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Spanish Cello Virtuoso Pablo Casals was Born in 1876

Casals played a pivotal role in elevating the popularity of the cello as a solo instrument and served as an inspiration for numerous young cellists


Pablo Casals was born in El Vendrell, Catalonia, on December 29, 1876, and passed away in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on October 22, 1973. Renowned as a Spanish Catalan cellist, he is widely regarded as the preeminent cellist of his era. Among his most acclaimed recordings are those made between 1936 and 1939 featuring the Bach Cello Suites.

He is known to have revolutionized cello technique, challenging once-rigid traditional practices. A notable departure from the norm was his approach to bowing — he discarded the outdated practice of placing a book under the right arm, which tended to paralyze the bowing arm. Instead, Casals advocated for a more liberated bowing arm, fostering flexibility. He emphasized the development of a strong yet relaxed left hand and believed that a constant vibrato risked sounding monotonous. He often used open strings between vibrated notes.

Casals embarked on international tours between 1898 and 1917, forming the celebrated Trio Casals with Alfred Cortot (piano) and Jacques Thibaud (violin). Earning international acclaim as a cellist, he played a pivotal role in the establishment of the École Normale de Musique in Paris in 1919 and also founded and conducted the Orquestra Pau Casals in Barcelona.

During the reign of the dictator General Franco in Spain, Casals passionately opposed the political situation. In 1939, following the defeat of the democratic party, he declared his refusal to return to Spain until democracy was restored. Unfortunately, he did not witness the end of Franco's rule during his lifetime.

To honor his legacy in 2000, the International Pablo Casals Cello Competition was established in Germany. Running every four years, the event is funded by the Pablo Casals Foundation, which includes the patronage of Casals' widow. Among the prizes is the opportunity to play on a Gofriller cello that was once owned by Casals.



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