Russian Cellist and Conductor Rostropovich Marks 80th Birthday
Russia this week marks the 80th birthday of cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich with a commemorative concert and a Kremlin reception, The Associated Press reports.
Rostropovich was hospitalized in February, and the announcement that President Vladimir Putin had visited him and awarded a state medal raised wide speculation that Rostropovich was in his final days. His representatives have declined to comment on the reasons for his hospitalization, although some Russian newspapers reported he was being treated in the countryâ€˜s leading cancer clinic.
The Moscow Conservatory was holding a Rostropovich birthday concert on Monday with artists including the violinist Maxim Vengerov and the Borodin Quartet. News reports suggested it was unlikely Rostropovich would attend.
Rostropovich went into exile from the Soviet Union with his family in 1974 after housing dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn for four years. The cellist and his wife, the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, eventually lost their Soviet citizenship.
Rostropovich developed close musical relationships with three of the 20th centuryâ€˜s leading composers â€” Sergei Prokofiev, Benjamin Britten and Dmitri Shostakovich, his teacher. He commissioned dozens of works for cello from them and others.
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