Cellist Laura Peribañez Artero has organised a visit from the Barcelona Youth Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the legacy of Pablo Casals on the 50th anniversary of his death

Pablo Casals

Pablo Casals

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On the 5 October, the Barcelona Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO) will be making its UK debut in a performance that will pay homage to the legendary cellist and humanist Pablo Casals on the 50th anniversary of his passing. 

’It’s an honour to be a part of this musical initiative, commemorating such an exemplary person,’ says cellist Laura Peribañez Artero, the soloist and organiser of the concert. 

’Casals has always been a role model for me – in life and in music. I spent my childhood summers visiting his house at El Vendrell, where I would attend concerts at the Pau Casals Auditorium and explore the museum for hours on end. And this close association I have with Pau Casals and his legacy persisted throughout my education.’  

Laura Peribañez Promo Picture ©Kirill Kozlov

Laura Peribañez Artero © Kirill Kozlov

The concert aims to highlight Casals’ immense influence on the arts and society and pay tribute to his musical legacy. Under the baton of conductor Carlos Checa, the BYSO will perform the sardana Sant Martí del Canigó, composed by Casals in the early years of self-imposed exile from Spain, and named after a place in his native Catalonia—a region to which he had a deep emotional attachment. It will be followed by the ’Intermezzo’ from Enrique Granados’ opera Goyescas. Granados was a close friend of Casals, who often played the cello and piano version of this work. 

To complete the first half of the concert, Peribañez Artero will be the soloist in Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei. Casals was one of the first to record this work, and he often performed it. 

The Barcelona Youth Symphony Orchestra will close the programme with a performance of Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No.1 in C minor, op.68. Brahms featured prominently in concert programmes of Pablo Casals, who also performed and recorded the composer’s Double Concerto and sonatas. 

The concert in London commemorates Casals’ close relationship with the UK, a country that he regularly visited for numerous concerts and recitals, and to record and conduct. He collaborated with renowned British musicians such as Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Henry Wood, Frank Bridge and his friend Sir Donald Francis Tovey. He appeared at major venues including the Royal Albert Hall and Wigmore Hall, and conducted major British orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He received the Gold Medal of the Philharmonic Society in 1921, and at one time had considered moving to the UK. 

Casals is well-known for being the first cellist to record the Bach Cello Suites, and the first part of this historic recording was done at Abbey Road studios in London.

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