On March 27-31, 2020 Moscow will welcome the Eleventh Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival: over the course of five days, major Russian and European orchestras along with “rising stars” and internationally acclaimed musicians will perform under the vaults of the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire. This celebration of music will close with the Russian début by the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Belgium.

The Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival was established in 2010 by the Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation for Cultural and Humanitarian Programs to commemorate this superlative musician who has made an invaluable contribution into shaping today's art landscape. According to numerous mass media, the Festival, founded and led by Olga Rostropovich, Honoured Art Worker of the Russian Federation, is a highlight of the Moscow concert season, “the quintessence of Olga Rostropovich's love towards her outstanding parents”, “a showcase of top musicians, conductors and European orchestras led by them”. Undoubtedly, the Festival 2020 will carry this tradition on.

Over the ten years of its history, the Mstislav Rostropovich Festival has hosted as much as 36 orchestras, 103 soloists, 14 choruses, and 39 conductors. The Festival boasted appearances by the LPO, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, as well as by conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Mariss Jansons, Christoph Eschenbach, Myung-Whun Chung, Antonio Pappano, Yuri Temirkanov, Vladimir Jurowski, and such soloists as Ramon Vargas, Matthias Goerne, Gidon Kremer, Nikolaj Znaider, Maxim Vengerov, Denis Matsuev, Rudolf Buchbinder, Lucas Debargue, Yuja Wang, Enrico Dindo, Truls Mørk, Alisa Weilerstein – to list just a few names that has graced the Festival’s program over its history. All in all, more than 100,000 people attended the Festival's concerts.

As always, the Festival solemnly opens on March 27th, Mstislav Rostropovich's birthday: on this date, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire will host the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov. Over many years, the two musicians had worked together and were connected by a heartfelt friendship – the fact that Maestro Temirkanov would always highlight. It has already become an established tradition for him and his orchestra to open the Mstislav Rostropovich Festival. “It would be underestimation to say they were friends”, Olga Rostropovich claims. “They shared the same vision”. This evening, the program will feature music by Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich, two men of extraordinary genius Rostropovich had deep personal connection with; he would not have imagined his musicianship without their music. Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 and Shostakovich's Violin concert No. 1 performed by Sergei Dogadin, the 1st prize winner of the Sixteenth Tchaikovsky International Competition, will mark these honorable bonds.

March 28th will see concert by the Camerata Salzburg, one of the most sought-after orchestras in the world. The core of its repertoire is constituted by the Viennese Classics, with particular focus on Mozart’s music. The concert will be dedicated to Beethoven’s works, as in 2020 the world celebrates the composer’s 250th anniversary: it will feature Coriolan Overture, Symphony No. 1 and Piano concert No. 5 where the orchestra will join forces with Rémi Geniet, the youngest 1st prize winner of the Beethoven International Competition, Bonn in history, and the silver medal winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Geniet gained international acclaim after the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, New York, 2015.

The Sinfonia Lahti, one of the most long-established Finnish orchestras founded in 1910, will make its Festival appearance on March 29th. Based in a small Finnish town, the orchestra has succeeded in coming into international prominence due to relentless efforts of its musicians, with particular emphasis laid on promoting works by Finnish composers. The concert will feature Symphony No. 5 and Symphonic poem En saga, one of the most popular composer’s works. After the intermission, Truls Mørk, Norwegian cellist and a Grammy winner, will play Elgar’s Cello concert. Mørk has already appeared at the Festival twice, to the audience’s excitement. Back in 2015, he reassured the Muscovites he would be definitely back very soon, as following Mr. Mørk’s conviction, Maestro Rostropovich had been his major musical influence. Dmitry Slobodeniouk, the principal conductor of two orchestras – the Sinfonia Lahti and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, as well as Artistic Director of the Sibelius Festival – will take the conductor’s podium that night.

March 30th will see the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, a Swiss symphony orchestra based in Lugano, play Mozart’s Overture to Così fan tutte, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 (“Italian”) as well as Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major. It was Mstislav Rostropovich to discover Haydn’s scores at the Prague’s University library thus revealing it to the whole world; the solo will be performed by Daniel Müller-Schott, a German cellist awarded the 1st prize at the First International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in 1992, who for more than two decades has been fascinating the audiences with his breathtaking interpretations. The program will be performed under Michel Tabachnik, acclaimed Swiss conductor and composer.

On March 31st, the Festival’s Closing Concert will be marked by the Russian debut by the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Belgium, as well as for the first Russian appearance by the acclaimed Brazilian conductor and composer John Neschling, Arnold Schoenberg’s grand-nephew, currently Artistic Director of the Orquestra Sinfônica Municipal de São Paulo. The program will boast The Accursed Huntsman, a symphonic poem by Franck; Bachianas Brasileiras No. 9 by Villa-Lobos, as well as Don Juan, a symphonic poem by Richard Strauss. Moreover, the program will include Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major played by the celebrated Argentinian pianist Nelson Goerner, a frequent guest to the major international concert halls.

This year, the Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival will be celebrated in Moscow for the eleventh time; as usual, its program meets the highest artistic standards once set by Artistic Director Olga Rostropovich. According to Ms. Rostropovich, when working at the programming she would always ask herself whether her father would approve one participant or other along with the compositions – this being her major criteria. “I am happy that for a week we can turn Moscow into the gathering point for the celebrated musicians from all over the world”.

© International Rostropovich Festival “Mstislav Rostropovich Week”, 2010 — 2020