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90th Birthday of Mstislav Rostropovich and the Tenth Anniversary of His Death

“Music is my hobby”, Mstislav Rostropovich is once rumoured to have said in his wonderfully charming and often so cheerful manner. Rostropovich played with body and soul; he was a complete musician who was interested to the same degree in composers, conductors, interpreters, pupils and students, as well as organizers. On 27 March 2017 we shall celebrate the 90th birthday of Mstislav Rostropovich and also commemorate the tenth anniversary of his death.

Rostropovich died on 27 April 2007 in Moscow, just one month after his 80th birthday.

“I am the happiest person”, Rostropovich once confessed. “No person experienced what I experience, but I was prepared for everything.” Composers from all over the world, but especially the Russian composers of the 20th century wrote over 70 works dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich. In the years 1950 to 1952, for example, Sergei Prokofiev wrote the Sinfonia concertante for Violoncello and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 125, in close collaboration with Rostropovich, who was also the soloist at this work’s celebrated Moscow premiere. Prokofiev’s incomplete Concertino for Violoncello and Orchestra, Op. 128 was finished by Rostropovich after the composer‘s death.

Dmitri Shostakovich was no less impressed by Rostropovich’s unique cello playing. Unlike Prokofiev, however, he did not allow the cellist to see the score until he had finished the last note of his Violoncello Concerto No. 1. Alfred Schnittke dedicated his Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra No. 2 to Mstislav Rostropovich, whom he described as “one of the few guiding figures in the present-day musical world”.


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