September 15, 1917
Page 31

Russian Violinist’s Trip Through Siberia from Petrograd Beset with Difficulties

After two months of the most difficult travel across war-ridden Russia, over the wastes of Siberia, through China and thence across the Pacific to San Francisco, Jascha Heifetz, the young Russian violinist, reached New York last week, accompanied by his parents and two younger sisters. The party was piloted from the coast by John T. Adams of the Wolfsohn Musical Bureau, under whose management the artist will tour the country.
The story of the journey from Petrograd to New York as related by Mr. Heifetz, Sr., rivals the accounts of explorers. The trip through Russia was a continuous series of short relays from town to town with constant interruptions caused by every imaginable difficulty in the way of primitive transportation, suspicious questionings by government officials, interference from army officers and troops and almost unbelievable hardships. The ever-present element of danger, the total lack in many instances of edible food and the fear of being seized as spies and detained for months in a prison camp filled the journey with discomfort and terror.
It was only after months of negotiation by cable and letter that arrangements were completed between Mr. Heifetz and the Wolfsohn Bureau, and then the problem of a safe conduct to the United States had to be solved. “The longest way ‘round” once more proved to be “the shortest way home,” and the route through revolutionary Russia and China was decided upon as preferable to the dangerous Atlantic passage. How uncertain even the safety of the overland course turned out to be may be imagined because the Heifetz family left Petrograd on a train that proved to be the last one allowed to run to Siberia. After two weeks on a Pacific steamer the party rested in San Francisco, where they enjoyed a few days’ recreation in the California sunshine before boarding a train for the East.
When the artist and his family alighted in the Grand Central Station a few days ago they might easily have been mistaken for an American family returning from a summer vacation. Aside from their baggage, there was no suggestion of the fact that they had just completed a ten-thousand-mile journey from their Petrograd home. The customary “foreign look” was lacking. Of course, interest centered about the violinist; he is tall and well proportioned, of rather fair complexion and decidedly attractive features. The arduous trip had apparently weighed but lightly upon his youthful spirits and he expressed the greatest interest and pleasure in everything he had so far seen in America; as yet he speaks but little English, so his conversation was carried on chiefly in French, Russian and German. The subject of his New York début naturally aroused his enthusiasm and he was delighted at the prospect of appearing with several of the leading symphony orchestras during the season.· The announcement is now made that the violinist’s first appearance in America will be in a recital at Carnegie Hall, New York, on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 27.


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