EMI paid tribute yesterday (Nov. 1) to Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who celebrated 50 years recording for the company.

EMI paid tribute yesterday (Nov. 1) to Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who celebrated 50 years recording for the company.

In a rare appearance at a private party at EMI's London headquarters, Rostropovich was presented with a golden Neumann microphone and a plaque commemorating the 100 recordings he's made with the company since 1954.

EMI Group chairman Eric Nicoli described Rostropovich as "one of the world's most distinguished musicians," and "one of the world's most outspoken defenders of human and artistic freedom."

Although he has made occasional recordings for other labels, among them Philips and Deutsche Grammophon, Rostropovich has been closely associated with EMI Classics since he was first spotted by an EMI executive at the Edinburgh Festival in 1954.

In turn, Rostropovich presented EMI Classics and Jazz president Richard Lyttelton with a personal present to mark the executive's 30 years' service with EMI; Lyttelton received sheet music of a cello concerto by Shostakovich signed by Rostropovich.

Lyttelton joined EMI in 1974 and held various positions before taking the reins of the classical division in 1988.

Nicoli says Lyttelton's "impact at EMI Classics has been immense. He established and nurtured a first class roster of artists."