Amit Peled with Kenta Asahina

January 22, 2017

Amit Peled and Kenta Asahina

Amit Peled

From the United States to Europe to the Middle East and Asia, cellist Amit Peled is acclaimed as one of the most exciting instrumentalists on the concert stage today.

At 6’5” tall, Peled started his career as a basketball player and was called “larger than life” when he later enveloped his cello: “Jacqueline DuPre in a farmer’s body.” Peled often surprises audiences with the ways he breaks down barriers between performers and the public, making classical music more accessible—Tim Smith of The Baltimore Sun reflected that “Peled’s amiable and inviting personality is exactly the type everyone says we’ll need more of if classical music is to survive.”

During the 2016/17 season, Peled will continue sharing the remarkable sound of the historic cello owned by Pablo Casals, an Italian Goffriller ca.1733, which was personally handed to him by Marta Casals Istomin, widow of Casals. Peled affectionately calls the cello “Pablo,” and will be playing it at the Ravinia Festival, and with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Fairfax Symphony, Das Junge Orchester, Xalapa Symphony Orchestra and the Palm Beach Symphony. He will also be recording Nadia Boulanger’s Three Pieces for Cello and Piano and will make a return trip to Russia to perform and teach at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

Peled has performed as a soloist with many orchestras and in the world’s major concert halls such as: Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, New York; Salle Gaveau, Paris; Wigmore Hall, London; Konzerthaus, Berlin; and Tel Aviv’s Mann Auditorium. Following his well-received performance of the Hindemith Concerto at Alice Tully Hall, The New York Times stated: “Glowing tone, a seductive timbre and an emotionally pointed approach to phrasing that made you want to hear him again.”

In the fall of 2016, Peled will release his fifth Centaur Records CD, Casals Homage, which features the legendary 1915 Pablo Casals program that Peled has been playing worldwide since 2014. He also released a recording of the Schumann Cello Concerto with the Washington Chamber Orchestra earlier in 2016. These records follow four successful installments: Collage, The Jewish Soul, Cellobration and Reflections.

As an active chamber musician, Peled is founding member of the famed Tempest Trio with pianist Alon Goldstein and violinist Ilya Kaler. He is also a frequent guest artist at many prestigious summer festivals such as the Marlboro Music Festival, Newport Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Heifetz International Music Institute, Schleswig Holstein and Euro Arts Festivals in Germany, Gotland Festival in Sweden, Prussia Cove Festival in England, the Violoncello Forum in Spain and the Mizra International Academy in Israel.

Peled has been featured on television and radio stations throughout the world, including NPR’s Performance Today, WGBH Boston, WQXR New York, WFMT Chicago, Radio Berlin, Radio France, Swedish National Radio and TV, and Israeli National Radio and TV.

One of the most sought after cello pedagogues, Peled is a professor at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, in Baltimore.

Kenta Asahina
Assistant Professor
Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory

Kenta Asahina is an assistant professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory. His laboratory is interested in understanding the neural mechanism of behavior control. More specifically, he strives to elucidate the neural circuits that control a specific behavior, to characterize what excites, inhibits and modulates the circuits, and to understand how each neural component contributes to the given behavior. To fully understand the circuit operation, it is necessary to uncover molecular events within and between neurons comprising the circuit. The knowledge of such molecular events not only illuminates fundamental principles of the nervous system function, but is indispensable to develop an effective, specific, and long-lasting pharmaceutical and clinical solution to neural disorders, including behavioral and psychiatric disorders. The Asahina laboratory uses Drosophila melanogaster (vinegar fly) as a genetic model to understand the molecular and genetic basis of neural circuit operations, especially on the circuits controlling social interactions. In particular, competitive interaction of animals provides a rich model for decision making, sensory integration, and experience-dependent behavior plasticity, and is a major research interest of the Asahina laboratory.