San Juan Feature
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Cellist Pablo Casals was one of the 20th century's most influential musicians. Born in Catalonia in 1876, he studied in Spain and Belgium, settled for a time in Paris, then returned to Barcelona. Tours in Europe, the United States, and South America brought him artistic and financial success and opportunities to collaborate with other prominent musicians.
By the advent of the Spanish civil war, he was an internationally famous musician, teacher, and conductor. He was also an outspoken supporter of a democratic Spain. Forced into exile by Franco's regime, Casals arrived in Puerto Rico, his mother's birthplace, in 1956. Here the then-81-year-old maestro continued to work and teach. He established the Casals Festival of Classical Music, making the island a home for sublime orchestral and chamber works. During two weeks each June, the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra is joined by musicians from all over the world.
In Catalan, Casals' first name is Pau, which appropriately means "peace." He and his friend Albert Schweitzer appealed to the world powers to stop the arms race, and Casals made what many experts say is his greatest work—an oratorio titled The Manger—his personal message of peace. Casals died in Puerto Rico in 1973, but his many legacies live on. His favorite instruments, his recordings, and some of his numerous awards are preserved at the Museo Pablo Casals.
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $99 & up -- Bahamas 'Atlantis' w/Air Credit, up to 65% Off Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
- $90 -- Virgin Islands: Former Sugar Refinery Inn, Reg. $100 Ole Works Inn
- $1490 -- Virgin Islands: Cooper Island Dive Trip, Save $295 Cooper Island Beach Club
- $429 & up -- 5- & 6-Nt. Caribbean Cruises on Royal Caribbean American Express Travel
- Puerto Rico Active IExplore