Mstislav Rostropovich had a short career as a smuggler in the 1960s, secretly transporting not gold or drugs but Shostakovich's 13th Symphony, "Babi Yar."

This music ruffled Soviet authorities even in 1962, a year of liberalization. The symphony is actually a song cycle using five poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko that deal with such subjects as anti-Semitism, the hardships of life under Stalin and defiance of authority. In 1970 Rostropovich, one of the few Soviet citizens who traveled freely in the West, smuggled the score of "Babi Yar" out of the Soviet Union in his cello case at the request of Eugene Ormandy, who gave the first American performance of the symphony and made the first recording.

"I photocopied the pages and put them in my cello case under the cello," Rostropovich recalled. "I felt very nervous; it could have been considered a very unpatriotic deed. If they found it, in the best case I would never have traveled to the West again, though travel to the East {Siberia} would not be out of the question ... But when a great humanistic work is born, whether in literature or in music, I think no true patriot of any country would keep it from the world. So I am proud to think that I was the first one to make this music available to the West."