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.

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