FanFaire celebrates...
                             MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH: GREAT MUSICIAN, GREAT MAN
FAREWELL THE MAN HONORS PREMIERES DISCS EARLY RECORDINGS SLAVA & FRIENDS VIEWER TRIBUTES

FAREWELL, MAESTRO!





photos courtesy of:
NY PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
( Chris Lee),
CAMI (Ronald Wilford),
DEUTSCHE GRAMOPHONE


The world recently bid farewell to the great cellist, conductor and humanitarian MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH who passed away on April 27, 2007 in Moscow following a long illness, and a month to the day after celebrating his 80th birthday.

His was a life lived like no other: for years in the punishing limelight of Cold War politics, he served MUSIC with unsurpassed artistry, FREEDOM with extraordinary courage and both certainly without compromise.

We at FanFaire count ourselves fortunate to have had the honor of meeting the Maestro in private albeit briefly, but long enough to have caught a whiff of his exuberant personality as well as a sense of the inner man, and to have snuggled to the genuine warmth of his fabled Russian bear hugs.

Yes, his passing is marked with sadness, but the man, his life and his music will never cease to be a cause for celebration. 

Below are some of the highlights of his illustrious life. If you have something to add and would like to submit it for inclusion, CLICK HERE. You are also invited to REVISIT FanFaire's tribute to Rostropovich on his 70th birthday.

TIMELINE of a LIFE WELL-LIVED:
 
1927 born Mstislav Leopoldovich March 27, Baku (Azerbaijan, USSR) to Leopold Rostropovich (cellist) and Sofiya Nikolaevna Fedotov (pianist)
   
early 1930s began piano lessons with his mother, later cello lessons with his father
   
mid 1930s family moves to Moscow, Mstislav enters Gnesin Institute
   
1940 makes orchestral debut with Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto with the orchestra of Slavyansk in Ukraine
   
1943 enters Moscow Conservatory where he studied cello with Semyon Kozolupov and composition with Dimitri Shostakovich and also, later with Sergei Prokokiev
   
1945 wins gold medal in first Soviet Union competition for young musicians
   
1947 wins first prize in Prague international music competition
   
1948 graduates from Moscow Conservatory with highest honors
   
1949/1950 wins first prizes in Prague and Budapest international music competitions
   
1950 receives Stalin Prize
   
early 1950s goes on numerous concert tours in the USSR
   
1952 collaborates with Prokokiev in revision of Sinfonia Concertante
   
1953 completes Prokokiev's unfinished Concertino Op 132 with Dmitri Kabalevsky
   
1955 marries Galina Vishnevskaya, leading soprano of Boshoi Opera
   
1956 is appointed Professor of Cello, Moscow Conservatory of Music; makes British début with Dvorák Concerto under Hugo Rignold at the Royal Festival Hall; makes NY recital debut at Carnegie Hall
   
late 1950s gains international fame with numerous recital/concert engagements
   
1960 gives first British performance of Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No 1 Op 107 which had been written for him; meets Benjamin Britten, marking the beginning of a lifelong friendhip with the British composer
   
1963 Britten composes Cello Symphony for Rostropovich; later, three suites for unaccompanied cello and Sonata for cello and piano
   
1964 premieres Britten's Cello Symphony in the USSR
   
1965 plays a cycle of concerts in London of works by composers ranging from Vivaldi to Shostakovich
   
1968 begins conducting career in USSR at Bolshoi Opera with Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, with his wife singing Tatyana
   
1970 records Eugene Onegin in Paris; writes an open letter to leading Soviet newspapers and magazines in support of  writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, protesting restrictions on cultural freedom
   
1974 makes British conducting debut with the New Philharmonia Orchestra; is driven to exile with his family after sheltering Solzhenitsyn, eventually settling in the US
   
1975 makes US conducting debut with the National Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera; acquires the Stradivari "Duport" cello which once belonged to Jean Louis Duport, solo cellist to Napoleon
   
1976 becomes Director of Aldeburgh Festival following founder Benjamin Britten's death
   
1977 becomes musical director of National Symphony Orchestra and begins numerous engagements as guest conductor of orchestras all over the world
   
1978 is stripped of Soviet Union citizenship
   
1980 declines offer of citizenship by Gorbachev
   
1983 founds Rostropovich Festival in Evian, France
   
1985 RiverRun, a symphony written for Rostropovich by American composer Stephen Albert wins Pulitzer Prize
   
1987 receives honorary Knighthood of the British Empire (KBE); meets Gorbachev in White House
   
1989 gives impromptu, on-the-spot-concert in Berlin shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, marking the collapse of the Soviet Empire
   
1990 Soviet citizenship is restored; takes the National Symphony to Moscow and Leningrad
   
1991 appears in Moscow with Yeltsin in defiance of the coup plotters against Mikhail Gorbachev; records all six of Bach's Cello Suites at the Basilique Sainte-Madeleine, in Vézelay (France); founds the in Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation for the Health and Future of Children Washington, DC., with offices in Russia; purchases homes in Moscow and St. Petersburg
   
1992 TV documentary “Soldiers of Music: Rostropovich Returns to Russia” released on video in 1992.
   
1993 tours Russia again with the National Symphony and Ignat Solzhenitsyn, pianist and son of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; free concert in Red Square is attended by 100,000 people, marking the beginning of regular concert appearances in Russia
   
1994 steps down as Director of the National Symphony Orchestra
   
1995 his recording of Bach Cello Suites is released on CD and video
   
1997 offers regular master classes in Baku
   
1999 returns to Berlin to celebrate 10th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall
 
2004 Leopold and Mstislav Rostropovich Home-Museum opens
   
2005 announces retirement from the concert stage as cellist
   
early 2007 is hospitalized; Kremlin celebrates his 80th birthday on March 27; dies April 27; is laid to rest April 29 at the Novodevichy Cemetery following funeral services at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

 

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Background music clip is from Camille Saint-Saens' Cello Concerto No. 1 performed with the Symphony Orchestra of the All-Union Radio, Grigory Stolyarov, conductor from the retrospective album of early recordings: MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH, (DGG, 00289 477 6505 rel 2007).



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