Carlos Prieto, Mexico’s grand Cellist

A tribute to the great Mexican cellist Carlos Prieto.

Last January 1th, the wonderful Mexican cellist Carlos Prieto celebrated  his 77th birthday!

Carlos Prieto is one of the most admired men in Mexico.

He is not only an extraordinary cellist, but he is also a wonderful writer, he has written 7 books.

Among the books that Maestro Prieto has written are: The Adventures of a Cello, History and Memories, Five thousand years of words, From the USSR to Russia, Three decades of the experiences and observations of a Witness, By the ancient China: stories, experiences and Collections and he recently wrote “Dmtri Shostakovich, Genius and drama, a book about the life and drama of the famous Russian composer and by the way, Maestro Carlos Prieto met him in Mexico City in 1959. (Shostakovich visited Mexico City in 1959).

He plays a Stradivarius cello named the “Piatti” after Carlo Alfredo Piatti, and it’s affectionatelly nicknamed “Chelo Prieto”.


A photo of Carlos Prieto at his home
in Mexico, in his library and studio.
Carlos Prieto, was born in Mexico in January 1th of 1937, he is a very well educated man, he is one of the most respected cellists not only in Mexico, but also in the entire world and many people call him the “Mexican Rostropovich“.
Carlos Prieto began playing the cello at a ver early age,
at age 4, studying under the instruction of Hungarian cellist Imre Hartman and also Mexican cellist Manuel Garnica Fierro.
He later continued his instruction at the National Conservatory of Music of Mexico City and later, in Geneva with Pierre Fournier and later in New York with Leonard Rose.
He also studied engineering and economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
On his MIT 50th Reunion, Carlos Prieto played the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto with the Boston Pops
Orchestra in Symphony Hall.
Carlos Prieto has given many concerts not only in Mexico but also around the world and he has been critical acclaim by the “New York Times”,  “The Boston Globe” and the “San Francisco Chronicle“.
Carlos Prieto has recorded more than 90 compositions, including the complete Bach suites, works by Beethoven, Shostakovich, Boccherini, Saint-Saens, Fauré,  Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Bruch, Kodaly,  Martinu, etc.
In addition, he has recorded 13 CDs devoted specially to cello music from Latin America and Spain which include the world premieres of many concertos and chamber works.
Carlos Prieto, with his beloved
“Chelo Prieto”.
National and international awards and recognitions for
Carlos Prieto:
He received in 2008 the Pushkin Medal from the Russian Government for his contributions to Russian culture and arts.
He was awarded the Mozart Medal from the Austrian Ambassador in Mexico.
France awarded him the Order of the Arts and Letters in the grade of Officer.
The King of Spain awarded him in 2006 the Order of Civil Merit.
The President of Mexico awarded Mr. Prieto the 2007 National Prize for the Arts.
In 2011 he was elected Member of the Academy of the Spanish Language, in recognition of his work as a writer.
In 2006, awarded title of “Master Emeritus of Venezuelan Youth” by J. A. Abreu, President and Founder of “El Sistema”, Caracas.
The School of Music of Yale University honored him with the Cultural Leadership Citation.
Carlos Prieto received the Achievement Award of the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.
In 2004, he was appointed Member of the Fine Arts Advisory Council of the University of Texas at Austin.
The University of Indiana honored Mr. Prieto with the Eva Janzer Award, entitled “Chevalier du Violoncelle” in recognition of his “exceptional contribution to the world of cello playing.”
Carlos Prieto speaks many languages including Spanish, French, English, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese mandarin and because of his love for words and languages, he wrote “5000 Years of Words”, an excellent book about the history of languages.
He has a great friendship with Yo-Yo Ma.
The Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition is held every two years in Mexico.
His son, Carlos Miguel Prieto, is music director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico.
Another image of Carlos Prieto with
his cello in his library and studio.
Celebrating Mexican cellist Carlos Prieto!
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