The International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival in Moscow, which first took place in 2010, was created to honor the memory of a great musician without whom it is impossible to imagine the modern world of the arts.
Organizers of the festival are the Government of Moscow and the Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation for Cultural and Humanitarian Programs, with support from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. The Maestro’s daughter, Olga Rostropovich, is the festival’s artistic director. The gala opening concert will take place, as it did last year, on March 27, the birthday of Mstislav Rostropovich, and will be held in Tchaikovsky Concert Hall.
Mstislav Rostropovich was a great patriot and throughout his life glorified Russia and its culture. Therefore, it is of special importance that the festival, with its enormous significance to Russian culture, is taking place in Moscow, where the Maestro spent so many years studying, teaching, playing and conducting
Participants in this year’s festival include Zubin Mehta, leading the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Yury Bashmet, as conductor of the Novaya Rossiya State Symphony Orchestra, violinist and conductor Gidon Kremer, together with the Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra, and pianist Denis Matsuev.
The gala opening concert will bring conductor Christoph Eschenbach to the podium in a performance with the Russian National Orchestra of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Reflecting the assistance that Mstislav Rostropovich gave throughout his life to young musicians, a significant part of the festival program will be devoted to the artistry of the newest generation of performers. Three festival evenings will be devoted to ballet, an art form that the Maestro loved and often conducted.
Appearing in Moscow for the first time in more than 50 years, the world-renowned American Ballet Theatre will bring to the stage of the Bolshoi Theater a program comprising two classics from its repertoire, George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, to music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, to music of Leonard Bernstein, plus a recent ballet by Alexei Ratmansky, titled Seven Sonatas and danced to music of Domenico Scarlatti, and the world premiere of a ballet, to music of Johann Sebastian Bach, honoring Mstislav Rostropovich and created especially for the festival by Benjamin Millepied.
“In a arranging the festival program,” said Olga Rostropovich, “I wanted it to be, on the one hand, a present from the Maestro to Moscow, bringing with it performances by superb musicians who were among his close friends.
On the other hand, the festival is intended as a present to the Maestro himself, for whom the love and kindness of the Moscow public were always particularly meaningful and important.”