The international cello day is celebrated on December 29th, the birthday of Pablo Casals, who has been named “the greatest musician ever to draw bow” by Fritz Kreisler. He performed for both Queen Victoria and American President John F Kennedy.
He made many major contributions to the musical world, inspiring cellists throughout his lifetime and beyond. He has been attributed with rediscovering the Solo Cello Suites by JS Bach which had been previously dismissed as nothing more than technical exercises by many.
Throughout his life, Casals stuck by his passionate political and moral beliefs, voluntarily exiling himself for life from his beloved homeland of Catalonia at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. He also refused to tour in the West for 30 years in protest against their complicity in fascism.
He founded the “Pablo Casals festival” in his adopted home of Prades, France, which continues to run to this day and has resulted in creating numerous legendary recordings over the years.