- Andrés Segovia
- Antonio Soler
- Enrique Granados
- José Carreras
- Manuel de Falla
- Pablo Casals
- Plácido Domingo
Pablo Casals, was born Pau Carlos Salvador Defillo de Casals, on December 29 in 1876 in a typical Cataluña village, El Vendrell. This Spanish cellist, conductor and composer was one of Spain’s most important names in 20th Century music.
At the tender age of four, he began receiving his first music lessons from his father. In 1888 he started studying at the Madrid Conservatory of Music. After a successful debut as cello virtuoso at the Lamoureux Concerts in Paris in 1898, Casals traveled Europe, the United States and South America to perform in a series of concerts. Casals revolutionized the role of the cello through his exquisite technique and indisputable talent, greatly raising the status of the cello, an instrument that until this time had been regarded more as a mere accompanying instrument.
In 1905 Casals formed part of the Chamber music trio together with violinist Jacques Thibaud and pianist Alfred Cortot. In 1919 he embarked on his career as an orchestra conductor and just a year later founded his own Pau Casals Orchestra in Barcelona, considered an important part of Barcelona’s cultural life and which thrived until the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936.
Casals went into voluntary exile and moved to France, refusing to perform in any countries sympathizing with General Franco. In 1950 Casals performed at the Music Festival in Prades (France). Six years later he moved to Puerto Rico, where he founded the Puerto Rico Music Festival and Symphony Orchestra, along with violinist Alexander Schneider.
Casals well known for composing astonishingly beautiful orchestra pieces and spiritual music. One of his most important compositions include the oratorio “El pesebre” (The Manger) in 1960, which he conducted throughout the world. Pablo Casals’ recollections and reflections were published in a book entitled “Joys and Sorrows”, in 1970.