Maestro of the Spirit

Ever since I was a boy in Siberia, I knew of Maestro Rostropovich as a legendary cellist and conductor whose generous personality inspires everyone. After the deaths of master violinist Yehudi Menuhin and beloved conductor Leonard Bernstein, it's Mstislav Rostropovich, at 77, who is the world ambassador of classical music — the last of that generation who can communicate music's wonder. He's like my grandfather. He's my hero. And I call him my angel, because he supports me as a mentor and we have more than a musical friendship.

Growing up the Soviet city of Baku, he always...

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