Pablo Ferrández plays a cello that is 295 years older than him. In fact, the 1696 Stradivarius is one of the oldest of its kind in the world. “It’s a truly unique instrument that has its own personality,” remarks the 27-year-old from Spain, who has garnered worldwide acclaim as a rising star on the classical music scene. “When I first got it, I needed many months to adapt to it because it has a particular way that it wants to be played. But once you find the way, the cello opens up and gives you endless possibilities of sound and color.” One such possibility—or rather, feat—will be on display this summer at the Grant Park Music Festival, where Ferrández will make his Chicago debut with Prokofiev’s rarely heard (and often regarded as unplayable) Sinfonia Concertante. “It is probably the most difficult piece in the cello repertoire,” he says. “It’s truly a spectacular piece that demands tons of concentration and stamina both from the soloist and the orchestra, but it is definitely a masterpiece.” Aug. 10 & 11, tickets $26-$77, festival membership $96-$852, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, 201 E. Randolph St.