New Classical Tracks®

Amit Peled loves the warmth of his new cello

Peled named his new cello, ‘Shoko,’ which is Hebrew for hot chocolate.Courtesy of the artist

New Classical Tracks - Amit Peled (Extended)


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May 18, 2022

Amit Peled — Solus Et Una (CTM Classics)

New Classical Tracks - Amit Peled

“The instrument I'm using for this recording helped me to feel more intune with myself because it's a cello that I received during the pandemic. It's a Grancino that was made in 1695,” Israeli-born cellist Amit Peled said. “Just before the pandemic, I had to return Pablo Casals’ cello, which I used before. The moment I touched this cello, I felt it. I'm basking in an imaginary hot chocolate bath. I'm not kidding.”

Peled calls his new cello, ‘Shoko.’ In Hebrew it means, hot chocolate. It brings out a special sense of warmth and comfort in the music on his latest recording, Solus Et Una.

Solus Et Una means alone and together, which basically describes my time during the pandemic,” continued Peled. “I was artistically alone at first and throughout the middle. Towards the end of it I found ways to make music together with others.

“We found in the bubble situation we were basically isolating ourselves as a group in the mountains of Montana. This was a place where we could be mask less with no vaccination and do nothing but just walk and make music the way we used to. The nature and the ability to make music together again was a transformative revelation for all of us. Of course, this was inspired by the NBA bubble. My love for basketball showed me the light.”

How did this arrangement of Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 3, II. Andante happen?

“I did what I usually do when I want to get inspiration. I stop thinking and I went for a walk. This Brahms symphony came to my mind while I was walking, which I love. I am also a conductor, and he is my favorite composer. I started hearing it in my mind. When I got back from the walk, I put it on Spotify. When I got to this movement, I could totally hear the cello sound.

“I have a conductor friend who arranges music, and he has a friend, who is on the album, that also does arrangements. He lives in Serbia. I contacted him and he sent me back the arrangement. He said it was easy. It's fit for eight cellos and piano. When we got to Montana, we rehearsed it every single day making changes to make it sound as close as possible to the symphony.”

Can you talk about Bach’s Cello Suite No.4?

“I had so much time to just play that suite. I said to myself, ‘Ok, stop judging yourself, just play.’ I played it every day until I fell in love with it. I played it as a song of love.

“I remember reading an interview with Yo-Yo Ma, where he said on his 60th birthday, ‘All I want now is to play and feel again like when I was a child and played the cello without any judgment.’ I never understood what he meant until the pandemic. You play, think and practice to your standard. But in a way, you must let go and do it. When we were kids, we play as if we were outside with friends. That's how I want to play the cello now.”

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


Amit Peled — Solus Et Una (Amazon)

Amit Peled (official site)