Government of Moscow
Department of Culture, City of Moscow
The Rostropovich Foundation for Cultural and Humanitarian Programmes
On 27 March 2017 the Gala opening ceremony of the VIII Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival will take place at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire. The Festival was established in 2010 in memory of the superlative cellist and conductor, great citizen and public figure, under the artistic directorship of Olga Rostropovich.
The seven previous Rostropovich Festivals have seen the participation of over 30 orchestras, 90 soloists, 9 choirs, and 30 conductors in programmes enriched by works of many diverse genres, by performances of world-class musicians, and the debuts of young stars. In Moscow alone, the Festival has hosted not only the most renowned names on the internaional musical scene, but larger ensembles, first-rank orchestras and choirs. Since its inception, the Festival can boast of record audience numbers, with some 80,000 people in attendance at the concerts. Acclaimed by the general public, critics and the social media, the Festival has attained the status of an event of outstanding importance in the cultural life, not only of Russia, but throughout the world.
2017 sees the anniversary of Mstislav Rostropovich’s 90th birthday, an event which will be honoured throughout the musical world, and of which the Moscow Festival represents the culminating point of the celebrations. According to the concept of the artistic director, Olga Rostropovich, at the basis of this commemorative festival lies the interconnection between the cultures of four countries which assumed a particular significance in Rostropovich’s life and work: Russia, the USA, France and Japan.
The Gala Opening of the Festival takes place according to established tradition on the Maestro’s birthday, March 27. It will be celebrated with a performance given at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire by the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under its chief conductor, Yuri Temirkanov, in a programme made up of Jean Sibelius’ 2nd Symphony, and Maurice Ravel’s popular works, The Mother Goose (Ma mère l'Oye) Suite and La Valse.
The next programme in the Festival sees the first appearance in Moscow since 1993 of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington (D.C.), of which Mstislav Rostropovich was musical director for 17 seasons. And indeed it was at the head of this very orchestra that Maestro made his triumphant return to Russia in 1990, performing concerts in Red Square and at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, concerts that have gone down in history. At this year’s Festival, the NSO will perform two different programmes on 29 and 30 March in Moscow (the latter repeated in St. Petersburg on 31 March) under its current musical director, Christoph Eschenbach. The programme features Schubert’s 9th Symphony (29 March) and Shostakovich’s 8th Symphony (30 and 31 March). The brilliant young cellist, Alisa Weilerstein will join the NSO as soloist in Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 1 (written for and dedicated to Rostropovich) in the first programme, and in Edward Elgar’s concerto in the second.
The Festival continues on 2 April with a recital given by the world-renowned violinist, Maxim Vengerov, winner of countless prestigious prizes, including the Grammy Award. He will perform all three Brahms Sonatas with the pianist Polina Osetinskaya.
The Celebratory Closing concert of the VIII Rostropovich Festival takes place on April 4, where united musical forces of orchestras and choirs from Russia and Japan will come together on stage at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire to perform a programme of French music. The Yokohama Sinfonietta and Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus will be heard for the first time in Russia together with the State Academic symphony orchestra “Evgeny Svetlanov” and the Yurlov Academic State Choir. The concert features Maurice Ravel’s Two Suites from Daphne et Chloé and Fauré’s Requiem, conducted by Kazuki Yamada, the artistic director of the Yokohama Sinfonietta, whose international reputation has been growing rapidly over recent years. Yamada will be joined in Fauré’s Requiem by the soloists Jenny Davier (soprano), Rodion Pogossov (baritone), and Motoko Murozumi (organ).