Lera Auerbach

Lera Auerbach

Pianist Lera Auerbach, who defected from the Soviet Union at 17, makes her New Orleans debut Friday, writes Chris Waddington @ nola.com:

She was just 17. She had no money, no contacts, and couldn’t speak English. She knew that she might never see her family again. And yet, on a day in 1991, Lera Auerbach decided to stay in New York City, joining the last generation of artists to defect from the Soviet Union.

Two decades later, that gifted young pianist from a small Siberian town has emerged as an in-demand international soloist and is widely regarded as one of the 21st century’s most compelling composers.

“To stay in New York was a very spontaneous decision,” Auerbach said. “I was a sheltered child, so coming to America was a shock, like travelling to the moon. But I had an intuition that this would be my chance to grow as an artist and as a person. Fate gave me a chance at that moment.”

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