The Israeli who plays Pablo Casals’ cello for the people

‘You’re a big guy and Pablo was small, but if you want to come to my New York apartment you can try his cello,’ Marta Casals told Amit Peled

In August 1973, world-famous cellist Pablo Casals accepted an invitation from then Prime Minister Golda Meir to guest-conduct a youth orchestra in Jerusalem. Though Casals was then nearing 97, he agreed to fly to Israel along with his wife, Marta, and violinists Isaac Stern and Alexander Schneider.

It was the last time Casals took his cello outside of the United States; he passed away two months later. That December, a child was born on Kibbutz Yizre’el who would later be entrusted with Casals’ precious musical instrument and play it in Israel and across the globe.

This summer, Peabody Conservatory Prof. Amit Peled is taking Casals’ vintage 1733 Matteo Goffriller cello on a two-week US recital tour with his wife and three children, ages 11, nine and six. Before that, he’ll teach a master class at a Western Galilee kibbutz.