Amit Peled is a multi-sport athlete: He plays basketball and cello. Torn as a teenager between pursuing sports or music, he threw himself toward music, resigning himself to the certainty that he would never be tall enough to play in the NBA.
The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra performs under circumstances that can only be termed unreasonable. The musicians rehearse and perform up to three programs a week, which would appear to work against any semblance of high standards. They often contend with climatic conditions that play tricks on reeds, keys, embouchures and more.
And yet, as it demonstrated Thursday in the Amphitheater, the ensemble can surmount most obstacles and turn in performances of remarkable depth and excitement. The principal offender on this occasion was rain, which fell throughout the concert, sometimes with defiant force, almost as if it intended to maintain a presence in the sonic textures.
“I can make it sound like a child, a woman or a grandpa,” cellist Amit Peled said about his instrument.
The renowned teacher will lead a cello master class from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. today at Fletcher Music Hall.
“The range of the cello is that of the human voice,” Peled said. “You can play as low as a bass or as high as a soprano.”
In teaching the class, Peled hopes to incorporate education and fun without losing his balance.
Legendary violinist Isaac Stern met cellist Amit Peled when Peled was a teenager in Israel and taught him to be a musician. Tonight, Peled will perform under the baton of Stern’s son, guest conductor Michael Stern, at 8:15 p.m. in the Amphitheater.
“I was really lucky to be able to work with Isaac Stern,” Peled said. “And I never dreamed that one day I would sit on stage and play the cello with his son conducting.”
Peled will perform Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 107. The concert will also feature Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major and Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides,” Op. 26, a recent change from the planned “Muse of the Missouri” by Stephen Hartke.
At 8:15 p.m. Saturday, June 30, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra will begin its 84th season under the Amphitheater roof. For the second season in a row, the CSO will not be under the familiar baton of a music director.
The orchestra instead will welcome 17 guest conductors to the Amp, along with 15 guest soloists. The conductors, several of whom will be new to Chautauqua, will conduct classics from Beethoven to Wagner, with a sprinkling of pops, opera selections and several contemporary works.