by Jarrett Hoffman
Israeli cellist Amit Peled is a warm person, a deep thinker, and a big Cavaliers fan — all equally important aspects of any great artist’s personality.
Next week, from May 15-19, Peled and guest conductor Mélisse Brunet will make their debuts with CityMusic Cleveland in five free concerts around the area to conclude the ensemble’s 15th season.
The title “Hidden Gems” certainly describes three of the four works on the program: Fanny Mendelssohn’s Overture in C, Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 2, and Kodály’s Dances of Galánta.
Not so for Saint-Saëns’s First Cello Concerto. “It’s a piece that we all play as teenagers — one of the first we encounter as quote-unquote serious cellists,” Peled told me during a trip to Europe, where he was to perform in Romania and Austria. For him, the Saint-Saëns was also one of the first concertos he performed with orchestra. “I will never forget the feeling of that first chord, and after that the explosion of emotion and the mastery of cello writing,” he said.