Russian newspapers have been full of tributes to world-famous cellist, conductor and humanitarian Mstislav Rostropovich, who died in Moscow April 27th following a long illness.
Three weeks before his death, and only one week after he’d celebrated his 80th birthday, RIA Novosti news agency reported that Rostropovich had been hospitalised at Moscow’s Blokhin cancer institute for a routine procedure.
He returned to Blokhin two weeks later but the tributes appearing in the Moscow papers were beginning to read more like obituaries as it became obvious the great musician was close to taking his final bow.
Since ‘74, Rostropovich had become one of the leading conductors in the West. He was music director the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., and a regular guest conductor for The Berlin Philharmonic, The Boston Symphony Orchestra, The London Symphony Orchestra and The London Philharmonic.