Mstislav Rostropovich

Conversation with Julian Lloyd Webber (July, 2004)

Interview by Tim Janof Widely regarded as one of the most creative musicians of his generation, Julian Lloyd Webber has collaborated with an extraordinary array of musicians, from Yehudi Menuhin, Lorin Maazel, Neville Marriner, and Georg Solti to Stephane Grappelli, Elton John, and Cleo Laine. Julian's twenty-year partnership with Philips/Universal Classics has produced many outstanding recordings, including his Brit-Award winning Elgar Concerto, conducted by Yehudi Menuhin (chosen as the finest ever version by BBC Music Magazine), the Dvorák Concerto with Vaclav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic, Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations with the London Symphony under Maxim Shostakovich, and a coupling of Britten's Cello Symphony and Walton's Concerto with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, which was described by Gramophone magazine as "beyond any rival." Julian [...]

Conversation with Robert Cohen (December, 2000)

Interview by Tim Janof British cellist Robert Cohen is firmly established as one of the world's leading soloists. His career takes him on major tours of the USA, Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the UK, performing with conductors such as Abbado, Jansons, Marriner, Masur, Muti, Rattle, and Sinopoli. Cohen made his concert debut at London's Royal Festival Hall playing a Boccherini concerto at the age of 12. His prodigy was nurtured by the great pedagogue William Pleeth. He also took part in classes with Jacqueline du Pré, André Navarra, and Mstislav Rostropovich. At the age of 19, after winning several major international competitions, he made his recording debut -- Elgar's cello concerto with Del Mar and the London Philharmonic -- which received several awards and has [...]

Conversation with Steven Doane (August, 1994)

Interview by Tim Janof Mr. Doane is on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music. TJ: At what point did you decide that you would dedicate your life to music? SD: When I was in my second year in high school, I told my parents that I wanted to train to be a professional cellist. They asked my cello teacher if he thought I would be able to make it. He said, "I don't know if he'll be another Piatigorsky, but he should be able to make a living." Of course I was disappointed that he didn't say I was going to be another Piatigorsky, but my parents were reassured. I ended up studying with Richard Kapuscinski at Oberlin. Then I went to Stony Brook for a couple of [...]

Conversation with Wendy Warner (June, 2000)

Interview by Tim Janof The international music world first took note of Wendy Warner when she won First Prize in the Fourth International Rostropovich Competition in Paris in 1990. Later that year, Ms. Warner made her debut with the National Symphony Orchestra and Mstislav Rostropovich, and the next year she was the featured soloist on their North American tour. Rostropovich also engaged her for a tour of Germany with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra in 1991, making her debuts in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Koln, Dusseldorf, and Berlin. For Rostropovich's 70th birthday celebration concert in Kronberg, Germany, she was invited to perform in recital and with orchestra, and later played the Vivaldi double concerto with him at Reims, France. In addition to her tours with Rostropovich, Ms. Warner toured with the Moscow Virtuosi [...]

Conversation with Natalia Gutman (October, 1999)

  Interview by Tim Janof Natalia Gutman was born in Kazan, Russia, and started to play the cello at the age of 5. In 1964, having already won the International Tchaikovsky Competition, she entered the Moscow Conservatory to study with Mstislav Rostropovich. Her First Prize in the 1967 Munich ARD Competition marked the beginning of her international career. Since then she has performed with the leading orchestras of the world, and with conductors such as Sawallisch, Muti, Abbado, Haitink, Svetlanov, Temirkanov, Celibidache, and Masur. She regularly appears with the most important summer festivals in Europe.   Oleg Kagan and Sviatislov Richter were among Ms. Gutman's regular chamber music partners until their recent deaths. Richter once expressed his admiration for her by saying, "… she is an incarnation of truthfulness in [...]

Conversation with Mstislav Rostropovich (April, 2006)

Interview by Tim Janof Mstislav Rostropovich is internationally acclaimed and acknowledged as one of the world's greatest living cellists. He has given countless memorable performances and has inspired the world's leading composers to enlarge and enrich the standard cello repertoire with works specially composed for and dedicated to him. These include works by Britten, Bliss, Khachaturian, Lutoslawski, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Rostropovich was soloist in the premieres of Prokofiev's second Cello Concerto in 1952, Shostakovich's two Cello Concertos in 1959 and 1966, Britten's Cello Symphony in 1964 and Bliss's Cello Concerto in 1970. Many other works have been written for him and today his repertoire includes more than 50 concertos, ranging from the baroque, through the classical and romantic periods, to the avant-garde. As a cellist, Rostropovich is noted for his [...]

The Britten Cello Suites (Part 1) — by Aron Zelkowicz

Cellists have as much reason as anyone to celebrate the upcoming Benjamin Britten centenary, if not more so.  The five major cello works he wrote for Mstislav Rostropovich – the sonata, the Symphony Concerto, and the three solo suites – have been taken up in short order as standard repertoire.  By my unofficial count there are twenty recordings of the complete cello suites on the market, not to mention sixteen “incomplete” cycles of one or two suites here and there.  So it can be easy to forget that this music hasn’t been around for very long.  Those of us of a certain age can remember relics like the individually published suites, each score with its distinctly colored cover.  Or Rostropovich’s classic 1970 LP titled, rather definitively, “Britten: The Suites for [...]

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