About Amit Peled
The Israeli-born cellist Amit Peled has enjoyed an international career as a soloist and has made recordings both connected with and separate from his Jewish heritage. Peled is also a noted educator, having been hired at Baltimore's Peabody Institute as, at the time, the youngest professor active at a major American music institution.
Peled was born in Israel in 1973 and grew up on a kibbutz collective farm. His parents hoped he would learn the accordion so that he could accompany singers at folk music events, but at age ten he took up the cello instead, to impress a girl. For several years Peled failed to take his studies seriously, instead focusing on sports (he is six feet, five inches tall and did consider a career in professional basketball). Almost in spite of himself, however, he showed talent that got noticed, and he won admission to a special music high school in Tel Aviv. Selected as a cello soloist in the school's orchestra, he toured Europe with the group, performing Haydn's Cello Concerto in C major, Hob. VIIb/1. During his compulsory military service in Israel, Peled kept his skills up by playing in a military string quartet originally established by Isaac Stern. Peled earned a scholarship to Yale University but, after arriving in the U.S., approached famed cellist Bernard Greenhouse, at the time living on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and Greenhouse agreed to take him on as a full-time student and to give him lodgings nearby. Peled's solo career has included top world venues such as Wigmore Hall in London, the Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Berlin Konzerthaus, and both Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York. Peled is a co-founder of the Tempest Trio and the Goldstein-Peled-Fiterstein Trio, and, in addition to teaching at Peabody, has been in demand for master classes at major summer festivals in the U.S., Europe, and Israel. He has released several albums on the Centaur label, beginning with The Jewish Soul (2009), and making further recordings on the CAP and CTM labels; in 2019 he released a recording of Bach's first three suites for solo cello on the latter imprint. Peled plays a 1733 Gofriller cello formerly owned by Pablo Casals, and given to Peled directly from the hands of Casals' third wife, Marta Casals Istomin. He appeared on the 2018 album Mademoiselle, devoted to the music of Nadia Boulanger, which was nominated for a Grammy award as Best Classical Compendium. In live concert, Peled is known for trying to break down the barriers between performer and audience, bantering with listeners from the stage and even, in at least one case, issuing a challenge for a game of basketball. ~ James Manheim