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Mstislav Rostropovich (1927 - 2007)

Both Mstislav Rostropovich’s parents were musicians: his mother was an accomplished pianist, and his father, a distinguished cellist, had studied with Casals. In 1931 his family moved to Moscow. Here his mother began to teach him the piano, and his father introduced him to the cello soon afterwards. He continued to study under his father’s tuition at the Central Music School in Moscow and then when he was sixteen went on to the Moscow Conservatory, where in addition to his cello and piano studies he began to conduct. His composition teachers at the conservatory included Prokofiev and Shostakovich, and Rostropovich became a life-long champion of both composers. In 1945 he shot to prominence overnight as a cellist when he won the gold medal in the first-ever competition in the Soviet Union for young musicians. Thenceforth, despite his battles with the Communist authorities, he became one of the central figures of Soviet musical life, inspiring audiences, cellists and composers alike.




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