Czech classical musicians are among those mourning the passing of Russian cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich who died in Moscow at the age of 80 on Friday. Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Zdenek Macal, and the director of the Prague Spring Festival Roman Belor, stated Mr Rostropovich was one of the greatest figures in classical music in the second half of the 20th century, with Mr Macal praising Mr Rostropovich as an "excellent musician, conductor, as well as a humanist and fantastic person". Cellist Jitka Vlasankova on Friday recalled memories of Mr Rostropovich conducting a charity concert in London in the 1980s.
The Russian conductor and performer had close ties to Prague and the Czech Republic: after the Soviet-led invasion of 1968 he said he would not perform in Czechoslovakia again until the last Soviet solider had left. Mr Rostropovich kept his word and performed in Prague in 1991, nine days after the last troops departed.
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