Mstislav Rostropovich

Biography

Born: March 27, 1927; Azerbaijan   Died: April 27, 2007; Russia  
Mstislav Rostropovich was one of the great cellists, and one of the leading conductors, of his time. His performances in both arenas were characterized by a direct and strongly emotional style, and the often turbulent events of his life, including exile from his native Soviet Union, often resonated with his music making. His father, Leopold, was an acclaimed cellist and his mother was a professional pianist. In 1931, the family returned to Read more Moscow, where Leopold taught at the Gnesin Institute. Taught by his father from the age of three, "Slava" gave his first recital at eight. He entered the Central Music School in 1939, remaining until 1941. In 1943 he entered the Moscow Conservatory. He studied cello with Semyon Kozolupov and composition with Vissarion Shebalin and Dmitri Shostakovich. He became a musical secretary to composer Sergei Prokofiev, and helped persuade the composer to rewrite his failed cello concerto in E minor as the Symphony-Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 125, one of the major masterpieces for the instrument.

Rostropovich won the International Competition for Cellists in Prague in 1950, and began to concertize throughout Russia. His first appearance in the West was in Florence in 1951. He married Galina Vishnevskaya, the star soprano of the Bol'shoi Opera. The couple found themselves at odds with the authorities for the first time, since she was then being amorously pursued by Soviet President Nikolai Bulganin, who canceled their long-planned 1956 tour of the West. But Bulganin was losing power to Party Secretary Khrushchev, and the tour was reinstated, allowing Rostropovich to debut in London at the Festival Hall in March and at Carnegie Hall in New York in April. He was immediately hailed as a great international star.

Returning to the U.S.S.R., Rostropovich found composers clamoring to write for him. The greatest of them, Shostakovich, wrote both his cello concertos for him. When the cellist brought the first concerto to the West for the first time, he premiered it on LP in a magnificent recording with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, beginning a great discography of Western recordings. On the same tour, English composer Benjamin Britten attended the London premiere of the concerto, initiating another great musical friendship with Rostropovich that led to Britten writing five masterpieces for the cello (three solo suites, a sonata, and the Cello Symphony), and a song cycle for Galina.

In 1969, Rostropovich protested official mistreatment of the writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn in a letter that circulated in the West, embarrassing Soviet officials. Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya saw their scheduled concerts suddenly cancelled, and the soprano was expelled from the Bol'shoi roster. In 1974 the government granted their request to visit the West for two years, then exiled them by revoking their Soviet citizenship. Rostropovich became invisible at home, but a major star in the West. He bought the famous "Duport" Stradivarius. In September he made a London conducting debut with the New Philharmonic Orchestra and in March debuted with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C. He was appointed its music director in 1977.

In 1990 Soviet President Gorbachev reversed the Rostropovich's expulsion, resulting in an emotional return documented in the film "Soldiers of Music." When Russian President Boris Yeltsin stood up to Soviet military power, Rostropovich rushed to stand beside him in the events that led to the collapse of Soviet power. He then stepped down from leadership of the Washington orchestra, but appeared as cellist and conductor around the world. He made his first recordings of Bach's six cello suites in 1991, the result of a lifetime of study. He was a major force in inspiring new cello works from the great composers of his time. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 173 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    50 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002596702 Release Date: 12/02/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Bedrich Smetana,  Johannes Brahms,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  David Garrett,  Hélčne Grimaud,  Max Richter,  Daniel Hope  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel,  Rafael Kubelik,  Herbert von Karajan,  André de Ridder  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Konzerthaus Kammerorchester Berlin  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 2.
    Kremer: Complete Concerto Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002582102 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Alban Berg,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer,  Heinz Holliger,  Mischa Maisky,  Rainer Keuschnig  ... 
    Conductor:  Gidon Kremer,  Pierre Boulez,  Sir Colin Davis,  Emil Tchakarov  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Sviatoslav Richter: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 557828 Release Date: 10/21/2016   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alban Berg  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  David Oistrakh,  Oleg Kagan  ... 
    Conductor:  Yuri Bashmet,  Lorin Maazel,  Herbert von Karajan,  Riccardo Muti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto,  Orchestre de Paris,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $54.98
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  • 4.
    Tishchenko: Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto & Suzdal / Sero, Leningrad Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Northern Flowers   Catalog: 9967 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Boris Tishchenko
    Performer:  Viktor Liberman,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Anastassiya Tischenko,  Anatoly Manukhov  ... 
    Conductor:  Eduard Serov,  Igor Blazhkov
    CD: $17.99
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  • 5.
    Mstislav Rostropovich Plays Prokofiev
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 250337 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Alexander Dedyukhin
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $22.99
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  • 6.
    Emerson String Quartet: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002514572 Release Date: 07/15/2016   Number of Discs: 52
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Béla Bartók,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Wincenc,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Thomas Hampson,  Menahem Pressler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
    On sale! $167.98
    CD: $139.99
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  • 7.
    Chopin: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon / Argerich
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002512302 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Mischa Maisky,  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
    CD: $29.99
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  • 8.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall (Selected Highlights)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 530420 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Paul de Schlözer,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Ronald Turini,  Artur Rubinstein,  Jorge Bolet,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Arturo Toscanini,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra of St. Luke's
    CD: $11.99
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  • 9.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503227 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roy Harris,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Bruno Walter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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  • 10.
    The Originals: 8 Legendary Albums
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002469802 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff,  Martha Argerich,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Anne-Sophie Mutter  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlos Kleiber,  Claudio Abbado,  Rafael Kubelik,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $27.49
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  • 11.
    Debussy: String Quartet; Ravel: String Quartet, Introduction & Allegro; Britten: Cello Sonata
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1296 Release Date: 02/05/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Osian Ellis,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Borodin String Quartet,  Melos Ensemble London
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  • 12.
    C.P.E. Bach, Vivaldi, Tartini: Cello Concertos / Rostropovich
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553992 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
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  • 13.
    111: 6 Classic Recordings [6 LP]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002438901 Release Date: 01/15/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Robert Schumann,  Antonín Dvorák,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Karl Ridderbusch,  Hans Haselbock,  Julia Hamari  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Herbert von Karajan,  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir  ... 
    LP: $130.99
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  • 14.
    Emil Gilels - The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002436502 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Edvard Grieg,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Norbert Brainin,  Peter Schidlof,  Martin Lovett  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum,  Karl Böhm,  Dmitri Kabalevsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet members,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 15.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 16.
    Dutilleux: The Centenary Edition
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 553029 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Henri Dutilleux
    Performer:  Joel Esher,  Jordan Swaim,  Rachael Plotkin,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Paavo Järvi,  Charles Munch,  Georges Prętre,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sine Nomine String Quartet
    CD: $32.49
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  • 17.
    Brahms: Double Concerto
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552981 Release Date: 11/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    CD: $9.99
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  • 18.
    Itzhak Perlman: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552439 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 77
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Ray Still,  Samuel Sanders  ... 
    Conductor:  Lawrence Foster,  Daniel Barenboim,  Itzhak Perlman,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    Dutilleux, Lutoslawski: Cello Concertos
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552131 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Dutilleux,  Witold Lutoslawski
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Serge Baudo,  Witold Lutoslawski
    CD: $12.99
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  • 20.
    Tchaikovsky: Masterworks Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002362102 Release Date: 09/04/2015   Number of Discs: 27
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Rosemarie Lang,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Ruthid Engert-Ely,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Seiji Ozawa,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Dresden,  Tchaikovsky Choir,  French National Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 21.
    Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 2; Sextet
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1295 Release Date: 07/24/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Genrikh Talalyan
    CD: $9.99
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  • 22.
    A Romantic Portrait: Dvora, Schumann, Tchaikovsky
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350112 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
    SuperAudio CD: $24.99
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  • 23.
    Seiji Ozawa: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564613951 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin,  Béla Bartók,  Zoltán Kodály  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Michel Béroff,  Masuko Ushioda  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris,  Japan Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 24.
    Shostakovich Plays Shostakovich
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564615501 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
    CD: $15.99
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  • 25.
    Sviatoslav Richter - Complete Decca, Philips & DG Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002236002 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Mikhail Kopelman,  Valentin Berlinsky,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Wislocki,  Kurt Sanderling,  Witold Rowicki,  János Ferencsik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moragues Woodwind Quintet members,  Borodin String Quartet,  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $167.98
    CD: $148.99
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