It's been about four years now since I took this photo of a lovely little girl playing violin extremely well in front of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, outside of St. Petersburg. I still regret not slipping her a few coins, which was, natually, the reason she was out there playing. At least it was a beautful early-summer day. One of many regrets. Did slip a few coins to other pretty little Russian children on this trip, which was part of an excellently organized "Russia by River" tour from Moscow to St. Petersburg. I still wonder what will become of this obviously talented child. Would she receive scholarship help to study at one of Russia's many excellent music conservatories? (Even in the darkest and most repressive years of the Soviet era, Russia still produced world-class players; they have one of the truly great musical cultures.) Would she meet the right mentors who could set her on the path to a professional career? At least she was already accomplished enough to be able to play for her own pleasure for the rest of her life.
Having worked as an editor at a prominent music conservatory, I'm aware of the great numbers of talented and accomplished musicians who are not able to make careers as performers. Fortunately, this school also has courses to prepare students for other aspects of music, e.g., the business and managerial areas. You have to want a musical career "so badly you can taste it" and be willing to slave at relatively menial jobs until you get a break. If you get a break.
This little Russian girl put the finishing touch to a lovely day for a tourist in Russia. I think that she was playing Tchaikovsky. A safe bet, anyway.