as one of several prominent ″refuseniks,″ or Soviet Jews who have been denied permission to emigrate.