Plastics Ain't For Every Body

Harping On

"I'm trying to work my way into heaven," Judith Kogan says of her desire to become a professional harp player.

Harp playing may not help Kogan into heaven but it has already earned her a Rotary scholarship to study in the Royal Academy of Music in London next year. From London, the music major will cross the continent to spend part of the spring and summer in the Soviet Union on a Radcliffe fellowship--she hopes to study in the Moscow Conservatory--before returning to the United States to continue harp studies at Julliard in New York City.

Kogan anticipates no problems in visiting the USSR. She plans to take Russian lessons at Columbia this summer. Her confidence is based on innate idealism--"Music is an international language. Everyone understands it," she jokes--and determination: "I will pass through the iron curtain with my iron will and iron fist."

In case red tape prevents Kogan from enrolling in the Moscow Conservatory, she will take private lessons with the grande-dame harpist of the Soviet Union, Comrade Pulova.

Music, however, is not the only interest Russia holds for Kogan. She is a harpist of Slavic descent; this trip to Russia is a "Roots-inspired journey to go back to the homeland."


Fascinated by Soviet Jewry, she wants to live close enough to examine first-hand the situation under which Russian Jews live. She confided that she is also anxious to learn how to drink vodka like a true Russian.

Kogan feels somewhat queasy about being in Russia. "It's the KGB looking over your shoulder. In my case it shouldn't be too difficult," confesses Kogan, who measures in at 5 ft. 1 in.