The World’s Greatest Cellist and a Cold Glass of Water


mstislav rostropovichOne night many years ago while working at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., a friend of mine was ill and couldn’t make it into work.  He asked me if I, for one night, could take over for him as dresser for Mstislav Rostropovich.

Rostropovich didn’t need help dressing that night, thank god for that.  I was to prepare a pitcher of water and hand him a glass of water just before he went on stage.

Rostropovich arrived, and I was ushered in to meet him.  He was silent but very sweet.

When he was dressed I handed him the water and just before he left the dressing room, he turned and asked, “How’s the bow-tie?” “Straight” I replied.

He smiled and went on, I smiled and went home.

At the time of these events, I was working as a coordinator for a classical music competition at the Kennedy Center. When the news got round that I had been a one-night stand dresser it caused a minor scandal.  Hey, a guy’s gotta help a pal in need.

Next, Summer, Tennessee Williams, smoke and a good bar.