Baltimore cellist hopes to inspire new musicians with children’s book

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BALTIMORE, MD. -- A world-renowned cellist from Baltimore is using the centuries-old cello that he plays as the central character in a new children's book, that he hopes will inspire the next generation of classical musicians.

"We hope that by having this book or being exposed to this story, Pablo, who is one day going to be alone again will be picked up by a child that had a dream to become great at what they do and that dream will be fulfilled," said Amit Peled about "A Cello Named Pablo", written by Marni Fogelson.

The book tells the stories of Peled, a concert cellist and professor at Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute, and the cello he performs with, which once belonged to famed Catalan cellist Pablo Casals.

"The cello is narrating the story and the perspective of the story is from the cello," added Peled.

The cello was made by Matteo Goffriller in 1733 and belonged to Casals until he died in 1973. His widow, Marta Casals Istomin lent the cello to Peled several years ago.

"I smelled the cello and I could smell the pipe of Mr. Casals. It smelled like him. It smelled like what I read about and it was an amazing feeling," recalled Peled of the first time he held the cello.

Getting to play Casals' cello brought Peled's career back to the beginning. He said he took up the instrument in his home country of Israel because he had a crush on a girl who also played.

"Soon after I discovered that she doesn’t really care about me. I never talked to her at that age, but I got stuck with the cello," added Peled. He said he fell in love with the instrument and grew up listening to recordings of Casals and a younger him would have laughed if he was told that one day he would play that same cello.

"It’s like you tell a boy you’re going to win the lottery and you would not believe it. It’s not possible. But I guess working hard and believing in yourself leads you to good things," said Peled.

Peled has a free concert Sunday December 17 in Baltimore to coincide with the book release.