Pablo Casals


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Casals, Pablo (Pau)

(pä`blō käsäls`, pou), 1876–1973, Spanish virtuoso cellist and conductor. Casals is considered the greatest 20th-century master of the cello and a distinguished composer, conductor, and pianist. A prodigy, he began his concert career in 1891. In 1905 he formed a chamber trio with Jacques Thibaud (1880–1953) and Alfred Cortot. His career as a conductor began in 1919, when the Orquestra Pau Casals, Barcelona, gave its first concert. Casals gained an international reputation for brilliant expressive technique that remains unsurpassed. His superb interpretations of the Bach unaccompanied cello suites brought him worldwide adulation. In 1939, Casals settled at Prades in S France, a voluntary exile in protest against the Spanish government. In 1950 he began to conduct annual music festivals in Prades. In 1956 he moved to Puerto Rico, where the following year he inaugurated annual music festivals at San Juan. He married his third wife, his student Martita Montañes, in 1957. He performed at the United Nations (1958) and the White House (1961), and conducted a celebrated concert of some 80 cellists at Lincoln Center (1972).

Bibliography

See his memoirs (1970); biography by H. L. Kirk (1974); L. Littlehales, Pablo Casals (rev. ed. 1948).

Casals, Pablo

 

Born Dec. 29, 1876, in Vendrell, near Barcelona; died Oct. 22, 1973, in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Spanish cellist, conductor, composer, and public figure. Pupil of J. García (cello) and T. Bretón and J. de Monasterio (composition).

Casals made his debut as a virtuoso soloist in Paris in 1899. In 1901 he began touring with great success in many countries, performing in Russia between 1905 and 1913 both as a soloist and in groups with Rachmaninoff, A. I. Siloti, and A. B. Gol’denveizer. A. K. Glazunov dedicated his Concerto-ballata to Casals.

Casals formed a celebrated trio with A. Cortot and J. Thibaud. He performed in concert for approximately 75 years, and his work spanned an entire epoch in the art of cello interpretation. His playing was profound and rich, blending emotion and reflection; a virtuoso, Casals combined brilliant technique with subtle phrasing. One of his greatest contributions was his modern interpretation of J. S. Bach. Casals’ compositions include symphonic poems, an oratorio, and chamber music for cello ensemble and for cello, violin, and piano.

Casals founded a symphony orchestra in Barcelona in 1920 and a workers’ concert association in 1924, which he headed until 1936. In 1939 he was forced to leave Spain. He settled in Prades (French Pyrenees), where he instituted a festival of chamber music in 1950 (D. F. Oistrakh and other Soviet musicians participated). Casals moved to Puerto Rico and organized the annual Casals Festival there, which has continued after his death. Casals cello competitions have been held since 1957 in various countries (the first was in Paris). Casals was an antifascist and a fighter for peace.

REFERENCE

Ginzburg, L. Pablo KazaVs, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1966.

L. S. GINZBURG

References in periodicals archive ?
Siblin learned that until the Catalan cellist Pablo Casals began playing them in public at the turn of the twentieth century, Bach's cello suites had been thought of as a collection of exercises, nothing more.
Among his friends were Einstein; Bertrand Russell; Martin Buber; Robert Oppenheimer; Pablo Casals, the famous cellist; Louis Meyer, the American sculptor who made a sculpture of Schweitzer's hands; and Adlai Stevenson, who, like Norman Cousins, had visited Schweitzer at Lambarene.
He rose to prominence as the principal cellist for Arturo Toscanini's CBS orchestra and, after the war, went to France to study with the legendary Catalan cellist Pablo Casals.
Five regular members of the Society - Joshua Gordon, cello; Rohan Gregory, violin; Tracy Kraus, flute; Krista Buckland Reisner, violin; and Peter Sulski, viola - were joined by guest pianist Lois Shapiro, for the program which opened with a Catalan folk song arranged by Pablo Casals, who did indeed play at the White House during the Kennedy administration.
Also available are some of most famous historical recordings from the EMI vaults, including Jacqueline du Pre's heart-wrenching rendition of the Elgar Cello Concerto, Itzhak Perlman's album of show-stopping compositions by Fritz Kreisler, Sir Simon Rattle conducting Holst's The Planets, and a gripping, haunting take on Bach's immortal solo cello suites played by the legendary Pablo Casals.
On his return to Barcelona in 1928 he became a central figure in the Catalonian avant-garde, befriending such figures as Pablo Casals and Joan Mir.
Today there are already very few who can remember being a pupil of Pablo Casals, Andre Navarra, Mstislav Rostropovich and Antonin Kohout.
Writing for students in grades six to 12 (and for their instructors), Castro introduces 100 well-known Hispanic celebrities such as Desi Arnaz, Miguel de Cervantes, Rita Moreno, Cesar Chavez, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Rita Hayworth, and Pablo Casals, as well as more obscure figures like astronaut Ellen Ochoa, composer Agustin Lara, and chess player Jose Capablanca.
Pablo Casals, Joseph Fuchs, Eugene Istomin, Alexander Schneider, Rudolph Serkin.
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She then played the dutiful wife and mother, working behind the scenes, offering suggestions for her husband's speeches and finding ways to promote the arts by bringing entertainers such as classical cellist Pablo Casals to the White House.
As Steiner began to collect her images--a Paraguayan child awash in a sea of hats, schoolgirls confronting a blackboard, shoeshine boys from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro looking for business on Copacabana Beach--she also sought out prominent people noted for their humanitarian concerns in hopes of gaining support for her work--Eleanor Roosevelt, Pablo Neruda, Louis Armstrong, Danny Kaye, Pablo Casals, Venezuelan president Romulo Betancourt, and Robert F.