The annual Rostropovich Festival in Baku,
Azerbaijan, honours the cellist, pianist and conductor Rostropovich. Many famous musicians and conductors have worked at the festival. This year John Mills of the English Chamber Orchestra was happy to be playing with Maxim Vengerov.
In Azerbaijan classical music attracts people of all ages and Maxim Vengerov is a big star. He met and worked with Rostropovich on several occasions: “For me Rostropovich was not only my great teacher and mentor but also a second father to me, he opened so many doors for me in music, he has helped to see the music from a different perspective, maybe from a more spiritual aspect.”
Rostropovich was born in 1927 in Baku but the family moved to Russia only a few years later. Rostropovich always loved his hometown however, saying “I am a Bakui. I was born here, my friends live here, Baku is my homeland and Baku is my home.”
Rostropovich’s daughter, Olga, is the Artistic Director of the festival and President of the Rostropovich Foundation.
Zubin Mehta came to Baku with the Italian Orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Mehta worked with Rostropovich at the New York Philharmonic.