Pianists: Oh, Vladimir! Oh, Malcolm!

Pianists Malcolm Frager and Vladimir Ashkenazy have been fast friends ever since 1958, when Ashkenazy made his American debut. Frager was introduced as a magna cum laude Russian student at Columbia, and shy Ashkenazy greeted him like a deus ex machina friend.

Each has made great strides on his own since then; Frager won the Leventritt and Queen Elisabeth competitions; Ashkenazy tied for first in Russia's Tchaikovsky contest. But their letters have dwelt on one remaining ambition: a two-piano recital. This spring Frager went to Russia for a concert tour, and last...

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