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World-Renowned Cellist Joins Scarsdale School For Season-Ending Concert

Hoff-Barthelson Music School
Hoff-Barthelson Music School Photo Credit: Contributed

SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Amit Peled remembers how, as a young musician, he became inspired by working with older, more experienced players. That's why the world-renowned cellist visits Westchester County students from Scarsdale’s Hoff-Barthelson Music School, and seeks to provide the same motivation and inspiration for the youngsters.

“I remember how much it affected me and how much I enjoyed working with them,’’ said Peled, who was voted one of the Musical America’s 30 Most Influential Music Professionals in 2015. “Whenever I have the opportunity to work with younger students, I do it. Plus I get to travel with my wife and family. I work and they have fun.”

Peled will play with Hoff-Barthelson’s Festival Orchestra at the school’s season-ending concert, “Sounds of the Baltic.” The concert on Saturday, June 11 begins at 8 p.m. at the The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College in the Recital Hall. It is free and open to the public with a suggested donation of $18.

Music Director Jun Nakabayashi's selections for the concert include Nielsen, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius for his orchestra, which consists of nearly 50 students. Nakabayashi has worked with the Festival Orchestra since 2004.

“The kids are always excited to play with a musician of Peled’s caliber,’’ Nakabayashi said. “The professional musicians always bring something unexpected. Sometimes we expect the music to be played a certain way, and it always ends up being something different. We practice without them for a long time, and then the musician will come in and it’s totally different.”

Peled says students can expect the same challenge this year. He feels interpretation is what makes music special. “It’s like a speech,’’ Peled said. “You have to sort of improvise where you’re going. The secret is not if you will make mistakes. It’s how you get out of mistakes. It’s like being an actor, the way you interpret everything is different. The beauty of the magic moment comes when you forget about it and just let it go. You have to trust yourself.”

Peled, a professor at The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, said he researches each composer, reads about the selected piece and practices it at least 50 times before performing it at a concert. “You want to feel it is part of your blood system,’’ he said. “When I start whistling melodies while I’m having my morning coffee, I know it’s in my blood system.”

Peled agreed to join Hoff-Barthelson for its concert at the request of Stephen Jacobsohn, the school’s Director of Marketing and Development. They worked together in Maryland for several years. Now Peled, who was a basketball standout in Israel before focusing on the cello, will return to visit his friend and inspire a new generation of young musicians.

“The kids are always excited for the first rehearsal,’’ Nakabayashi said. “They get too excited about it. The ensemble can be a little rough or they just play way too loud. We work on it, and they adjust very quickly. In less than two hours they shape up very nicely. We’re looking forward to working with Amit.”

Click on the attached PDF for all of the concert details.

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