RRC Blog

This Day in Curtis History… and Beyond!

Posted by Kristina Wilson on 3/27/20 10:41 AM

Mstislav "Slava" Rostropovich-Promotional Photo

Happy birthday to Mstislav "Slava" Rostropovich! The Russian cellist and conductor was born on March 27, 1927 in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan. Considered one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century due to his interpretations and technique, he was also well known for both inspiring and commissioning new works, which enlarged the cello repertoire more than any cellist before or since. These collaborations led to long-standing friendships and artistic partnerships with composers including Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Berio, Penderecki, Bernstein, Khachaturian, and Britten. Rostropovich was also a staunch advocate of human rights and, in 1974, was given the Award of the International League of Human Rights.

The Curtis Institute was fortunate to enjoy a long association with Rostropovich stemming from his close friendship with pianist Rudolf Serkin. Serkin, a renowned pianist and Curtis director from 1968-1976, often invited Rostropovich to Philadelphia to lead master classes and conduct the CSO in both rehearsals and performances. These frequent visits to Curtis eventually led to Rostropovich joining the cello faculty in 1990, where he taught for five years.

See a program of Rostropovich conducting the CSO here: https://archive.org/details/recitalprograms1989curt/page/n21/mode/2up

Also on this day:

1868: Patty Smith Hill, American composer, teacher and songwriter (Happy Birthday to You), born in Anchorage, Kentucky

1924: Sir Walter Parratt, British composer, dies at 83

1931: Yoriaki Matsudaira, Japanese composer, born in Tokyo

1952: Singin’ in the Rain, a musical starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, premieres at Radio City Music Hall in New York

Topics: Curtis Archives and Library, History