Jefferson Public Radio editor ponders the idea of assimilation of immigrants in relationship to Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The question of assimilation has been on my mind a lot lately. Living in this great country where individuality is embraced, our current obsession with assimilation for those choosing the U.S. as their new home seems like a strange paradox.

Consider the Russian composer, pianist and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff. When he moved to America in 1918 he could not let go of ties to his mother country. Even with the house he bought three years later in New York, he tried to recapture the spirit of a beloved country estate owned by his relatives.

Does this constitute a rejecting of American values? I would propose just the opposite: The freedom afforded our newest citizens offers them the gift of safety and comfort to hold their traditions close, bringing a new richness to our American tapestry.

In the second section of the article, conductor Marin Alsop is interviewed about Rachmaninoff and his Third Symphony.