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A Remarkable Coincidence Or?
Dr. Louis Alpert - 6/3/05

Each of the United States National or International Chopin Piano Competitions occur but ONCE every FIVE years and it is a most rare honor for any individual to be selected as a contestant in either of these competitions.

Amazingly,such was to be the case for both the Hudson Valley Piano Club's OLDEST member, Ludmilla Berkwic, who left us earlier this year at age 94 and one of its YOUNGEST members, Laura Garritson!

Furthermore, Ludmilla was the youngest contestant in the very first Chopin Competition held in 1927, while Laura was a contestant in the very last U.S. Chopin Competition held 78 years later in March of his year!

But the coincidences do not end here!

On June 5 of 2004 the Hudson Valley Piano Club held a most successful All Chopin Benefit Concert in Honor of Ludmilla in which Laura (among others) played some of the very same Chopin compositions that Ludmilla had played in the 1927 First Chopin competition.

One of Ludmilla's most important specialties in her 80-year career as a concert pianist was her live performance of all 24 of Chopin's Etudes. Laura serenaded Ludmlla with two of these difficult Etudes to which Ludmilla responded with enthusiastic applause!

Shortly after the conclusion of Ludmilla's Benefit Concert, the President of the HVPC, Eileen Rossi, held a party at her home at which Laura and several other pianists who contributed their talents were present. Lou Alpert, a member of the Board of Directors of the HVPC, had just published a feature article in Polonaise Magazine concerning Ludmilla's role as the youngest contestant in the very first Chopin Competition of 1927.

Coincidentally(?) this very issue(50 copies of which) arrived only a few days before the Benefit also contained in the centerfold the very application for the rare(once every 5 years) United States Chopin Competition to be held, nearly one year later in March, 2005..

Dr. Alpert gave a copy of this very special Polonaise Issue to Laura and all of the wonderful young pianists who played that evening expressing the hope that they would seriously consider applying to be a contestant in the United States Chopin Competition of 2005.

Laura applied and was one of the just 22 finalists accepted for 2005!

Ludmilla applied and was one of the 26 finalists accepted for 1927!

Coincidence or did Ludmilla hand the torch to Laura 78 years' later?

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