Freedom Medal Brings Horowitz Home on High Note

--President Reagan presented piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz with the Medal of Freedom Monday and praised him for his "pilgrimage of peace" during his triumphant concert tour of the Soviet Union. The dapper 82-year-old concert pianist, wearing his signature polka dot bow tie and matching breast pocket handkerchief, beamed with delight as First Lady Nancy Reagan placed the medal around his neck during a brief ceremony in the Roosevelt Room. "What can I say? Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you again, thank you," Horowitz said, after kissing Mrs. Reagan's hand in a courtly gesture. "I hope I deserve." "You do," she responded. The pianist recently returned from his visit to Moscow and Leningrad, where he gave his first concerts there since fleeing the then-revolution-torn country 61 years ago. The diminutive artist was besieged by music-loving Russians on the tour, the first major event in the cultural exchange program agreed on by Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev at last year's Geneva summit. The Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor.

--Zsa Zsa Gabor is walking down the aisle soon and, after seven previous trips, it's a well-worn path. She will marry Prince Frederick von Anhalt, Germany's duke of Saxony, in August. Gabor says she is 55 and that the thrice-married prince is 45. "I went through so many rich men and young men, it's time to settle down," she said. Technically, Gabor says she has had only three husbands--hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, actor George Sanders and Burhan Asaf Belgee, a Turkish minister of propaganda. "The other four were only legalized love affairs," she said. The other ex-spouses are businessmen Herbert Hutner, Jack Ryan, Joshua Cosden and Michael O'Hara.

--It took some quick shuffling of violins, but a 14-year-old soloist carried off a complicated performance without missing a note and received a standing ovation from the audience, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and conductor Leonard Bernstein. The E string on Mi Dori's 7/8-sized violin broke in the fifth movement of Bernstein's complicated "Serenade" during a weekend concert at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass., the orchestra's summer home. Concertmaster Malcolm Lowe promptly passed over his full-sized Stradivarius, and the 80-pound student played on with the violin, too large for her fingers, without missing a note until the E string on Lowe's violin also broke. Lowe, now playing associate concertmaster Max Hobart's violin, came to the rescue again, and Dori finished her solo on the third violin.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World