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Pablo (Pau) Casals

Casals, Pablo (Pau) (päˈblō käsälsˈ, pou) [key], 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).

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

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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