Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich (March 27, 1927 – April 27, 2007), was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor.
He is considered by many to have been the greatest cellist of the second half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of all time. In addition to his interpretations and technique, he was well known for both inspiring and commissioning new works, which enlarged the cello repertoire more than any cellist before or since. He gave the premieres of over 100 pieces, forming long-standing friendships and artistic partnerships with composers including Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Henri Dutilleux, Witold Lutoslawski, Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Norbert Moret, Andreas Makris and especially Benjamin Britten.
Rostropovich was internationally recognized as a staunch advocate of human rights, and was awarded the 1974 Award of the International League of Human Rights. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya and had two daughters, Olga and Elena Rostropovich.