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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rostropovich Honored

MOSCOW () -- Russian cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, who turns 70 on Thursday, has been honored with a new award by Russian President Boris Yeltsin for "merit to the Fatherland."

Yeltsin, in a presidential decree, praised Rostropovich's "great personal contribution to the evolution of art and music," Itar-Tass reported.

Rostropovich, who left Russia under the Soviet regime but returned to join Yeltsin defending the Russian parliament against a coup in 1991, will celebrate his birthday with a private gala concert at the Champs Elysees Theatre in Paris.