The Kennedy Center

A Salute to Slava

Mstislav Rostropovich – globally recognized both for his formidable musical gifts and as an ardent advocate for human rights – was music director of the National Symphony Orchestra from 1977 until 1994. His tenure proved to be one of the most glittering periods in the life of the NSO thus far, and saw the introduction of the signature projects that remain an important part of the NSO's life to this day. One example is the John and June Hechinger Commissioning Fund for New Orchestral Works in 1982; this has led to the creation of more than 60 works by more than 50 American composers, including two Pulitzer-Prize winners. The American Residencies, which would take the NSO to 21 states, began during his time, with Alaska and Louisiana.

Touring was a prominent part of Rostropovich's tenure with the NSO: extensive travel around North and South America, four European Tours, the NSO's first visits to Asia, and, in 1990, Rostropovich's triumphant return, at the helm of the NSO, to Russia after 16 years in exile for defending human rights. The capstone, the 1993 Russian visit in which the NSO became the first orchestra ever to perform in Red Square, ensured that the Rostropovich/NSO partnership was one heard around the world. Rostropovich's time as music director had placed the NSO on the artistic map as never before.

Noseda conducts orchestra

Noseda conducts Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet
Thursday, November 3, 2016 - Saturday, November 5, 2016

In his first concert as the NSO's Music Director Designate, conductor Gianandrea Noseda leads Prokofiev's complete ballet score inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

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Gideon Kramer

Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony / Kremer plays Weinberg
Thursday, January 26, 2017 - Saturday, January 28, 2017

NSO Music Director Christoph Eschenbach conducts Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony and Gidon Kremer in Weinberg's Violin Concerto—both celebrated works by Slava's dear friends.

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Noseda conducts orchestra

Weilerstein plays Shostakovich / Schubert's Ninth Symphony
Thursday, March 9, 2017 - Saturday, March 11, 2017

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein returns to perform Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto, a work written for Slava himself. Led by NSO Music Director Christoph Eschenbach, the program also includes Schubert's Symphony No. 9, "Great," and Tobias Picker's Old and Lost Rivers.

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James Conlon

Prokofiev's Piano Concerto / Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony
Thursday, April 6, 2017 - Saturday, April 8, 2017

James Conlon conducts three cherished works by long-time colleagues and collaborators of Slava's: Britten (Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes), Prokofiev (First Piano Concerto featuring the NSO debut of pianist Lise de la Salle), and Shostakovich (Symphony No. 5).

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Moscow, March 29 & 30, 2017
St. Petersburg, March 31, 2017

Eschenbach conducts orchestra

Music Director Christoph Eschenbach leads the NSO on a 3-concert tour to Russia as part of the Rostropovich Festival's celebration of Slava at 90. These concerts mark the first time an American orchestra has participated in the festival. Three concerts—two in Moscow, one in St. Petersburg—feature repertoire from the Salute to Slava programs in Washington, including appearances by cellist Alisa Weilerstein in Elgar's Cello Concerto and Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto, as well as Schubert's Symphony No. 9, "Great;" Shostakovich's Symphony No. 8, and Tobias Picker's Old and Lost Rivers.


Support A Salute to Slava

To learn more about supporting A Salute to Slava, please refer to the A Salute to Slava Sponsorship Brochure or contact Jennifer Renner, the NSO's Director of Development, at (202) 416-8071.

Contact the NSO

  • National Symphony Orchestra
    John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    2700 F Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20566
    Phone: 202-416-8100
    Fax: 202-416-8105

    Mailing Address:
    P.O. Box 101510
    Arlington, VA 22210