Pablo Casals (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Although recognized as a conductor and composer, Casals is best known for his sensational mastery of the cello. He evolved systems of fingering and bowing that are the source of modern playing technique, and his musical interpretation greatly enhanced international appreciation of the cello as an instrument of artistic expression.
Pau (Catalan for Pablo) Casals was born on December 29, 1876, in Vendrell, a small town in the Catalan region of Spain. The second of eleven children of Carlos Casals and Pilar Defilló de Casals, he received his first music instruction from his father, the local church organist and piano teacher. By the time young Casals was five, he sang in the church choir; at six, he studied organ and piano; at seven, he studied violin and also composed and transposed music. He was substituting at the organ for his father when he was eight and, at ten, collaborated on the musical score for the town’s Christmas play. The first cello Casals saw—a makeshift instrument—was played by a group of wandering minstrels. Soon after, he attended a performance of prominent cellist José García and, at age eleven, asked his father for lessons on the instrument which was to be his specialty. In 1888, at his mother’s insistence despite the opposition of his father, Casals went to the Municipal Music School in Barcelona and became a pupil of García. He also studied piano and...
(The entire section is 2398 words.)
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