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After a brief cultural thaw under Khrushchev, during the Brezhnev era several outstanding musicians were expelled from the Soviet Union for political reasons. Among them were the renowned cellist Rostropovich and the opera singer Vishnevskaia. However, despite these instances of political interference in its development, Russias contemporary orchestral music continued to evolve new styles that rejected musical conventions. The more prominent representatives of this avant-garde trend are Edison Denisov, Sofia Gubaidullina, and Alfred Schnitke. 
Vladimir Vysotskiy

The restraints of the 1970s and 1980s stimulated a musical underground, called magnitizdat, which recorded and distributed forbidden folk, rock, and jazz works in small batches. Two notable figures in that movement were Bulat Okudzhava and Vladimir Vysotskiy, who set their poetry to music and became popular entertainers with a satirical message. Vysotskiy, who died in 1980, was rehabilitated in 1990; Okudzhava continued his career into the mid-1990s.

Jazz performances were permitted by all Soviet regimes, and jazz became one of Russia's most popular music forms. In the 1980s, the Ganelin Trio was the best-known Russian jazz combo, performing in Europe and the United States. Jazz musicians from the West began playing regularly in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. 

Mstislav Rostropovich

The Gorbachev era loosened the restrictions on émigrés returning. The pianist Vladimir Horowitz, who left the Soviet Union in 1925, made a triumphal return performance in Moscow in 1986, and émigré cellist Mstislav Rostropovich made his first tour of the Soviet Union in 1990 as conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. 

Russias mainstream classical music is represented today in the works of Rodion Shchedrin, Georgy Sviridov, Valery Gavrilin, Boris Tchaikovsky, and Mechislav Vainberg. Shchedrin is best known for his theater music. He is the author of the operas Not Only Love and Dead Souls, and the ballets The Little Humpbacked Horse, Carmen-suite, Anna Karenina, The Seagull and The Lady with the Dog. Sviridov and Gavrilin are well known for their choral pieces, whereas Boris Tchaikovsky and Vainberg continue the tradition of Russian symphonic and chamber music. 

Western popular music has always discreetly crept into Russia in one form or another. The availability of relatively inexpensive cassette tape recorders in the 1970s marks that period as a starting point for its growing appeal there. Around that time rock groups began to appear in urban centers, but their performances were usually restricted to small, underground venues. After the beginning of perestroika Russia was invaded by conventional rock music. This genre became a medium through which the younger generation attempted to express its feelings and aspirations, as well as its attitude toward life. In the 1990s, much of Russia's rock music lost the innovative and satirical edge of the late Soviet period, and experts noted a tendency to simply imitate Western groups.

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