On 5th April Tchaikovsky Hall hosted the closing gala of the V Mstislav International Rostropovich Festival. It started with pianist Nicholas Angelich and the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski performing Brahms’s Concerto No. 2, and continued after the intermission with Bruckner’s Symphony No. 2

The LPO was the first British orchestra to come on tour in Russia, behind the ‘Iron Curtain’, back in 1956. Many musicians can recollect Mstislav Rostropovich, who used to perform with the LPO under Carlo Maria Giulini. Two years ago the orchestra already took part in the Rostropovich Festival, and Maestro Jurowski eagerly agreed on returning to Moscow. As for Nikolas Angelich, it was his debut in Moscow, and he left the audience thrilled by his manner of interpretation and top professional skills.

Looking back at the Festival, the music community unanimously acknowledged its highest level, calling it one of the season’s highlights. Following an established tradition, next Festival, sixth in a row, will open on Mstislav Rostropovich’s birthday – 27th March 2015, at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire.

On 4th April the V International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival presented one of its highlights – the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski performed Britten’s War Requiem at Tchaikovsky Hall

The great English composer of the 20th century enjoyed close friendship with Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya, which gave to the world numerous music works of various genres. The Requiem also featured soloists Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Ian Bostridge, Matthias Goerne, the Chamber Orchestra conducted by Neville Creed (UK), joined by the Boys’ Choir of the Sveshnikov Choral School and the Yurlov State Academic Choir.

The first performance of Britten's War Requiem took place on 30th May 1962 in Coventry, with the soprano’s part originally intended for Galina Vishnevskaya who was to appear at the première. However, Galina Vishnevskaya was prohibited from leaving for England by the Soviet authorities for political reasons, and it was only in 1966 that she made her appearance at the Moscow première of the War Requiem. This event, as well as the friendship that tied the great musicians, became subject of a specific exhibition in the foyer of Tchaikovsky Hall, which featured the highlights of friendship and artistic life of Rostropovich, Vishnevskaya and Britten: rehearsals, artistic discussions, concerts, joint visits and travels, as well as music manuscripts and letters.

In his introductory address, Vladimir Jurowski dwelled on the history of the War Requiem and some Britten’s life highlights, stressing that this is one of the composer’s most significant works, and essentially “an antiwar requiem that all concert’s participants dedicate to those who unfairly lost and still lose their lives at a time when there seems to be no war.” Also, Vladimir Jurowski thanked Artistic Director Olga Rostropovich for the invitation to take part in the Festival and especially in such an important event as the Requiem.

The concert was attended by such honored guests as the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Olga Golodets, as well as other politicians and public personalities.

On 5th April Tchaikovsky Concert Hall will host the closing gala of the V International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival, which will be celebrated by the Bruckner’s Symphony No. 2 and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and soloist Nicholas Angelich (USA) and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.

On 3rd April the Tchaikovsky Hall of Moscow hosted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) under maestro Stéphane Denève, performing Lemminkäinen Suite and Violin Concerto in D minor by Sibelius with violinist Nikolaj Znaider, and Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony

It was the first ever concert by both the SWR and maestro Denève in Moscow in all the 70 years of the orchestra’s history. From the very first bars the orchestra took the audience’s breath away with its renowned ‘Stuttgart Sound’, initiated by the greatest conductor Sergiu Celibidache, Artistic Director of the SWR in the 1970s. Nikolaj Znaider, one of the most acclaimed violinists of our age, has been also widely known as a conductor, which definitely added to his unique style of interpretation. The public was reluctant to let him leave the stage and so was rewarded with two encores – Sarabandas from Bach’s Partitas.
The Fourth Bruckner’s Symphony in the second part of the concert was highly praised by the music lovers, as the orchestra testified to the fact that it holds sacred Bruckner’s symphonic traditions, boasting also great rapports within the orchestra as well as an outstanding quality of interpretation. “I am really fond of this orchestra. I enjoy working with them, as they are really friendly and open to experiments. I also love their sound. They are Germans, which means a deep quality of sound, but at the same time they are from the south Germany, which gives a softer, lyric touch to their sound”, – maestro Denève said, adding that it is a great pleasure being part of the Rostropovich Festival.

On 4th April the V Mstislav Rostropovich Festival continues with The London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski performing Britten’s War Requiem at Tchaikovsky Hall.

On 31th March the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire saw the second concert by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France as part of the V Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival

First part of the concert featured overture from Der Freischütz by von Weber and Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major by Haydn. Although Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk got a shoulder injury short before the concert, he refused to cancel his appearance at the Rostropovich Festival, for he considers himself Maestro’s ‘musical grandchild’: Mørk studied under Natalia Shakhovskaya and Frans Helmerson, alumni of Rostropovich. In his interview to the Orpheus Radio he claimed that, “soon after I started my cello lessons, I moved to the very nord of Norway where concerts were rare, but likely I had few recordings by Maestro Rostropovich, and they inspired me tremendously... I met maestro just twice in my life… he has been so important in my musical development, and also brought me to the Russian type of sound, I would say – maybe it’s my personal impression, but there was something particular in the way how he brought out particular beauty and power in the sound.”
The second part of the concert saw the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Myung-Whun Chung perform Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. The public burst into particularly long applause thrilled by the flawless artistry and a powerful energy of maestro and his orchestra.
The Festival will see its following concert on 3rd April with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra under Stéphane Denève at the Tchaikovsky Hall, joined by the violinist Nikolaj Znaider.

On 30th March the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire saw a concert by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Myung-Whun Chung as part of the V Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival, with programme featuring the overture from Le carnival romain by Berlioz, Piano Concerto No. 1 by Ravel with the pianist Plamena Mangova, and Pictures from an Exhibition by Mussorsky orchestrated by Ravel

It was from the very first bars that the orchestra’s artistry took the public’s breath away, while Plamena Mangova’s performance was literally sensational, with the public bursting into an endless applause and so awarded with as much as four encores. The public was no less generous in praising orchestra’s artistry under maestro Myung-Whun Chung. As maestro put it, “Mstislav Rostropovich was the greatest musician ever. I am well familiar with Olga Rostropovich as time ago we were fellow students at the Julliard School. And now I happen to meet her after all these years! As for the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, I have been with it for fourteen years and know the musicians pretty well, and I can claim firmly that they are the best French musicians, but what strikes me about them even more than their professional skills are their wonderful human qualities…. And this is how I call them – ‘my angels’, for they are really wonderful people, and this shines through their music. And above all, to me as a conductor it is a special pleasure to perform in this Hall almost 40 years after I stepped on this stage as pianist at the Tchaikovsky competition. And this is a real delight to be part of this Festival.”

On 31th March the Festival continues with another concert by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Myung-Whun Chung, which will feature Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk.

On 29th March the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire hosted the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev as part of the V Mstislav Rostropovich Festival

The first part of the concert saw the Orchestra’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor play solo in the Mozart’s Concert No. 24. This extraordinary event, ultimately so rare to happen, was welcomed enthusiastically by both public and music professionals, and after the intermission was followed by the Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 2. Maestro’s extraordinary performance has given another proof of his striking artistry, both as pianist and conductor, as well as testified to his orchestra being one of the world top orchestras.

According to Maestro Pletnev, he extensively collaborated with Mstislav Rostropovich. “I did several recordings with him, and to me he was a legend, an artist who linked generations through his amazing personality. The generation of composers like Shostakovich and Prokofiev, whom he knew personally, and my generation… I think, with the years his impact will multiply its value, as he has left an important mark in the history of music.”
The Festival will continue on 30th March with the Orchestre Philarmonique de Radio France under Myung-Whun Chung and the pianist Plamena Mangova.

On 28th March the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire saw the Russian première of Orango, an unfinished opera by Dmitri Shostakovich, performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra (London) under Esa-Pekka Salonen within the contest of the V Mstislav Rostropovich Festival

The manuscript of Orango was discovered by musicologist Olga Digonskaya at the Glinka Museum in 2004. For the Russian première, the orchestra joined forces with soloists Sally Silver, Allan Clayton, Steven Page, Henry Waddington, Daniel Norman, and Alexander Markeev, along with the Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir. After the intermission, the Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Salonen played Shostakovich’s Forth Symphony. Read more...

The festive opening of the V International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival

The grand opening of the V International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival took place on March 27 at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.

«Five years ago we set ourselves an ambitious task — to let the Moscow audience so beloved by Mstislav Rostropovich, the audience who loved him so much, to listen to all the best that exists on the world music scene... Today, on the threshold of the fifth Festival, I am happy, pride and fully responsible for my words saying that, despite the difficulties, and there are quite a few of them, we keep this level and will keep it,»- has said Olga Rostropovich, the Festival’s artistic director, in her welcoming speech.

This year's Festival presents eight concerts to be held in the Great Hall of the Conservatory and the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. The best symphony orchestras, soloists and conductors from the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Belgium, Norway will arrive to Moscow. «This proves the high status of the Festival, and that music always brings together all the people around the world. So it was, is and will be,» — said Olga Rostropovich. She thanked the Moscow Government and the Ministry of Culture for their support of the Festival, and everyone in the hall — for the memory of Mstislav Rostropovich, the great musician and person.

The Festival was opened by the London orchestra «Philharmonia» under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, who performed brilliantly Beethoven’s Symphony No 3  and Symphony No 5 by Sibelius.

On March 28 the «Philharmonia» orchestra together with the Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir will present the Russian premiere of the unfinished opera «Orango» by Shostakovich; then, the concert will continue with Symphony No 4 by Shostakovich.

A Requiem Service for Mstislav Rostropovich will be celebrated on Thursday 27 March at 1 p.m. at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Main Church)


At an official ceremony to be held at 1.00 pm on March 18th, a memorial plaque to Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich will be unveiled at no 16, Kutuzov Embankment in Saint Petersburg

Many important events in Mstislav Rostropovich's life are associated with the city of Leningrad/St Petersburg: the premières of works dedicated to the Maestro by the composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten; his memorable performances, amongst them the brilliant concerts within his remarkable «cycle of cello concertos»; his Professorship at the Leningrad State Conservatoire, where he taught a whole generation of brilliant musicians; his many benefit concerts where he raised money for various charitable causes : the Pushkin House Foundation, refugees from the Chechen War, the construction of a Home for War Veterans in the town of Pushkin, the funding of a statue raised to Dmitri Shostakovich. And it was here in St Petersburg in 2006, (the centenary year of Shostakovich's birth) that Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya created the museum dedicated to their great teacher and friend.
Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya moved into the house on the Kutuzov Embankment in 1994, and it was here that they decided to transfer their priceless archive. The decision to place a memorial plaque on the building was taken by the Government of Saint Petersburg 2009. Created by a team of artists -the sculptor Rustan Igamberdiev, the architect Anton Medvedev and the artist Aleksandr Dodon, this memorial plaque will constitute another page in the great historical chapter of the city's musical life.

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