Cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich has died at the age of 80.
He was the music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, for many years, and I spent many an evening in the 1980s enjoying the NSO under his baton. I had the opportunity, also, to see him play cello several times. I have recordings of his performances with the NSO, and of him playing cello in everything from Bach and Haydn to Prokofiev and Shostakovich. I think tonight will be Slava night on the Leiba stereo.
His nickname, Slava, is short for Mstislav, of course, but it's also the Russian word for “glory”. He certainly brought a great deal of glory to music. Rest in peace, Slava.