On 27 March–4April, Moscow and St. Petersburg hosted the VIII Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival, established in 2010 to celebrate the memory of the superlative cellist and conductor, great citizen and public figure

Following the tradition, the Grand Hall of the Conservatoire became the main festival venue; however, this year the Festival expanded beyond Moscow: one of its concerts took place at the Grand Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonia.

The VIII Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival was definetely a priceless gift for the whole musical community to celebrate the Maestro's 90th birthday anniversary. Olga Rostropovich, Artistic Director of the Festival, managed to realize in its full the main idea behind this year programming: to bring together four countries – Russia, the United States, France and Japan, which took special place in both personal and artistic life of Mstislav Rostropovich.
On March 27, the birthday of the Maestro, the Festival opened with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov performing Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 and Ravel's Ma mère l'Oye and Valse at the Grand Hall of the Conservatoire. Read more...

On 4th April, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire hosted the Closing Concert of the VIII Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival

On 4th April, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire hosted the Closing Concert of the VIII Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival, with French music performed by the Yokohama Sinfonietta, the Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo, the State Academic Orchestra “Evgeny Svetlanov” and the Yurlov State Academic Choir

According to the idea of the Festival's Artistic Director Olga Rostropovich, the final concert brought together musical cultures of the three countries that took special place in both personal and artistic life of Mstislav Rostropovich: French music performed by Japanese and Russian ensembles. This brilliant synthesis of cultures symbolizes what the great Maestro celebrated and promoted through all his life, the boundless power of music that unites different nations and human hearts. The night started with a moment of silence to honour the victims of the Saint Petersburg tragedy. Read more...

On 2nd April , the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire hosted a concert by Maxim Vengerov

The famous violinist, whose mastery and impeccable technique is recognized all over the world, has already appeared at the Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival; tonight he performed the complete Brahms' violin sonatas accompanied by the virtuoso pianist Polina Osetinskaya.

Maxim Vengerov appears at the best world venues with major orchestras and conductors. Besides, he recorded an extensive violin repertoire and received a number of recording awards including two Grammy awards. Vengerov holds also an intense teaching activity: he is a Professor at the Yehudi Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland and at the Royal College of Music in London.

According to Maxim Vengrov, he was lucky to have performed and worked together with the great Maestro Rostropovich; recordings of concerts by Britten and Walton performed by Wengerov with the London Symphony Orchestra under Mstislav Leopoldovich won the 2004 Grammy Award for «The Best Performance of Instrumental Solo Accompanied by an Orchestra». According to Vengerov, Mstislav Leopoldovich always was his mentor; it is thanks to the Maestro that he became a professor of music and decided to enter the conductor's profession. «If it were not for him, I probably would not have become a musician». Mstislav Leopoldovich «expanded my ideas about music and introduced me to such composers as Shostakovich and Prokofiev as if they were still alive, and I actually met with them,» Wengerov said. Read more...

Concert on March 31

On March 31st, the Eighth Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival continued in St. Petersburg, where Alisa Weilerstein and the National Symphony Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach performed at the Grand Hall of the Philharmonia. The NSO last came here in February 1990, giving two concerts under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich. After 27 years, Festival's Artistic Director Olga Rostropovich organized a special concert in St. Petersburg to celebrate the memory of the first NSO's tour in Russia, when the Maestro also brought the orchestra first to Moscow and then to the northern capital of Russia, St. Petersburg.

The great public acclaim that musicians received in Moscow repeated in St. Petersburg, where for the third evening in a row the audience gave standing ovations to the orchestra, which still features musicians who started their careers under Mstislav Rostropovich. As the local public admitted, the major orchestras like this are not frequent visitors in St. Petersburg, therefore the auditorium was completely sold out and the audience filled in every single aisle. Alisa Weilerstein brilliantly performed one of the most appreciated works of the cello repertoire, Elgar's concert; the second part of the concert boasted a powerful and dramatic rendition of Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony, which the NSO performed also in 1990 under Mstislav Rostropovich.

For the rest of the concerts the Festival is coming back to Moscow: on 2nd April the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire will host Maxim Vengerov performing the complete Brahms' Violin Sonatas with pianist Polina Osetinskaya,

On 30th March the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire hosted the second concert by the National Symphony Orchestra

To open the concert, the NSO musicians once again repeated Old and Lost Rivers by contemporary American composer Tobias Picker. Then, in the first part of the performance, Alisa Weilerstein offered a virtuoso rendition of Elgar's Cello Concerto.
Before the beginning of the concert, in the interview with the Kultura Channel, the soloist told how she met Mstislav Rostropovich. «I think that Rostropovich played a huge role in the life of every cellist and in fact in every musician's life. I grew up on his recordings, he was one of my musical idols. I played for him only once, in 2004, when I was 22 years old and was about to finish school. I had the chance to play for Rostropovich thanks to Maxim Vengerov, with whom I performed and who is my wonderful friend. I played for the Maestro Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No.1. Rostropovich made a very strong impression on me telling about the unique way of performing Shostakovich's music. He was so close to me that his foot was almost touching the tail pin of my cello, so there were no secrets for him. It was an incredible and exciting experience, to play a piece that was written specifically for him. I will never forget this». In addition, Alisa Weilerstein admitted that it is a great honour for her to perform for the second time at the festival organized by Olga Rostropovich, as this is a wonderful occasion to pay tribute to the legendary musician.
The second part of the concert opened with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 8. Mstislav Rostropovich conducted this masterpiece on various occasions at the major international venues. For the second night in a row the audience gave a standing ovation, to express their appreciation and gratitude to the NSO musicians and Maestro Eschenbach. The audience was rewarded with Sibelius' Valse triste played as encore.
As soon as tomorrow, on 31st March, the National Symphony Orchestra will perform in St Petersburg, repeating tonight's programme at the Grand Hall of the St.

On 29th March the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire hosted a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO)

The American orchestra returned to Russia after a long while: last time the Russian audience could enjoy its sound in 1993, when the orchestra gave its historic concert in Red Square under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich.

Within the Mstislav Rostropovich Festival, the NSO will perform twice in Moscow and once in St. Petersburg, at the St. Petersburg Philharmonia. Some of the orchestra's musicians played in the orchestra during Mstislav Leopoldovich's tenure; for them, the opportunity to return to Russia and play at the Festival in honour of the Maestro's 90th birthday anniversary is a great joy. According to cellist William Foster, the time when Rostropovich first conducted the NSO, was the epic moment of the NSO's cellist musical career. Musicians of the NSO remember with reverence and gratitude «the Rostropovich era», which changed once and forever the orchestra's sound, turning the NSO into the one of the major American and international orchestras. Read more...

On 28 March, a press conference dedicated to the appearance of the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) at the Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival was held at the TASS Information Agency in Moscow

At the beginning of the press conference, the Festival's Artistic Director Olga Rostropovich expressed her delight at the arrival of the NSO, highlighting that this orchestra was especially dear to Mstislav Rostropovich, and that he would be happy to see them again in Russia. Maestro remained the Music Director of the NSO for 17 years; that time became an important period for the orchestra and was called the «Rostropovich era»; it was crowned by a tour to Russia, when the NSO, under the Maestro, performed for the first time in history in Red Square.

Olga Rostropovich said that the organization of the NSO's performance at the Festival required serious work for two years. It was a kind of project in the project, taking a lot of effort and resources. Olga Rostropovich thanked for the support the Chairman of the Board of the Joint-Stock Company EPK Mr. Moskalenko, and of course, the Government of Moscow and personally Sergei Sobyanin, the Mayor of Moscow. She also expressed her special gratitude to the management of the National Symphony Orchestra, who immediately accepted the invitation to Russia. Read more...

Opening of the Eighth Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival was held on 27 March at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire

Before the opening ceremony, Olga Rostropovich donated to the Moscow State Conservatoire the bust of Mstislav Leopoldovich created by the People's Artist of the Russian Federation Alexander Rukavishnikov. This sculptural image symbolizes the close connection of the Maestro with the Conservatoire: here Rostropovich studied in the early 40s, then performed with triumph and brought up a whole galaxy of brilliant cellists; in these walls his last Russian concert was held in 1974 before his forced emigration, and it was here that he triumphantly returned in 1990 with the National Symphony Orchestra. This is the eighth time that the Conservatoire becomes the main concert venue of the Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival.

The night opened with a speech by Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets. She greeted the guests gathered at the Grand Hall of the Conservatoire, including Natalia Solzhenitsyna, Irina Antonova, Makvala Kasrashvili, Yuri Bashmet, Maestro's colleagues and admirers of his unique gift. Olga Golodets noted that the VIII Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival was «a worthy sign of the memory and respect of the great Maestro and that Olga Rostropovich is a worthy successor of her parents». According to Olga Rostropovich, the Festival is a unique contribution to the development of modern musical culture.

Olga Rostropovich, Artistic Director of the Festival also greeted the guests of the evening, expressed her great gratitude to the Government of Moscow and the Moscow State Conservatoire for their help in organizing this event. «We are all soldiers of music, as my father liked to say. I want to believe that we continue his mission and serve great music», she said to conclude her speech.

A real gift for the guests of the evening was the screening of the film about Mstislav Rostropovich. Rare shots from the personal archive of the Maestro and his family, recordings of Mstislav Leopoldovich's best speeches, interviews with his colleagues and friends filled the opening of the Festival with an amazing atmosphere and created a feeling of the Maestro's invisible presence among the guests.

The festival opened with a performance by one of the major Russian orchestras, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov, that played works of Sibelius and Ravel.

The festival will continue on March 29 with the performance of the Washington National Symphony Orchestra at the Grand Hall of the Conservatoire.

A press conference dedicated to the appearance of the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), USA at the VIII Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival will be held on the 28th March at the TASS Information Agency

It is the first NSO's appearance in Moscow since 1993 when it gave its epoch-making concert in Red Square under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich, NSO's Music Director for 17 years, as part of the Russian tour. The appearance of one of the major US orchestras at the Mstislav Rostropovich Festival is an event which importance goes far beyond the world of music as it has a universal cultural impact.

The press conference will be attended by:
Olga Rostropovich, Artistic Director of the Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival;
Debora Rutter, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts;
Nurit Bar-Josef, NSO's Concertmaster;
Bill Foster, NSO's cellist who performed with the orchestra under Mstislav Rostropovich.

The press conference starts at 2pm.
For accreditation please call Mstislav Rostropovich Festival's press office at: +7 (495) 637-31-78; or mail at: opera-centre@mail.ru

A press conference dedicated to the VIII Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival was held on the 2nd March at the TASS Information Agency

Artistic Director Olga Rostropovich introduced Festival's programme, its highlights and participants as well as other events and cultural initiatives foreseen this year to celebrate Maestro's 90th Birthday Anniversary. The press paid particular attention to the Festival's highlights – performances by the National Symphony Orchestra, USA, and the Russian debut of the two Japanese ensembles, the Yokohama Sinfonietta and the Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo.

 

© International Rostropovich Festival “Mstislav Rostropovich Week”, 2010 — 2017