Amit Peled, world-class cellist, Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University professor and, since 2010, steward of Maestro Pablo Casals’ 1733 Goffriller — arguably the world’s most famous cello — has been named one of 30 Influencers of the Year by Musical America.
Nominated by his peers, according to the report, as someone who is “making a difference in our business, either by virtue of their position, their creativity and/or their dedication,” Israeli-American Peled, 41, said, “It’s a huge honor and a surprise” because nominations required a 200-word essay on why a person should be considered. That’s a big effort for someone to make, Peled acknowledged, knowing how full performance and administrative schedules are these days.
Categories awarded change each year, and past years included Rising Stars in 2012, Movers and Shakers in 2013 and Profiles in Courage in 2014.
“Classical music is changing,” said Peled, “so I think they chose the category for this reason.” Peled cited audience engagement and creative approaches to performance as priorities in the classical music industry because “this is what everyone is talking about now — how can we change the classical music scene to make it more accessible.”
Peled began playing cello at age 10, hoping, admittedly, to impress a girl. Because he showed interest in the nstrument, his parents bought him a cassette tape of Casals’ music, and he would listen to as he drifted off to sleep each night. Things didn’t work out with the girl, but his love of and dedication to the instrument grew. Through his passion for performance and teaching, he has been lauded by audiences, peers and students alike.
“Amit Peled is the kind of artist who makes music accessible,” said Peabody Conservatory dean Fred Bronstein, an accomplished pianist. “He has wonderful artistry as a cellist and is a first-rate communicator, which [gives him] an innate ability to make audiences love the music as much as he does. With his informal and inviting presence, he makes people feel as if a concert is not something to be endured, but relished.”
Musical America, in print since 1898 and online since 1998, is known as “the meeting place for the entire performing arts industry.” The list of 30 also includes a chief operating officer, numerous CEOs of arts organizations, artistic, musical and managing directors and a flamenco artist.
Peled’s next local performance is with Tempest Trio at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3738 Butler Road in Reisterstown on Sunday, Jan. 31. For tickets, call 410-429-4690.