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August 25, 1989 - Image 71

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-08-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

__:■■••■

ENTERTAINMENT

I

GOING PLACES I

WEEK OF
AUG. 25 31

-

SPECIAL EVENTS

Marsha Sundquist

The master is still performing.

H

e has been called
a living legend,
the gray lion of
Detroit pianists,
one of the last liv-
ing exponents of a fast-fading
brand of pianists, an artist of
the world. But if 87 years ago,
3-year-Old Mischa Kottler had
not had a test of wills with his
violin teacher in Kiev, he may
have been one of the vvorld's
greatest violin players
instead.
"Both of my parents loved
the "violin,"he said. "You
know the saying a yidele mit
a fidele? So they wanted me to
play the violin. And I wanted
to. I loved the violin even at
that age.
"Now there is a certain way
you must hold the violin. But
it was not easy for me, and I
held it a different way, which
was easier. Well, the teacher
put my arm like this and I put
my arm like this, and we
started to fight. He beat me
in the face, and at that mo-
ment my mother walked in
and when she saw that he
was beating me and I was cry-
ing, she told him to go.
"And then I switched to the
piano, because my mother's

GRAND
P IANIST

Ninety-year-old
Mischa Kottler
is still in tune
with music.

KAREN A. KATZ

Special to The Jewish News

brother, Boris Nakutin, was
an excellent pianist, a pro-
essor at St. Petersburg Con-
servtory and one of the great
conductors. And my other un-
cle was a tenor of the opera in
Kiev."
- Mischa began lessons with
his uncle, then went on to
another piano teacher at age
4. At 7, he entered the conser-
vatory after school and by 9,
he had already made a
30-concert tour of the
Ukraine along with a singer.
"I'll never forget that in one
village the piano was too low
and the singer told the accom-
panist to transpose the song
a half a tone higher, and the
accompanist refused because

it was in an awful key," he
said. "The song was the 'Two
Grenadiers. So my uncle said,
`Go, Mischa, take it, play it.'
And at that time if they told
me to jump in the water — I
wasn't afraid of anything — so
I transposed it in F sharp
minor. Nowadays, I'd think
twice before I would do that,
but then ..
Kottler's father died when
he was almost 7. Although
the family was very well to do,
his father's siblings, who were
his business partners, refused
to give any money to Kottler's
mother. She wrote to relatives
in Chicago who sent tickets
for her and three of her five
children to come to the

United States. Young Mischa
and a brother remained in
Russia with their grand-
mother. His mother remar-
ried when he was 10 and sent
for them.
"We went with my grand-
mother to Germany to get a
ship. But when the educators
in the Russian high schools
heard we were going to
America, they came to my
grandmother on their knees
and begged that I shouldn't
go to America, that I wouldn't
get any education there at all
because it was full of In-
dians," he said, laughing.
In Russia he was taught
privately, studying Russian,
German and French. Once his
mother left for Chicago, his
grandmother hired a Hebrew
teacher.
"My mother wasn't
religious and didn't believe in
that," he explained.
The trio were booked in
steerage for the 28-day
voyage. On the first day, Kot-
tler saw a piano in first class,
went up to it and began to
play. By chance the captain
was there -and heard him.
"He asked me to play some-
thing for him," Kottler said.

JEFF LAZAR'S MDA
CARNIVAL
Crowne Pointe Office
Center, Oak Park, Sept.
3, 967-1295.
PALACE OF AUBURN
HILLS
3777 Lapeer Road, World
Wrestling Federation,
Ultimate Warrior vs.
Andre the Giant, plus
other wrestling
superstars, 8 p.m.
Saturday, admission,
377-8600.
MEADOW BROOK
MUSIC FESTIVAL
Rochester, Meadow
Brook's Laser Light
Spectacular, 8:30 p.m.
today and Saturday,
admission, 370-2010.
MICHIGAN
RENAISSANCE
FESTIVAL
Hollygrove, Holly,
through Sept. 24,
weekends and Labor
Day, 10 a.m. -7 p.m.,
admission, 645-9640.
SOMERSET MALL
2801 W. Big Beaver
Road, Photointerpreting,
Architecture and. Design
Exhibition by Glen
Calvin Moon, through
Sept. 4, free, 643-6360.
MICHIGAN STATE
UNIVERSITY
East Lansing, Landon
Field, 1989 Festival of
Michigan Folklife,
Saturday and Sunday,
admission,
1-800-WHARTON.

COMEDY

COMEDY CASTLE
2593 Woodward,
Berkley, Richard Jen",
today and Saturday;
Bill Engvall, Tuesday.
through Sept. 2,
admission, 542-9900.
MISS KITTY'S
COMEDY CLUB
Long Branch
Restaurant, 595 N.
Lapeer Rd., Oxford,
Chuck King, today and
Saturday; Al Katz,
Thursday through Sept.
2, admission, 628-6500.

THEATER

MEADOW BROOK

Continued on Page 79

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

71

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