Cellist Amit Peled has talent of upper tier, but range and approach fall just short

Cellist Amit Peled, based in Baltimore and a regular presence in this area, is hovering just below the upper tier of his profession. Now in his mid-30s, and with an active international schedule, he has yet to play with a major U.S. orchestra other than the Baltimore Symphony. At his recital Sunday afternoon at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, Peled paid homage to Neale Perl, the outgoing president of the Washington Performing Arts Society, who has given him several legs up in his career (and studies cello with him); he even brought Perl up onstage to play a Handel duet as a closing encore.

Peled’s virtues are well known — a full-throated sound, a strong technique and a genial, open-hearted stage presence. His programming could be called ultra-conservative; he hews to duos from the standard repertoire, avoiding virtuoso pieces and modern works, and his first encore was the violin theme from “Schindler’s List.” He is wonderfully abetted by his regular partner, Alon Goldstein, a fine artist in his own right, who delights in the piano-heavy sonatas of Chopin and Brahms. Goldstein achieves the rare trick of allowing the cellist to be heard at all times, while also fully projecting details of the piano part and his own musical personality.

(Courtesy of WPAS) - Amit Peled

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

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For his part, Peled is a somewhat cavalier musician. He made little effort to align his articulation with his partner in Beethoven’s “Bei Mannern” variations, and Brahms’s carefully written-out tremolos in the Sonata No. 2 in F, Op. 99, were rendered simply as double-stops.The Adagio from the same sonata was given at an impatient tempo, as was the finale. The Chopin sonata fared better, with a particularly lovely Largo, but Peled’s sound can become slightly constricted in the upper register. To move to the next level, this excellent artist needs to show more range, flash more chops and approach the standards with more care and integrity. But he certainly has all the goods to do so.

Battey is a freelance writer.

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