Rzewski in Pittsburgh, and in Italy

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

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In April, when pianist-composer Frederic Rzewski concertized at Wholey's Fish Market in the Strip District, I asked him whether he had previously played "The People United Will Never Be Defeated" in other unusual venues.

Indeed, decades ago, Mr. Rzewski performed on the back of a truck at a communist festival in Italy. His son, Alexis Rzewski, who lives in Pittsburgh, just sent along a photograph from that performance.

"It was in the late 1970s, in a small hilltown in Tuscany called Montiano," Alexis said. "All these towns had their own Festa de l'Unità, which were organized by the local P.C.I. (Partito Comunista Italiano). In these festivals, people ate food, drank wine, saw entertainment, and purchased books, usually with political or social content. And yes, there were playing card competitions with the top prize being a cured ham ("prosciutto") and the usual 5K run around town."

Thanks to Alexis for sharing this!


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