Press Release

“Mstislav Rostropovich’s life and career demonstrate some of the values that Americans and Russians both hold dear.  We should honor the maestro’s memory by keeping that in mind as we deal with Russia today.” 
Jack F. Matlock, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Moscow (1987-1991), Advisory Board member of the International Firebird Arts Foundation. 

To honor the Maestro’s memory and his impact on the Washington DC cultural scene, the International Firebird Arts Foundation and the Rostropovich Foundation ”Fund to Support Young Talented Musicians” will host a series of public events October 12-16, 2008. These events will bring together the Washington cultural establishment and marks the first appearance of the new Russian Ambassador.  

A Gala dinner will be hosted by the Russian Ambassador at the Russian Embassy on Tuesday, October 14. Former US Ambassadors and prominent businessmen will attend. The musical program consists of performances by the National Symphony Orchestra musicians, Washington Choral Society, and opera singers from the Vishnevskaya Opera Center in Moscow. Olga Rostropovich, daughter of the late Maestro, will introduce the program.  

A concert by the recipients of Rostropovich Commemorative Scholarships will be held at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater on Wednesday, October l5th.  Patricia O’Kelly, spokesperson for the National Symphony Orchestra will open the evening.

The performers, whose ages range from ll to 27, are some of Russia’s finest young musicians and have performed in concerts throughout Europe.  In their first performance in Washington, D.C., they will pay homage to their mentor at the Kennedy Center, where the Maestro directed the National Symphony Orchestra for 17 years. 

The final event, “An evening of Remembrances,” will be hosted by the Librarian of Congress. Dr. James H. Billington. Graciously sponsored by the Government of Azerbaijan (Baku was the the birthplace of the Maestro), this event highlights the life and work of Mstislav Rostropovich through an extraordinary photographic exhibit from the Rostropovich Museum in Baku.  The evening will also include the viewing of the l991 Emmy Award winning documentary “Soldiers of Music: Rostropovich Returns to Russia.”  The title comes from Rostropovich himself recalling some advice from Dmitri Shostakovich: “We are all soldiers of music…stand firm, play to the end.”  Featured in the film are Peter Gelb, Managing Director of the Metropolitan Opera and Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes.” 

International musicians and other members of the cultural elite have lent their names to a week of special celebrations honoring Maestro Rostropovich.  Among them are, Galina Vishevskaya Thomas Hampson, Ignat SolzhenitsynYuri Temirkanov, Yuri BashmetLeif Ove AndsnesMaksim Shostakovich, Michael Kaiser, President of the Kennedy Center, Neale Pearl of the Washington Performing Arts Society, Norman Scribner, Director of the Washington Choral Arts  Society and Honorary Chairman Esther Coopersmith.  

Further  information on the Tribute to Maestro Rostropovich can be found on 

Press contact: Enid Burki, Director of Media, International Firebird Arts Foundation, (301) 365-2737