Music: Strings of Gold

U.S. players triumph in Moscow competition

Twelve years ago, a young cellist named Nathaniel Rosen, then 18, journeyed from California to Moscow to compete in the famous International Tchaikovsky Competition. Held every four years, it is one of the world's most demanding and prestigious tests of talent in violin, cello, piano and voice. Rosen, the youngest cello entrant, made it to the finals but did not place. The three-week series of eliminations left him exhausted. "I'd love to go back to the Soviet Union," he concluded, "but probably not as a competitor."

This year...

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