Third International Rostropovich Festival Pages 12-14

Some of the world´s top musicians and conductors performed in Baku in December during the Third International Rostropovich Festival.

Highlights of the festival included Azerbaijani composer Firangiz Alizada´s Tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich, the New Russia symphony orchestra conducted by Yuri Bashmet and Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth playing with the English Chamber Orchestra. Christian Badea, Maxim Vengerov, Rauf Abdullayev and Paul Watkins were among the festival´s distinguished conductors.

Azerbaijani musicians also featured strongly, with performances by pianist Murad Adigozelzade, tenor Samir Jafarov and baritone Elchin Azizov, who is a soloist with the Bolshoi in Moscow.

The festival´s opening ceremony took place at the Muslum Magomayev State Philharmonia on 8 December.

Azerbaijan´s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Abulfaz Qarayev, and the artistic director of the festival and president of the Rostropovich Foundation, Olga Rostropovich, opened the festival. Olga Rostropovich said that she thought of Baku as her home town and thanked the Azerbaijani people and leadership for the respect shown to her father and his work.

The festival was organized jointly by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Azerbaijan´s Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation. Its aim was to bring world-class musicians to perform in Rostropovich´s home country.

Minister Abulfaz Qarayev said that the festival was the initiative of Azerbaijan´s first lady, Mehriban Aliyeva, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, goodwill ambassador for UNESCO and ISESCO and a member of the Milli Majlis.

Azerbaijani People´s Artist Firangiz Alizada performed her Tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich on the opening night. The Uzeyir Hajibayli State Symphony Orchestra performed works by Uzeyir Hajibayli, Qara Qarayev, Fikrat Amirov, Oqtay Zulfuqarov, Puccini and Rachmaninov. The orchestra was conducted by People´s Artist Rauf Abdullayev.

A documentary entitled Soldiers of Music: Rostropovich´s Return to Russia was screened at the event.

The festival lasted until 14 December and featured symphonies, an opera and chamber music.

On 12 December, a special concert of classical music was held, entitled Tribute to Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan´s former president.

Performers met at a special event at the Leopold and Mstislav Rostropovich House Museum. Upon the initiative of the director of the museum, Shayla Heydarova, and Honoured Artist Ismayil Mammadov, a portrait gallery of participants in the festival has been created and is to be exhibited at the museum.