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Pablo Casals

Pablo Casals

  • December 29, 1876 El Vendrell, Spain - October 22, 1973 San Juan, Puerto Rico


The great Spanish cellist (and conductor), Pablo Casals (actually, Pau Carlos Salvador Defilló), legend has it, supported by Casals himself, that he was conceived when Johannes Brahms began his B-flat Major Quartet, of which Casals owned the original manuscript, and that he was born when J. Brahms completed its composition. This legend is rendered moot by the fact that the quartet in question was completed and performed before Casals was even born. But even the ascertainable facts of the life of Casals make it a glorious tale. His father, the parish organist and choirmaster in Vendrell, gave Casals instruction in piano, violin, and organ. When Casals was eleven, he first heard the cello performed by a group of traveling musicians, and decided to study the instrument. In 1888 his mother took him to Barcelona, where he enrolled in the Escuela Municipal de Música. There he studied cello with José García, theory with José Rodoreda, and piano with Joaquín Malats and Francisco Costa Llobera. His progress as a cellist was nothing short of prodigious, and he was able to give a solo recital in Barcelona at the age of fourteen, on February 23, 1891; he graduated with honors in 1893.

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