I want to know what their lives would have been like. How old would they have been when they entered the conservatory? How hard would they be worked? What kind of non-musical education would they have received? Where would they have slept? Would they be treated very well for their skill, or would they feel overworked, or overly-controlled or... something else unpleasant?
Basically, I am trying to imagine a back story for a couple of real people I knew only as adults. I know they emigrated to the US as adults (in the 70s), but I don't have a clear picture of what their lives must have been like in Russia that made them want to leave.
I have searched google and wikipedia using terms like: russia music conservatory history soviet union communism leningrad conservatory moscow conservatory culture classical music. I've gotten a lot of articles, but almost all are either about specific musicians (mostly Shostakovich, who is too early for me) or they are simply too vague. Or they talk about experimental composers and rock musicians being censored, but these girls were at the state-run conservatory, performing classical music, so it seems unlikely that cencorship would have been a major issue.