Mstislav Rostropovich

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 [...]