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Valentina Lisitsa performs via live feed from Rotterdam playing
the Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3. Given the time difference
between there and Spokane, I got up at 5:30 a.m. to watch it.

I have to admit that sometimes I don't get around to doing things when I
should. Sometimes it is a matter of not having the money. But more often
it is simply that I don't get off my butt and do them. In this case, though,
I haven't wanted to post about this earlier simply out of disappointment.

I could give a history of what led up to this. In fact I had planned on it.
But now that I am here typing into the keyboard I think I'll just give the
fast skinny on the matter.

Valentina Lisitsa was due to play here with the Spokane Symphony on
November 17, doing Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini.
I had my ticket, a nice seat about 10 rows back on the mail floor and
almost in a direct line to Valentina's hands on the keyboard. I counted
the days. I was so happy to be able to see her again, and also to see her
here in Spokane and without having to have all the money it would take
to see her in another city.

But it was not to be. On November 3, only a matter of days before
Valentina was to arrive here to begin rehearsals, the musicians of the
Spokane Symphony decided to go on strike. My heart sank. I had no hope
whatsoever that the strike would be resolved in time to permit her to
play. And in fact on November 10 came the official announcement: The
Lisitsa concert had been canceled. The concert that I had been waiting
for over eleven months would not happen.

A few days later, I took my ticket in to the Symphony box office and got
my money back. One of the saddest things I've ever had to do.

As for the reasons for the strike itself and the economic details, I'm
not even going to go there. As far as I am concerned the only valid
issue is that the symphony members passed up to their opportunity to
play with the world's greatest pianist. And, more — given that they
performed with her in February 2010, they may have been the first
orchestra in the entire world to be privileged to play with Lisitsa
twice. But I guess none of that was of any concern to them.

I am not happy with the musicians of the Spokane Symphony at this point,
nor do I think I will ever be again. Going to my own amateur orchestra
rehearsals out at Holy Names Music Center, I was around nothing but
people who were behind the musicians in the strike. It made me almost
choke. But I could say nothing.

"You'll get another chance to see her" a friend told me. Easier said
than done. After what happened, Valentina might not come back to
Spokane — and in any case from this point here out, after her Royal
Albert Hall recital last June and her signing with Decca records, we may
not be able to afford her. Even assuming that she would perform in
Seattle or Portland or Boise it would take so much money for me to make
a trip like that. To do so I would have to save for about six months.
And adding to the problem is the fact that Valentina doesn't currently
maintain a tour schedule more than about 6 weeks in advance of when she
will play somewhere. Which wouldn't be enough time to save. And in fact
this has already happened. In October I learned that she would be doing
a recital in Portland on December 2. Not a a concert but a recital, my
dearest wish. But of course that was too late for me to get the money
up. I consoled myself with the fact that I would be seeing her here in
just a few short weeks. But then the strike. And the cancellation.

At this point I am just sick at heart, even weeks afterward. I feel like
I have lost the last good opportunity to see Valentina Lisitsa again that
I will ever have.