Beginning with Pablo Casals, we have been blessed over the last 75 years or so with an enormous number of great cellists- and certainly Yo-Yo Ma is virtually a household name in America. And while I like Ma, my all-time favorite has easily always been Mstislav Rostropovich whose playing is generally far more virile and gutsy than Ma's. In surfing the intertubes I came across a powerful 30 minute documentary honoring Rostropovich's life, including some fascinating footage discussing the difficulties of his life under Soviet rule including his harboring of Solzhenitsyn.
I hope you will watch this film and learn more about a truly great musician and man. I especially love to watch him throw his whole body and soul into the music- there is no hesitation in his seizing of the day! Young musicians could certainly benefit by observing this man sing passionately through his instrument.
By the way, Rostropovich and his wife the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya (who passed away recently) formed the Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Foundation, a non-political, non-partisan organization whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of children in need through selected, sustainable, and transformational public health programs (the program continues under the leadership of their daughter and others.
These programs are nationwide in scope and focus on the following areas:
• Modernizing the routine vaccination of children by introducing vaccines recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO)
• Accelerating the elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases through large-scale vaccination initiatives targeting children, youth, women of child-bearing age, and at-risk health care workers.
• Screening and treating pregnant women to prevent perinatally transmitted diseases such as hepatitis B and HIV.
• Screening and treating children to eliminate intestinal parasites.
Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya
The strategy underlying Foundation programs is to create mechanisms of sustainability by strengthening the existing health care infrastructure and avoiding the establishment of parallel structures. The Foundation staff works with local health authorities to plan every aspect of the programs. Regular training and educational seminars for health care workers ensure that each program meets international standards. All programs are implemented by local health professionals. Foundation representatives monitor and assess progress and work with health authorities to solve problems as they arise. Each program is designed to be self-sustaining within 3 to 5 years from inception.
Visit this wonderful foundation's website here