I am very happy to announce that today, January 1st, is the 80th Birthday of one of the most respected and most beloved Cellists of Mexico, Carlos Prieto!
Carlos Prieto is not only the greatest Cellist of Mexico but he is also one of the best writers. And he is also an excellent linguistic and an academic. And I have to say that besides of being an extraordinary artist and an excellent academic, Carlos Prieto is also a wonderful human being, very humble, generous and kind because I had to fortune of meeting him personally at the international Book Fair of Leon back in 2015. I will never forget that moment, many people were waiting for his conference of his latest book, “Shostakovich, Genius and Drama”, about the life and works of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, (in which Carlos Prieto personally met) and right in the conference, Maestro Carlos Prieto was right next to us.. very kind and with a very gentle smile. He was there more than ready and with his famous and beloved “Piatti, Cello Prieto” with him to tell his w0nderful memories of Dmitri Shostakovich. And very kindly and with many jokes, Carlos Prieto also remembered and shared with us his fun moments and memories of his friendship with Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Igor Stravinsky and the Nobel Prize in Literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In his conference, Carlos Prieto shared with us his memories about Shostakovich and he also told us the reason why he wrote his book about him. Later at the end of his conference, Carlos Prieto gave us the joy of performing Bach’s Cello Suite No.3 in C major, BWV 1009. And like it was not enough of his generosity, Carlos Prieto also signed us his autographs and even took all the time to take photos with us. A moment that I will never forget. Carlos Prieto very kindly signed me all my books (that he wrote) tha I brought with me to the conference. I will tell about his wonderful books above. Something that I admire so much about Carlos Prieto is that, besides of being a wonderful cellist and a very intelligent man, and that he met important, historical composers like Shostakovich and Stravinsky, he is always very humble and very kind. Meeting personally Carlos Prieto is one of the most unforgettable and most beautiful experiences that I have ever had, he is not only a wonderful musician and academic but he is also a true, wonderful, kind, very humble and very educated, perfect gentleman and I must also mention that with a gorgeous smile and very beautiful blue eyes.
Born in Mexico, January 1st of 1937, Carlos Prieto, began to study Cello at the tender age of four.before dedicating his life to music, he first studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After his studies at the MIT, Carlos Prieto made the very important decision of dedicating his entire life to the arts, to the music.
Carlos Prieto has written more of nine books in which his most famous book is (and of my all time favorite books!) “The Adventures of a Cello, History and Memories” in which Maestro Carlos Prieto wrote his memories as a Cellist with his Stradivarius Cello, “the Piatti” (named after Italian composer and cellist Carlo Alfredo Piatti) and known called as “Cello Prieto”, in this important book, Carlos Prieto made an important investigation and research about his Cello “The Piatti”, since its creation and in Prieto’s own words in the book: “In 1720, a violoncello known as “the Piatti,” one of the main protagonists of this book, was born in Cremona, Italy. Created by Antonio Stradivarius, it has undergone peaceful, turbulent and tragic periods for over the past 300 years”. In this book, Carlos Prieto tells about that his Cello, “The Piatti” was part of the participation in the premiere of “The Seven Last Words of Christ” by Haydn. Another unforgettable anecdote in “The Aventures of a Cello” book was that “The Piatti” was, in the first years of the XX century, in the hands of Francesco Mendelssohn, (descendant of composer Felix Mendelssohn and philosopher Moses Mendelssohn) and Francesco Mendelssohn saved the Cello “Piatti” from the Nazis, the Nazis used to destroy many beautiful objects that were related to the arts… and Francesco Mendelssohn successfully saved the Cello “Piatti” by escaping to America. And thankfully, the “Piatti” is still with us and now in these years… “The Piatti” now belongs to Carlos Prieto, of course.
Another book that I love is “5000 Years of Words”, Carlos Prieto is also a linguistic and he wrote his excellent book about this history of languagues, the death languages, the classic languages, the modern languages and the dialects. In this book we can learn about Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese and also about the musical language.
“From the USSR to Russia, Three Decades of the Experiences and Observations of a Witness” is a book about Carlos Prieto’s memories about his experiences as a musician in Russia, back then, the Sovietic Union, Carlos writes about his many visits to Russia in different decades and historical moments.
“Throughout China with the Cello”, with a foreword by Yo-Yo Ma, in this beautiful book, Carlos Prieto wrote also about his memories about his experiences also as a musician in China and he also wrote about the fascinating history and culture and many different cultural things about China.
And his recentl “Shostakovich, Genius and Drama”, about the life and works of one of the greatest composers of the XX Century…. Dmitri Shostakovich. Almost all of Carlos Prietos books have been translated into English, Russian and Portuguese.
Carlos Prieto also introduced many new works from many Latin American composers in many important music halls around the world.
Among the international recognitions:
France awarded Carlos Prieto the Order of the Arts and Letters in the grade of Officer.
Maestro Prieto also received the Achievement Award of the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.
Carlos Prieto received in 2008 the Pushkin Medal from the Russian Government for his contributions to Russian culture and arts.
Carlos Prieto was also awarded the Mozart Medal from the Austrian Ambassador in Mexico.
The School of Music of Yale University honored him with the Cultural Leadership Citation.
In 2014 he received the Robert A. Muh Award in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at MIT. The Muh Award was established for the purpose of honoring MIT alumni who have made outstanding contributions in these fields.
In 2011 he was elected Member of the Academy of the Spanish Language, in recognition of his work as a writer.
Like Rostropovich, Carlos Prieto is a true champion of the cello. A creative artist, scholar and storyteller, Carlos has been a prolific contributor to the flow of music throughout the western hemisphere, premiering compositions of some of the greatest contemporary composers and helping to nurture and develop an entire generation of Latin America’s most talented musicians. I am privileged to know him as a colleague and honored to call him my friend.
— Yo-Yo Ma
FELICES 80 AÑOS, HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY CARLOS PRIETO!!!!!!!