By Laman Ismayilova
Mstislav Rostropovich is recognized as one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. The legendary cellist left a significant mark in the world of classical music.
Starting from 2007, a festival dedicated to the eminent musician is annually held in Baku. The 10th International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival solemnly opened in Baku on April 22.
The event is co-organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Culture Ministry and the Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation, Trend Life reported.
The event was attended by prominent public figures, representatives of diplomatic missions, famous cultural and art figures, and numerous fans of classical music.
In his speech, the Minister of Culture Abulfas Garayev noted that the International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival is held for the 10th time, and its organization has become a good tradition in the cultural life of the country.
The minister expressed his gratitude to the First Vice-President of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and the head of the Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation Olga Rostropovich for the initiative and organization of the festival.
Garayev also stressed that the Rostropovich family left a significant mark in the history of Azerbaijani music. Mstislav's father, Leopold Rostropovich helped in the formation of a music school at the beginning of the 20th century, while Mstislav Rostropovich made a great contribution to musical culture in the late 20th century - early 21st century.
Then, the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra appeared on the stage. The orchestra was conducted by Rauf Abdullayev. The soloists were the Russian violinist Sergey Krylov and French pianist Alexander Kantorov. The concert featured Beethoven's "Egmont" overture, "Violin Concerto" by Tchaikovsky as well as Brahms' "Piano Concerto No. 2".
The 10th International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival will last until April 27. The festival brings together world-famous musicians from Azerbaijan, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, etc.
Concert programs will be held at the Heydar Aliyev Palace, Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall, Baku Academy of Music, and the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater.
Born in Baku, Mstislav Rostropovich was internationally recognized as a staunch advocate of human rights. He was awarded the 1974 Award of the International League of Human Rights.
Rostropovich was a huge influence on the younger generation of cellists. Many have openly acknowledged their debt to his example. In the Daily Telegraph, Julian Lloyd Webber called him "probably the greatest cellist of all time."
He inspired and premiered over 100 pieces and formed long-standing artistic partnerships with such prominent composers as Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Henri Dutilleux, Witold Lutoslawski, Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Norbert Moret, Andreas Makris and Benjamin Britten.
A five-time Grammy Award winner, he has become one of the leading conductors of the West.
He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, who was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1966. They performed together regularly.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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