Throughout the 2010–2011 season, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts celebrates the 50th anniversary of the presidential inauguration of its namesake. As part of this celebration, the Fortas season includes a commemoration of the famous performance given by Spanish/Catalan cellist Pablo Casals after a state dinner in 1961 in the Kennedy White House.
In addition to his exceptional artistry, Pablo Casals was a respected figure for his impassioned protest of dictatorships and of restraints on human liberty. For many years, he expressed his feelings against tyranny by silencing his cello. In 1961, he accepted an invitation to perform at the White House as a symbol of his agreement with the President's words, "we must regard artistic achievement and action as an integral part of our free society."
This special concert in the Concert Hall brings together some of the finest musical talent of today, with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Emanuel Ax, and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio playing the same program that Pablo Casals hand selected especially for the President, First Lady, and guests. The concert includes Song of the Birds, a Catalan folk song, which Casals performed at the end of every concert following his exile from Spain as a reminder of his yearning for political freedom.
Program and Notes
- Francois Couperin
- Five pieces for cello and piano
- Robert Schumann
- Adagio and Allegro for cello and piano in A-flat Major, Op. 70
- Felix Mendelssohn
- Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49
- Ludwig van Beethoven
- Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69
- Pablo Casals
- Song of the Birds, traditional Catalan folk song
The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration is the 2011 Rubenstein Program and is made possible through the generosity of David and Alice Rubenstein.
Additional support is provided by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Altria Group, Constance Milstein de La Haye St. Hilaire and Jehan-Christophe de La Haye St. Hilaire, Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, Grace and Morton Bender, and David Gregory and Beth Wilkinson.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Fortas Chamber Music Concerts are supported by generous contributors to the Abe Fortas Memorial Fund, and by a major gift to the fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas.
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