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Two Americans Among Finalists in Violin Competition

June 25, 1986

MOSCOW (AP) _ Two Americans, an Australian and a Frenchman were the only Westerners chosen for the final round of the violin contest at the prestigious Tchaikovsky competition on Tuesday. All five Soviet entrants were among the final 12.

David Kim, 23, and Frank Almond, 22, were the two Americans who made the coveted third round, where contestants perform one concerto by Tchaikovsky and one by another composer.

Both smiled broadly as Soviet violinist Viktor Tretyakov, chairman of the jury for violin, announced the results. Kim is from Carbondale, Ill., and Almond is from San Diego, Calif., but both now live in New York City.

″Now, we’re going to go and drink about 70 beers,″ joked Kim, as he threw a consoling arm around Peter Vinograd from New York City who did not make it into the third round.

Kim said he had learned a lot about Soviet competitors and the kind of standards expected at the Tchaikovsky competition by competing in an international contest in Italy last September.

″I thought, ‘I’m a pretty good American violinist, I stand a chance’, ″ he said. ″But the Soviets come so well prepared to these things. I was out, boom.″

As a small consolation, Vinograd received cheers from the Soviet audience in the Rachmaninov Hall of the Moscow Conservatory as he was awarded a second- round diploma from Tretyakov.

Violinist Michaela Paetsch of Colorado Springs, Colo., who played last in the second round on Tuesday afternoon, cried on Vinograd’s shoulder as she heard that she had not been selected for the third round, but had won a special prize for the best performance of a compulsory work by Soviet composer Yuri Falik.

She will receive her prize at the closing ceremony for the competition July 4.

Ik Hwan-bae, a native of South Korea and now a resident of New York City, was the other American of the five who played in the second round not selected for the final.

Earlier Tuesday, 10 Americans were among the 26 cellists to make it to the second round of the cello competition and 42 of 80 singers heard they had made it past the first round in their field. Soprano Barbara Kilduff, a native of Huntington, N.Y., was the only American who made it to the second round in singing.

The American cellists who advanced to the second round were David Starkweather, a San Franciso native; Bion Yu-ting Tsang, a Michigan native; Sara Sant’ambrogio, a Boston native; Judy Stone, an Illinois native; Diane Chaplin, a Los Angeles native; Lawrence Figg, hometown unknown; John Sharp, a native of Waco., Texas, and a soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Johann Paetsch, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Michelle Djokic, a native of Trenton, N.J., who plays in the Rhode Island Philharmonic; Rafael Figueroa, a native of Puerto Rico who plays in the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.

The piano competition, considered the most prestigious of the Tchaikovsky contest’s four sections, winds up its second round Thursday.

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