Alisa Weilerstein, Cello

Biography

“A young cellist whose emotionally resonant performances of both traditional and contemporary music have earned her international recognition, … Weilerstein is a consummate performer, combining technical precision with impassioned musicianship,” stated the MacArthur Foundation, when awarding American cellist Alisa Weilerstein a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship.

Entering her second season as Artistic Partner with the Trondheim Soloists, Weilerstein joins the
ensemble on two European tours this fall, including appearance in Norway, London, Munich and Bergen.
Their first album together, 2018’s Transfigured Night released on Pentatone, features Schoenberg’s
Verklärte Nacht and both Haydn cello concertos. It attracted unanimous praise, with Gramphone magazine proclaiming, “you’d go far to find performances of the Haydn concertos that match Alisa Weilerstein’s mix of stylistic sensitivity, verve and spontaneous delight in discovery.” Beyond the partnership with the Trondheim Soloists Weilerstein’s 19-20 concert highlights included Saint-Saëns’s First Cello Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2 with Tokyo’s NHK Symphony, Britten’s Symphony for Cello and Orchestra with Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, Schumann Cello Concerto with the Houston Symphony, Barber Cello Concerto with the Detroit Symphony, Strauss’ Don Quixote and Bloch’s Scholmo with the San Diego Symphony, and Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra, both at the Barbican in London and the Philharmonie in Paris. In recital, she gives solo performances of Bach’s complete cello suites in California, Barcelona, Manchester, and joins her frequent duo partner, Inon Barnatan, for Brahms and Shostakovich at London’s Wigmore Hall, Milan’s Sala Verdi and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. To celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, she rejoins the Israeli pianist for a U.S. recital tour of all five of the composer’s cello sonatas, besides playing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Guy Braunstein, Barnatan, and the Dresden Philharmonic. Her recording of the concerto, featuring Alan Gilbert, Stefan Jackiw, Barnatan, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, is due for release by Pentatone this fall.

In recent years, Weilerstein recorded the Elgar and Elliott Carter cello concertos with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin. The disc was named “Recording of the Year 2013” by BBC Music, which featured the cellist on the cover of its May 2014 issue. Her release of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Czech Philharmonic, topped the U.S. classical chart. Her third album, a compilation of unaccompanied 20th-century cello music titled Solo, was pronounced an “uncompromising and pertinent portrait of the cello repertoire of our time” (ResMusica, France). Solo’s centerpiece is the Kodály sonata, a signature work that Weilerstein revisits on the soundtrack of If I Stay, a 2014 feature film starring Chloë Grace Moretz in which the cellist makes a cameo appearance as herself. In 2015 she released a recording of sonatas by Chopin and Rachmaninoff, marking her duo album debut with Inon Barnatan. In 2016 she released a “powerful and even mesmerizing” recording (San Francisco Chronicle) of Shostakovich’s cello concertos with the Bavarian Radio Symphony and Pablo Heras-Casado.

Weilerstein’s career milestones include an emotionally tumultuous account of Elgar’s concerto with the
Berlin Philharmonic and Barenboim in Oxford, England, and a performance at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. An ardent champion of new music, she has worked on multiple projects with Osvaldo Golijov and Matthias Pintscher and premiered works by Lera Auerbach and Joseph Hallman. Weilerstein, whose honors include Lincoln Center’s 2008 Martin E. Segal prize and the 2006 Leonard Bernstein Award, is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Columbia University. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she is a Celebrity Advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Calendar
Repertoire

Please note: This repertoire list is for reference only. The choice of repertoire for a particular project remains at the artist’s discretion.

Works for Cello and Orchestra

Antonin Dvorak

Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104
Waldesruhe for Cello and Orchestra op. 68 no.5

Benjamin Britten

Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68

Camille Saint-Saëns

Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33

Dmitry Shostakovich

Cello Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 126
Cello concerto No. 1 in E flat major, op. 107

Edward Elgar

Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

Ernest Bloch

Schelomo

Franz Joseph Haydn

Cecilia Mass in C Major
Cello Concerto in C major, Hob.VIIb:1

Krzystof Penderecki

Cello Concerto no. 2

Osvaldo Golijov

Azul

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Variations On a Rococo Theme in A Major, Op. 33
Pezzo capriccioso in B minor, Op. 62

Richard Strauss

Don Quixote, Op.35

Robert Schumann

Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129

Samuel Barber

Cello Concerto, Op. 22

Sergej Prokofiev

Sinfonia Concertante for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 125

William Walton

Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra

Witold Lutoslawski

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra
Review
Intelligent Musicality
MusicalCriticism.com
Tue, 2010-08-31
"Young American cellist Alisa Weilerstein has been making waves internationally, and her performance of Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto demonstrated why. With her full-toned legato and intelligent musicality hers is a technique built for Romantic repertoire; Elgar, Dvorak, Schumann, Brahms are all a given under the generous lyricism of her fingers, but last night she proved herself an altogether more interesting musician, tackling the angular, mature beauty of Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto with a conviction I hadn’t thought her capable of." Alexandra Coghlan,
Riveting Performance
The Times
Mon, 2010-08-30
"Then Alisa Weilerstein gave a riveting performance in Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto...the young American not only chose a radically different path through the music — more soft-edged in timbre, less overtly freighted with emotion, and certainly less angry — but traversed this epic work with suppleness and authority." 4 stars, Richard Morrison
Phenomenal
The Independent
Sat, 2010-08-28
"A phenomenal young cellist, Alisa Weilerstein, pretty much stole the evening with her extraordinary account of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No.1...Weilerstein was the complete musical actress whose orations from hushed and furtive and fearful to ferociously assertive were gripping in the extreme." 4 stars, Edward Seckerson
Discography
EMI Debut Album
Music for Cello and Piano
Pianist: Lilian Hornik Weilerstein
Dvorak Piano Trios
Piano Trios by Janacek and Schumann
Carter and Elgar Cello Concertos
Staatskapelle Berlin. Conductor: Daniel Barenboim
Press Service

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Jamie Jung

Photo: Jamie Jung

Photo: Jamie Jung

Photo: G. A. Sanchez Torres

Photo: Jamie Jung

Photo: Jamie Jung

Representation:
DK, NO, SE, FI, IS