ON THE WING
Aniko Gaal Schott headed to Canada just after she and her husband, Nash Whitney Schott, returned from Alaska’s glaciers. In Ketchikan they caught up with Nini Ferguson, who was there on a fishing trip. At the behest of Daisy Soros, sister-in-law of financial mogul George Soros, Aniko is organizing trip to the Mahlerfest in Budapest, Hungary. She and Mary Mochary are board members of the U.S. Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra founded by Iván Fischer (who also remains principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra until Christoph Eschenbach arrives in 2010.). Among those signing up thus far: Mary Ourisman, Sylvia Hemingway, Karon Cullen, Austin Kiplinger, Blaise Pasztory and the Nikolas Toths.
More trips: this writer is just back from a nine-city Holland-America Line cruise – a sentimental journey around the Mediterranean, revisiting former homes and haunts and ending in that jewel of a city, Barcelona. In Venice aboard the Oosterdam, I joined Panama-born Carlota Pardini, who had just been cheering the victory of her cousin, Ricardo Martinelli, Panama’s newly-elected president.
Carol and Climis Lascaris hosted a luncheon in Potomac honoring Sara Daneshpour, a 20-year-old Washington native who is one of 70 (out of 200 applicants from 45 countries) chosen to compete in the U.K.’s prestigious Leeds International Pianoforte Competition. During the three-week contest, each contestant presents six hours of piano masterworks from memory in three strenuous two-hour sessions. Even non-winners can expect international bookings.
An award-winning prodigy since the age of 13, Sara has performed at the Kennedy Center, in Philadelphia, New York, and eight other countries. The Washington Post said she is “carving out her place in the music world recital by recital.” In a musical preview, Sara played many of her selections for Leeds, including Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, and Scriabin.
Several of luncheon guests will hear her again when they travel on a luxury Seabourn cruise in October benefiting the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Carol, the museum’s former president, and Climis have organized the trip to Athens, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus, Kusadisi (Ephesus) in Turkey, and Alexandria, Egypt.
One future passenger, Gilan Tocco Corn, was herself an internationally renowned concert pianist until her daughter was born. Gilan has been Sara’s mentor for the past few years, and points out that the young pianist will be performing some of the most demanding piano pieces ever written.