MOSCOW, March 28. /TASS/. Members of the Washington-based National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) are thrilled at the opportunity to perform in Russia for the first time since 1993, Deborah Rutter, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, said at a TASS press conference.
"I am thrilled to be here with my friends and colleagues from the National Symphony Orchestra, but most importantly, by invitation of Olga Rastropovich (the Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival’s art director)," she said. "There were no hesitation on the part of the musicians and the part of all of the trustees and patrons of the National Symphony Orchestra. We have 40 of them travelling with us… they’re very excited to be here. And many people speak today of the powerful moments of being here in 1990 and 1993, so this is a wonderful homecoming for the orchestra," Rutter added.
William Foster, an NSO member form the "Rostropovich era", in turn, said that "it is still Rastropovich’s orchestra." "He changed the whole sound of the orchestra. He changed the way the string section played, he made it such a committed and energetic sound and did a kind of a string-play that we have never experienced in most American orchestras," Foster added.
The National Symphony Orchestra will give three concerts during the eighth Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival. On March 29-30, the orchestra will perform in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, while the third concert will take place in the Grand Hall of St. Petersburg’s Shostakovich Academic Philharmonia. The orchestra will particularly play Picker, Elgar, Shostakovich and Schubert.
The Washington-based National Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1931, comprises 96 musicians. The orchestra gives around 150 concerts each year, particularly performing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It also takes part in presidential inaugurations and official holiday celebrations.
Prominent Russian musician Mstislav Rostropovich served as the orchestra’s music director in 1977-1994. In 1993, the NSO became the first symphony orchestra to ever perform in Moscow’s Red Square.
The program of the eighth Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival brings together four countries that were dear to the famous musician: Russia, the United States, France and Japan. According to Olga Rastropovich, the festival’s art director, while living in the United States, her famous father headed the National Symphony Orchestra for 17 years, France became the second homeland for Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife Galina Vishnevskaya after they left the Soviet Union, while Rostropovich was also very fond of the Japanese culture.
The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, headed by Yuri Temirkanov, opened the festival on March 27, marking Mstislav Rostropovich’s 90th birthday.
Japan’s Yokohama Sinfonietta orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus as well as the Moscow-based Evgeny Svetlanov State Academic Symphony Orchestra and the Yurlov State Academic Choir Capella will participate in the festival’s closing concert on April 4.