Studies at the Curtis Institute with Serkin and his assistants (Jorge Bolet – during the first year, then Mieczyslaw Horszowski). Attends concerts of all the most important musicians performing in Philadelphia (Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, Kreisler, Heifetz, Feuermann, Stokowski, Beecham, Bartók…). Surrounds himself with a wide circle of friends (including Leonard Bernstein and Ned Rorem) to make music, talk and have fun. Spends the rest of his free time devouring books and going to the movies. 

Serkin and Istomin in the mid-1950s