Mstislav Rostropovich
Overview
 
Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, KBE , known to close friends as Slava, was a Soviet and Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 cellist and conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya
Galina Vishnevskaya
Galina Pavlovna Vishnevskaya is a Russian soprano opera singer and recitalist who was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1966.-Biography:...

. He is widely considered to have been the greatest cellist of the second half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of all time. In addition to his outstanding interpretations and technique, he was well-known for his commissions of new works which enlarged the cello repertoire more than any cellist before or since.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, KBE , known to close friends as Slava, was a Soviet and Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 cellist and conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya
Galina Vishnevskaya
Galina Pavlovna Vishnevskaya is a Russian soprano opera singer and recitalist who was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1966.-Biography:...

. He is widely considered to have been the greatest cellist of the second half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of all time. In addition to his outstanding interpretations and technique, he was well-known for his commissions of new works which enlarged the cello repertoire more than any cellist before or since. He gave the premieres of over 100 pieces.

Rostropovich was internationally recognized as a staunch advocate of human rights, and was awarded the 1974 Award of the International League of Human Rights.

Early years

Rostropovich was born in Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

, Azerbaijan SSR
Azerbaijan SSR
The Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic , also known as the Azerbaijan SSR for short, was one of the republics that made up the former Soviet Union....

, USSR, to ethnic Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 parents who had moved from Orenburg
Orenburg
Orenburg is a city on the Ural River and the administrative center of Orenburg Oblast, Russia. It lies southeast of Moscow, very close to the border with Kazakhstan. Population: 546,987 ; 549,361 ; Highest point: 154.4 m...

. His father, Leopold Vitoldovich Rostropovich, was also partly of Belarusian
Belarusians
Belarusians ; are an East Slavic ethnic group who populate the majority of the Republic of Belarus. Introduced to the world as a new state in the early 1990s, the Republic of Belarus brought with it the notion of a re-emerging Belarusian ethnicity, drawn upon the lines of the Old Belarusian...

-Polish noble descent. That part of his family bore the Bogorya coat of arms, which was located at the family palace in Skotniki, Masovian Voivodeship
Masovian Voivodeship
-Administrative division:Masovian Voivodeship is divided into 42 counties : 5 city counties and 37 "land counties"...

. He grew up in Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

 and spent his youth there. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 his family moved back to Orenburg
Orenburg
Orenburg is a city on the Ural River and the administrative center of Orenburg Oblast, Russia. It lies southeast of Moscow, very close to the border with Kazakhstan. Population: 546,987 ; 549,361 ; Highest point: 154.4 m...

 and then in 1943 to Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

.

At the age of four, Rostropovich learned the piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

 with his mother, Sofiya Nikolaevna Fedotova, a talented pianist. He began the cello at the age of 10 with his father, who was a renowned cellist and former student of Pau Casals.

In 1943, at the age of 16, he entered the Moscow Conservatory
Moscow Conservatory
The Moscow Conservatory is a higher musical education institution in Moscow, and the second oldest conservatory in Russia after St. Petersburg Conservatory. Along with the St...

. Until 1948 he studied cello, piano, conducting and composition. His teachers included Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century....

 and Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century...

. In 1945 he came to prominence as a cellist when he won the gold medal in the first ever Soviet Union competition for young musicians. He became professor of cello at the Moscow Conservatory in 1956.

First concerts

Rostropovich gave his first cello concert in 1942. He won first prize at the international Music Awards of Prague and Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

 in 1947, 1949 and 1950. In 1950, at the age of 23 he was awarded what was then considered the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, the Stalin Prize. At that time, Rostropovich was already well known in his country and while actively pursuing his solo career, he taught at the Leningrad (Saint-Petersburg) Conservatory
Saint Petersburg Conservatory
The N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory is a music school in Saint Petersburg. In 2004, the conservatory had around 275 faculty members and 1,400 students.-History:...

 and the Moscow Conservatory
Moscow Conservatory
The Moscow Conservatory is a higher musical education institution in Moscow, and the second oldest conservatory in Russia after St. Petersburg Conservatory. Along with the St...

.
In 1955, he married Galina Vishnevskaya
Galina Vishnevskaya
Galina Pavlovna Vishnevskaya is a Russian soprano opera singer and recitalist who was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1966.-Biography:...

, soprano
Soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

 at the Bolshoi Theatre
Bolshoi Theatre
The Bolshoi Theatre is a historic theatre in Moscow, Russia, designed by architect Joseph Bové, which holds performances of ballet and opera. The Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera are amongst the oldest and most renowned ballet and opera companies in the world...

.

Rostropovich had working relationships with Soviet composers of the era. In 1949 Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century...

 wrote his Cello Sonata in C, Op. 119, for the 22-year old Rostropovich, who gave the first performance in 1950, with Sviatoslav Richter
Sviatoslav Richter
Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter was a Soviet pianist well known for the depth of his interpretations, virtuoso technique, and vast repertoire. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Childhood:...

. Prokofiev also dedicated his Sinfonia Concertante for cello
Symphony-Concerto (Prokofiev)
Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony-Concerto in E minor, Op. 125 is a large-scale work for cello and orchestra. Prokofiev dedicated it to Mstislav Rostropovich, who premiered it on February 18, 1952 with Sviatoslav Richter conducting . After this first performance Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony-Concerto in E...

 to him; this was premiered in 1952. Rostropovich and Dmitry Kabalevsky completed Prokofiev's Cello Concertino
Cello Concertino (Prokofiev)
Sergei Prokofiev's Cello Concertino Op. 132 was left incomplete at the composer's death in 1953. It was completed by Mstislav Rostropovich and Dmitri Kabalevsky.-History:...

 after the composer's death. Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century....

 wrote both his first
Cello Concerto No. 1 (Shostakovich)
The Cello Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major, Opus 107, was composed in 1959 by Dmitri Shostakovich. He wrote the work for his friend Mstislav Rostropovich, who committed it to memory in four days and gave the premiere on October 4, 1959, with Yevgeny Mravinsky conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic...

 and second
Cello Concerto No. 2 (Shostakovich)
The Cello Concerto No. 2, Opus 126, was written by Dmitri Shostakovich in the spring of 1966 in the Crimea. Like the first concerto, it was written for Mstislav Rostropovich, who gave the premiere in Moscow under Yevgeny Svetlanov on 25 September 1966 at the composer's 60th birthday concert...

 cello concertos for Rostropovich, who also gave their first performances.

His international career started in 1963 in the Conservatoire of Liège (with Kirill Kondrashin) and in 1964 in West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

. Rostropovich went on several tours in Western Europe and met several composers, including Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

. Britten dedicated his Cello Sonata, three Solo Suites, and his Cello Symphony to Rostropovich, who gave their first performances. In 1967, he conducted Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's opera Eugene Onegin
Eugene Onegin (opera)
Eugene Onegin, Op. 24, is an opera in 3 acts , by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto was written by Konstantin Shilovsky and the composer and his brother Modest, and is based on the novel in verse by Alexander Pushkin....

at the Bolshoi, thus letting forth his passion for both the role of conductor and the opera.

Proms on August 21, 1968

Rostropovich played at The Proms
The Proms
The Proms, more formally known as The BBC Proms, or The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in London...

 on the night of August 21, 1968. He played with the Soviet State Symphony Orchestra and it was the orchestra's debut performance at the Proms. The programme featured Czech composer Antonín Dvořák
Antonín Dvorák
Antonín Leopold Dvořák was a Czech composer of late Romantic music, who employed the idioms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. Dvořák’s own style is sometimes called "romantic-classicist synthesis". His works include symphonic, choral and chamber music, concerti, operas and many...

's Cello Concerto and was the same day that Russians invaded Czechoslovakia to put an end to Alexander Dubček
Alexander Dubcek
Alexander Dubček , also known as Dikita, was a Slovak politician and briefly leader of Czechoslovakia , famous for his attempt to reform the communist regime during the Prague Spring...

's Prague Spring
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

.

Exile

Rostropovich fought for art without borders, freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

, and democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 values, resulting in harassment from the Soviet regime. An early example was in 1948, when he was a student at the Moscow Conservatory
Moscow Conservatory
The Moscow Conservatory is a higher musical education institution in Moscow, and the second oldest conservatory in Russia after St. Petersburg Conservatory. Along with the St...

. In response to the 10 February 1948 decree on so-called 'formalist' composers, his teacher Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century....

 was dismissed from his professorships in Leningrad and Moscow; the then 21-year-old Rostropovich quit the conservatory, dropping out in protest. In 1970, Rostropovich sheltered Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was aRussian and Soviet novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his often-suppressed writings, he helped to raise global awareness of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of...

, who otherwise would have had nowhere to go, in his own home. His friendship with Solzhenitsyn and his support for dissidents led to official disgrace in the early 1970s. As a result, Rostropovich was restricted from foreign touring, as was his wife, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, and he was sent on a recital tour of small towns in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

.

Rostropovich left the Soviet Union in 1974 with his wife and children and settled in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. He was banned from several musical ensembles in his homeland, and his Soviet citizenship was revoked in 1978 because of his public opposition to the Soviet Union's restriction of cultural freedom. He would not return to the Soviet Union until 1990.

Further career

From 1977 until 1994, he was musical director and conductor of the U.S. National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, while still performing with some of the most famous musicians such as Martha Argerich
Martha Argerich
Martha Argerich is an Argentine pianist.-Early life:Argerich was born in Buenos Aires and started playing the piano at age three...

, Sviatoslav Richter
Sviatoslav Richter
Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter was a Soviet pianist well known for the depth of his interpretations, virtuoso technique, and vast repertoire. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Childhood:...

 and Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz    was a Russian-American classical virtuoso pianist and minor composer. His technique and use of tone color and the excitement of his playing were legendary. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Life and early...

. He was also the director and founder of the Rostropovich Music Festival and was a regular performer at the Aldeburgh Festival
Aldeburgh Festival
The Aldeburgh Festival is an English arts festival devoted mainly to classical music. It takes place each June in the Aldeburgh area of Suffolk, centred on the main concert hall at Snape Maltings...

 in the UK.

His impromptu performance during the fall of the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

 as events unfolded earned him international fame and was reported throughout the world. His Soviet citizenship was restored in 1990, although he and his family had already become American citizens.

In modern Russia, Rostropovich was welcomed by high officials. He supported Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

 during the 1993 constitutional crisis (Rostropovich conducted the National Symphony Orchestra in Red Square
Red Square
Red Square is a city square in Moscow, Russia. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod...

 at the height of the crackdown), and was also on friendly terms with Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

.

In 1993 he was instrumental in the foundation of the Kronberg Academy
Kronberg Academy
Kronberg Academy is an international cultural institution based in Kronberg im Taunus, Germany, for the education and support of highly gifted young violinists, violists and especially cellists. Studies are supported by a biennial Cello Festival and the International Pablo Casals Cello Competition...

 and was a patron until his death. He commissioned Rodion Shchedrin
Rodion Shchedrin
Rodion Konstantinovich Shchedrin is a Russian composer. He was one оf the leading Soviet composers, and was the chairman of the Union of Russian Composers from 1973 until 1990.-Life and Works:...

 to compose the opera Lolita
Lolita (opera)
Lolita is an opera in two acts by composer Rodion Shchedrin. The opera was composed in 1992 and uses a Russian language libretto by the composer which is based on Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 novel of the same name, written in English...

and conducted its premiere in 1994 at the Royal Swedish Opera
Royal Swedish Opera
Kungliga Operan is Sweden's national stage for opera and ballet.-Location and Environment:...

.

Rostropovich received many international awards, including the French Legion of Honor and honorary doctorates from many international universities. He was an activist, fighting for freedom of expression in art and politics. An ambassador for the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

, he supported many educational and cultural projects. Rostropovich performed several times in Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

 and was a close friend of Queen Sofía of Spain
Queen Sofía of Spain
Queen Sofía of Spain is the wife of King Juan Carlos I of Spain.-Early life and family:Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark was born in Psychiko, Athens, Greece on 2 November 1938, the eldest child of the King Paul of Greece and his wife, Queen Frederika , a former princess of Hanover...

.

Rostropovich and his wife, Galina Vishnevskaya founded the Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Foundation
Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Foundation
This article is about The Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Foundation, a non-profit organization. For articles on the cellist and composer Mstislav Rostropovich, see Rostropovich....

, a publicly-supported non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, D.C., in 1991 to improve the health and future of children in the former Soviet Union. The Rostropovich Home Museum opened on March 4, 2002, in Baku. Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya visited Azerbaijan occasionally. Rostropovich also presented cello master classes at the Azerbaijan State Conservatory.

Together they formed a valuable art collection. In September 2007, when it was slated to be sold at auction by Sotheby's
Sotheby's
Sotheby's is the world's fourth oldest auction house in continuous operation.-History:The oldest auction house in operation is the Stockholms Auktionsverk founded in 1674, the second oldest is Göteborgs Auktionsverk founded in 1681 and third oldest being founded in 1731, all Swedish...

 in London and dispersed, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov
Alisher Usmanov
Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov is an Uzbek-born Russian businessman.According to the 2011 edition of Forbes magazine, the oligarch is one of Russia's richest men, with a fortune estimated at US$17.7 billion, and the world's 35th richest person.Usmanov is married and is a graduate of Moscow State...

 stepped forward and negotiated the purchase of all 450 lots, in order to keep the collection together and bring it to Russia as a memorial to the great cellist's memory. Christie's reported that the buyer paid a "substantially higher" sum than the £20 million pre-sale estimate

In 2006, he was featured in Alexander Sokurov
Alexander Sokurov
Alexander Nikolayevich Sokurov is a Russian filmmaker. His most significant works include a semi-documentary, Russian Ark , filmed in a single unedited shot, and Faust , which was honoured with the Golden Lion, the highest prize for the best film at the Venice Film Festival.- Life and work...

's documentary Elegy of a life: Rostropovich, Vishnevskaya.

His instruments included the 1711 Duport Stradivarius
Duport Stradivarius
The Duport Stradivarius is a cello made in 1711 by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. The instrument is named after Jean-Louis Duport, who played it around 1800. In 1812, Duport permitted Napoleon Bonaparte to handle it; a dent, still visible on the instrument, is said to have resulted...

, a Storioni on which he made most of his recordings and a Peter Guarneri of Venice.

Later life

Rostropovich's health declined in 2006, with the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

reporting rumors of unspecified surgery in Geneva and later treatment for what was reported as an aggravated ulcer. Russian President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 visited Rostropovich to discuss details of a celebration the Kremlin was planning for March 27, 2007, Rostropovich's 80th birthday. Rostropovich attended the celebration but was reportedly in frail health.

Though Rostropovich's last home was in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, he maintained residences in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, St. Petersburg, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Lausanne
Lausanne
Lausanne is a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is the capital of the canton of Vaud. The seat of the district of Lausanne, the city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva . It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura mountains to its north-west...

, and Jordanville, New York
Jordanville, New York
Jordanville is a hamlet in the town of Warren, Herkimer County, New York. Jordanville is in the northwest part of Warren, at the intersection of Routes 18 and 155. The community was settled before 1791.-Gelston Castle:...

. Rostropovich was admitted to a Paris hospital at the end of January 2007, but then decided to fly to Moscow, where he had been receiving care. On February 6, 2007 the 79-year-old Rostropovich was admitted to a hospital in Moscow. "He is just feeling unwell", Natalya Dolezhale, Rostropovich's secretary in Moscow, said. Asked if there was serious cause for concern about his health she said: "No, right now there is no cause whatsoever." She refused to specify the nature of his illness. The Kremlin said that President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 had visited the musician on Monday in the hospital, which prompted speculation that he was in a serious condition. Dolezhale said the visit was to discuss arrangements for marking Rostropovich's 80th birthday. On March 27, 2007, the Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement praising Rostropovich.

He re-entered the Blokhim Cancer Institute on April 7, 2007, where he was treated for intestinal cancer. He died on April 27, 2007.

On April 28, Rostropovich's body lay in an open coffin at the Moscow Conservatory
Moscow Conservatory
The Moscow Conservatory is a higher musical education institution in Moscow, and the second oldest conservatory in Russia after St. Petersburg Conservatory. Along with the St...

, where he once studied as a teenager, and was then moved to the Church of Christ the Saviour
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Moscow)
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a Church in Moscow, Russia, on the northern bank of the Moskva River, a few blocks south-west of the Kremlin...

. Thousands of mourners, including Russian President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

, bade farewell. Spain's Queen Sofia, French first lady Bernadette Chirac
Bernadette Chirac
Bernadette Thérèse Marie Chirac is a French politician and the wife of the former President Jacques Chirac....

 and President Ilham Aliev of Azerbaijan, where Rostropovich was born, as well as Naina Yeltsina
Naina Yeltsina
Naina Iosifovna Yeltsina is the widow of the first President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin.Naina Yeltsina was born in the Orenburg Oblast in 1932. After graduating from the construction faculty at the Ural Polytechnic Institute in Sverdlovsk in 1955, she worked with various projects at...

, the widow of Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

, were among those in attendance at the funeral on April 29. Rostropovich was then buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery
Novodevichy Cemetery
Novodevichy Cemetery is the most famous cemetery in Moscow, Russia. It is next to the 16th-century Novodevichy Convent, which is the city's third most popular tourist site. It should not be confused with the Novodevichy Cemetery in Saint Petersburg....

, the same cemetery where his friend Boris Yeltsin was buried four days earlier.

Stature

Rostropovich was a huge influence on the younger generation of cellists. Many have openly acknowledged their debt to his example. In the Daily Telegraph, Julian Lloyd Webber
Julian Lloyd Webber
Julian Lloyd Webber is a British solo cellist who has been described as the "doyen of British cellists".-Early life:Julian Lloyd Webber is the second son of the composer William Lloyd Webber and his wife Jean Johnstone . He is the younger brother of the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber...

 called him "probably the greatest cellist of all time."

Rostropovich either commissioned
Commission (art)
In art, a commission is the hiring and payment for the creation of a piece, often on behalf of another.In classical music, ensembles often commission pieces from composers, where the ensemble secures the composer's payment from private or public organizations or donors.- Commissions for public art...

 or was the recipient of compositions by many composers including Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century....

, Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century...

, Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

, Henri Dutilleux
Henri Dutilleux
Henri Dutilleux is one of the most important French composers of the second half of the 20th century, producing work in the tradition of Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, and Albert Roussel, but in a style distinctly his own...

, Olivier Messiaen
Olivier Messiaen
Olivier Messiaen was a French composer, organist and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex ; harmonically and melodically it is based on modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from his early compositions and improvisations...

, Witold Lutosławski, Luciano Berio
Luciano Berio
Luciano Berio, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian composer. He is noted for his experimental work and also for his pioneering work in electronic music.-Biography:Berio was born at Oneglia Luciano Berio, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (October 24, 1925 – May 27, 2003) was an Italian...

, Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki , born November 23, 1933 in Dębica) is a Polish composer and conductor. His 1960 avant-garde Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima for string orchestra brought him to international attention, and this success was followed by acclaim for his choral St. Luke Passion. Both these...

, Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

, Alfred Schnittke
Alfred Schnittke
Alfred Schnittke ; November 24, 1934 – August 3, 1998) was a Russian and Soviet composer. Schnittke's early music shows the strong influence of Dmitri Shostakovich. He developed a polystylistic technique in works such as the epic First Symphony and First Concerto Grosso...

, Aram Khachaturian
Aram Khachaturian
Aram Ilyich Khachaturian was a prominent Soviet composer. Khachaturian's works were often influenced by classical Russian music and Armenian folk music...

, Ástor Piazzolla
Ástor Piazzolla
Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla was an Argentine tango composer and bandoneón player. His oeuvre revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music...

, Sofia Gubaidulina
Sofia Gubaidulina
Sofia Asgatovna Gubaidulina, is a Russian composer of half Russian, half Tatar ethnicity.Gubaidulina's music is marked by the use of unusual instrumental combinations...

, Arthur Bliss
Arthur Bliss
‎Sir Arthur Edward Drummond Bliss, CH, KCVO was an English composer and conductor.Bliss's musical training was cut short by the First World War, in which he served with distinction in the army...

 and Lopes Graça. His commissions of new works enlarged the cello repertoire more than any cellist before or since.

He was the first performer of 117 pieces, and is well known for his interpretations of Dvořák
Antonín Dvorák
Antonín Leopold Dvořák was a Czech composer of late Romantic music, who employed the idioms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. Dvořák’s own style is sometimes called "romantic-classicist synthesis". His works include symphonic, choral and chamber music, concerti, operas and many...

's Cello Concerto in B minor
Cello Concerto (Dvorák)
The Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191, by Antonín Dvořák was the composer's last solo concerto, and was written in 1894–1895 for his friend, the cellist Hanuš Wihan, but premiered by the English cellist Leo Stern.- Structure :...

 and Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

's cello concerti in C and D, Prokofiev's Symphony-Concerto and the two cello concerti of Shostakovich. Between 1997 and 2001 he was intimately involved in the development and testing of the BACH.Bow, a curved bow
Curved bow
The curved bow for string instruments enables string players to control the tension of the bow hairs in order to play one, two, three and four strings simultaneously and to change easily among these possibilities...

 designed by the cellist Michael Bach
Michael Bach (cellist, composer, visual artist)
Michael Bach is a German cellist, composer, and visual artist, also known as Michael Bach Bachtischa.-Biography:...

. In 2001 he invited Michael Bach
Michael Bach (cellist, composer, visual artist)
Michael Bach is a German cellist, composer, and visual artist, also known as Michael Bach Bachtischa.-Biography:...

 for a presentation of his BACH.Bow to Paris (7ème Concours de violoncelle Rostropovitch). In July 2011, the city of Moscow announced plans to erect a statue of Rostropovich in a central square.

Awards and recognitions

Rostropovich received about 50 awards during his life, including:
  • Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance
    Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance
    The Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance has been awarded since 1959. The award has had several minor name changes:*From 1959 to 1960 the award was known as Best Classical Performance - Chamber Music ...

     (1984
    Grammy Awards of 1984
    The 26th Grammy Awards were held on February 28, 1984, and were broadcast live on American television. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the year 1983...

    )
    • Mstislav Rostropovich & Rudolf Serkin
      Rudolf Serkin
      Rudolf Serkin , was a Bohemian-born pianist.-Life and early career:Serkin was born in Eger, Bohemia, Austro-Hungarian Empire to a Russian-Jewish family....

       for Brahms
      Johannes Brahms
      Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

      : Sonata for Cello and Piano in E Minor, Op. 38 and Sonata in F, Op. 99
  • Polar Music Prize
    Polar Music Prize
    The Polar Music Prize is a Swedish international music award founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, possibly best known to be the manager of the Swedish pop group ABBA, with a donation to the Royal Swedish Academy of Music....

    , 1995
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society
    Royal Philharmonic Society
    The Royal Philharmonic Society is a British music society, formed in 1813. It was originally formed in London to promote performances of instrumental music there. Many distinguished composers and performers have taken part in its concerts...

     (1970)
  • Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
    Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
    The international Ernst von Siemens Music Prize is an annual music prize given by the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste on behalf of the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung , established in 1972. The foundation was established by Ernst von Siemens...

     1976
  • Sonning Award (1981; Denmark
    Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

    )
  • Citizen of Honor of Orenburg
    Orenburg
    Orenburg is a city on the Ural River and the administrative center of Orenburg Oblast, Russia. It lies southeast of Moscow, very close to the border with Kazakhstan. Population: 546,987 ; 549,361 ; Highest point: 154.4 m...

    , Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

     (1993)
  • Sharaf Order (Order of Honor) of the Republic of Azerbaijan
  • Istiglal Order
    Istiglal Order
    Istiglal Order , is an Azerbaijani award presented by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Istiglal means Sovereignty in Azerbaijani.-History and status:...

     (Order of Sovereignty) of Azerbaijan (March 3, 2002)
  • Honorary KBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 1987
  • In 1987, Rostropovich was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom
    Presidential Medal of Freedom
    The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

     by President Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

    .
  • Prince of Asturias Awards, 1997 (jointly with Yehudi Menuhin)
  • Citizen of honor of Vilnius
    Vilnius
    Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

    , Lithuania
    Lithuania
    Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

     (2000)
  • Konex Decoration granted by de Konex Foundation
    Konex Foundation
    Konex Foundation is an Argentine cultural non-profit organization created in 1980 to promote, stimulate, help, and participate in any form of cultural, educational, intellectual, artistic, social, philanthropic, scientific or sports initiative, work, and enterprise, in their most relevant aspects,...

     of Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

     in 2002.
  • Order of Service to the Fatherland, First Degree, for his "outstanding contribution to the development of world music and many years of creative activity," presented by President Vladimir Putin, February 26, 2007.
  • Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
    Beatrix of the Netherlands
    Beatrix is the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands comprising the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Aruba. She is the first daughter of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. She studied law at Leiden University...

     awarded him the rare Medal for Art and Science (Dutch: "Eremedaille voor Kunst en Wetenschap") of the House-Order of Orange.
  • Laurea ad honorem at the University of Bologna
    University of Bologna
    The Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna is the oldest continually operating university in the world, the word 'universitas' being first used by this institution at its foundation. The true date of its founding is uncertain, but believed by most accounts to have been 1088...

     in Political Science, 2006.
  • He was a recipient of Yale University
    Yale University
    Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

    's Sanford Medal.
  • Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music
    Royal Academy of Music
    The Royal Academy of Music in London, England, is a conservatoire, Britain's oldest degree-granting music school and a constituent college of the University of London since 1999. The Academy was founded by Lord Burghersh in 1822 with the help and ideas of the French harpist and composer Nicolas...

    , London.
  • The gold UNESCO Mozart Medal
    UNESCO Mozart Medal
    The UNESCO Mozart Medal is an award named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and administered by UNESCO.-Recipients:* Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, 1991* Alicia Terzian, 1995* Elfi von Dassanowsky, 1996...

    , 2007.

Further reading

  • Wilson, Elizabeth. Mstislav Rostropovich: Cellist, Teacher, Legend London: Faber & Faber, 2007. ISBN 978-0-571-22051-9

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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