Music: Cultural Conflict

One day last winter, Violinist Isaac Stern got a call from his manager. How would he like to make a quick trip to Reykjavik to play for Icelanders? Stern had just returned from a long tour, and did not like the idea at all, but he listened to the reasons. Then he picked up his Guarnerius and boarded a military plane for a flight to the big island just below the Arctic Circle.

The reasons that made Virtuoso Stern change his mind included the following: 1) Iceland is a remarkable, if removed, place, with 100% literacy and a longstanding affection for the...

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