Many stories were told and instead of the audience (the Washington DC Area Cello Society) sitting down in the seats, Rostropovich asked if everyone would just sit around him on the stage. [There were maybe 30 people?] I sat in the bassoon section.
The talk started with how long it took him to learn the Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto and about the creation of it (including several tangents of personalities, other stories, and his life in general), his friendship and work with Benjamin Britten (including a famous curtsy and the Three Cello Suites), the Shostakovich Second Cello Concerto (with a long prelude about Prokofiev), a question I asked about recent Polish premieres (Penderecki, Panufnik - his response included passion of new music), and a political question.
As folks filed off stage, Wendy Warner took a student of hers and myself backstage to meet Rostropovich. Wendy's student presented him with an original painting she had made of Shostakovich. I asked about an interview - he was saddened (not understaning English very well) that it was his last day and impossible to do - it was almost 7pm. I suggested with prodding that this Fall would be acceptable - which seems like it will work out. Keep an eye out here.
We then went and grabbed our tickets, got some dinner at the KC Cafe and went the concert.