Monday, August 2, 2010
It is surprising to imagine that the composer Sergei Rachmaninoff is buried on a hilltop in the Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York. The cemetery is about 30 miles from Manhattan.
Set your GPS for 273 Lakeview Avenue, Valhalla, NY 10595. When you arrive on Lakeview ave you will cross railroad tracks. Take the second left onto Uncas Ave. Turn right almost immediately onto Seneca Ave and follow it up the hill. Seneca curves to the left as you proceed.
Take a sharp left onto Pocantico and stay straight up the hill. As you proceed you will see the Actor's Obelisk to your right. Advance to the roundabout and bear right onto it. The Rachmaninoff site is on the outside of this rotary, just after you pass Katonah Avenue.
There are few indications in the Rachmaninoff literature about why Kensico was chosen over other possibilities. In 1992 the Times ran an article on the cemetery that is focused by the Rachmaninoff site. Roberta Hershenson interviewed Boris Nikitin, who had written a film script for a Russian television documentary on Rachmaninoff. When Rachmaninoff died in 1943; "someone told his wife this was a nice place," said Mr. Nikitin in that article. Since there was no way to transport the body to Switzerland or Russia in the midst of World War Two, Rachmaninoff ended up near Valhalla; in Kensico.