Music: Baffle of the Bows

When it comes to fiddling, there is hardly a more important contest in the world than Poland's two-week Wieniawski Violin Competition.* The contest opened in Poznan this year with 45 contestants from eleven countries (including five Americans) bowing away at each other. On hand were 17 judges, eleven from Iron Curtain countries. In a rigorous round (unaccompanied Bach sonatas and Wieniawski caprices), almost half the contestants were eliminated. Two stood out; it would be a contest between a U.S. and a Russian violinist.

The American, and the crowd's favorite from the beginning, was Cleveland-born Sidney Harth, 32, concertmaster and assistant conductor of...

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