Rostropovich in Satisfactory Condition
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: February 7, 2007
Filed at 5:32 a.m. ET
MOSCOW (AP) -- Cellist-conductor Mstislav Rostropovich was in
satisfactory condition Wednesday at a hospital and improving,
his spokeswoman said.
The renowned 79-year-old musician was taken to a Moscow hospital
because of an unspecified illness and was visited Tuesday by
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"He has gotten a bit sick but he will be OK," said spokeswoman
Natalia Dollezhal, who added that Rostropovich's condition was
"He is getting ready for his anniversary," she said, declining
to elaborate or provide further details.
Rostropovich, one of the world's greatest cellists and a human
rights advocate, is turning 80 in late March and a big celebration
is being prepared, according to his managers.
On Tuesday, Rostropovich's manager in New York said the cellist
was hospitalized last week in Paris, where he maintains a
residence, and then decided to return to Moscow.
"It does not look good," said Ronald Wilford, chairman of Columbia
Artist Management Inc. and Rostropovich's manager for 35 years.
Rostropovich went into exile from the Soviet Union with his
family in 1974 after housing dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn
for four years.
After going into exile, the Soviets stripped him of his citizenship.
When hardline communists tried to overthrow then-President Mikhail
Gorbachev in 1991, Rostropovich rushed to the Russian parliament
building to oppose the coup.
Three years after his exile, he became music director of the
National Symphony Orchestra in Washington. He held that the
position until 1994 and retains the title conductor laureate.
Rostropovich developed close musical relationships with three
of the mid-20th century's leading composers -- Sergei Prokofiev,
Benjamin Britten and Dmitri Shostakovich, his teacher. He
commissioned dozens of works for cello from them and others.
Rostropovich had an operation in the fall, but weeks later
conducted two concerts in Japan celebrating the 100th anniversary
of Shostakovich, Wilford said.