Penn Library

Eugene Ormandy
A Centennial Celebration

Curated by Marjorie Hassen
Otto E. Albrecht Music Library
University of Pennsylvania

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Orchestral Premieres: Dmitrii Shostakovich's Cello Concerto

One month following the initial Moscow performance of Dmitrii Shostakovich's Cello Concerto in October 1959, both the composer and soloist Mstislav Rostropovich arrived in Philadelphia for the United States premiere on 6 November. The concerto was part of a program that included works by the Russian composers Dmitri Kabalevsky and Tikhon Khrennikov and Americans Henry Cowell and Roger Sessions, all of whom were present in the Academy of Music that afternoon.

Ormandy (2nd from left), Rostropovich, and Shostakovich
listening to a playback during a recording session for the Cello Concerto
November 1959
Photographer: Adrian Siegel

Rostropovich's performance of the work, which was written for and dedicated to him, was a critical success. As Edwin H. Scholoss wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer the following day, "his technical equipment is nothing less than astounding . . . and his taste and musicianship were in evidence at all times." The concerto was recorded the following week for release by Columbia Records, along with the composer's 1st Symphony.

Dmitrii Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Concerto, violoncello and orchestra (1959)
Holograph reproduction
Conducting score, marked for performance by Ormandy

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Last update: Thursday, 16-Jun-2011 14:00:19 EDT
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