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Mstislav Rostropovich: The Last Superstar Of Classical Music

By Justin Davidson, Contributor

In 1943, Mstislav Rostropovich, already a famously incandescent young cellist but an indifferent pianist and composer, sat down at a keyboard in the Moscow Conservatory and banged nervously through a piano concerto he had written. He had an audience of one: Dmitri Shostakovich. The composer was noncommittal about the piece, but he became Rostropovich's neighbor, regular collaborator and close friend. It was one of the most significant meetings in 20th-century musical history. Shostakovich dedicated both… more »