Catalonia to commemorate 140th anniversary of Pau Casals’ birth with a month of activities

Article published at Catalan News Agency, 20th September 2016.

Barcelona (CNA).- This September marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of Catalan cellist, Pau Casals. A conference given by his widow, Marta Casals, will kick off on the 29th of September a month of activities aimed at paying tribute to the internationally renowned composer. El Vendrell, a location near Tarragona and Casals’ hometown, has extended last year’s one-week celebration and has announced it will keep this format in the future. ‘Pau Casals Month’ will consist of a wide range of activities, from conferences, to concerts and exhibitions. Considering the magnitude of the programme, El Vendrell’s Mayor, Martí Carnicer, stressed that it is “a challenge”, but encouraged the organisations involved to carry on with their participation. “Pau Casals is like our lighthouse that illuminates us during the turbulent times we live in today, both socially and economically, and suggests ways of how to do things”, the politician stated.

From the 29th of September to the 30th of October, El Vendrell will host 20 activities to commemorate the anniversary of the Catalan conductor. Many of them will revolve around the relationship between Casals and the Catalan pianist Enric Granados, who passed away 100 years ago. El Vendrell’s Councillor for Culture, Eva Serramià, stated during the presentation of the programme on Monday that the goal of this extended celebration is to “surpass the local sphere and situate El Vendrell in the international scene”.

The celebration is organised by the Town Council and the Pau Casals Foundation. The opening event will be a talk by Pau Casals’ widow. This conference, together with another one that will be given by the Abbot of Montserrat, Josep Maria Soler Canals, on the 17th of October, will form the two main events. Carnicer stated that Marta Casals and the Abbot of Montserrat are “two of the most important figures related to the maestro and that will allow us to delve into the figure of Casals”. Besides these two conferences, ‘Pau Casals Month’ will offer a talk on the relationship between the cellist and the Catalan pianist Enric Granados. The director of the Pau Casals Museum pointed to the “fraternal” bond between them and explained that “Granados acted practically as Casals’ older brother”, despite their personalities being “opposite”.

Music will also have great prominence during the celebration. The programme includes several concerts. For the first time, the students of the School of Music will play at some of the city museums. The highlight, though, will be on the 22nd of October, coinciding with the 43rd anniversary of Casals’ death. The Auditorium will on that date hold a concert by Pablo Pérez, Isabel García and Àlex Ramírez.

Finally, there will also be exhibitions. Deu Museum will display a sample of artworks from 1976, some of them publicly exhibited for the first time. Moreover, 80,000 copies of a new collection of bookmarks dedicated to the internationally acclaimed Pau Casals will be distributed to 400 libraries throughout Catalonia.

Pau Casals, an internationally renowned figure

Born in El Vendrell in 1876, Pau Casals established himself as one of the 20th century’s most celebrated cellists, and is also recognised as a prominent conductor. Following years of extensive study, at the age of 23, Casals started his career and would go on to perform in some of the world’s most famous concert halls.

He also dedicated his time to defending peace and freedom and was awarded the United Nations Peace Medal. Furthermore, he composed the official anthem of this international organisation.

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