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Alisa Weilerstein, cello

Overview

“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.” So stated the MacArthur Foundation when awarding Alisa Weilerstein a 2011 MacArthur “genius grant” Fellowship, prompting the New York Times to respond: “Any fellowship that recognizes the vibrancy of an idealistic musician like Ms. Weilerstein … deserves a salute from everyone in classical music.” In performances marked by intensity, sensitivity, and a wholehearted immersion in each of the works she interprets, the American cellist has long proven herself to be in possession of a distinctive musical voice. An exclusive recording artist for Decca Classics since 2010, Weilerstein is the first cellist to be signed by the prestigious label in more than 30 years.

For her first album on the Decca label, 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 both Norman Lebrecht and BBC Music magazine, which featured the cellist on the cover of its May 2014 issue. On her second Decca disc, released in early 2014, Weilerstein undertook Dvorák’s Cello Concerto with Jirí­ Belohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic, in a performance distinguished, as the New York Times noted, by a “take-no-prisoners emotional investment that is evident in every bar.”

Weilerstein has appeared at major music festivals throughout the world, including Aspen, Bad Kissingen, Delft, Edinburgh, Jerusalem Chamber Music, La Jolla SummerFest, Mostly Mozart, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Tanglewood, and Verbier. In addition to her appearances as a soloist and recitalist, Weilerstein performs regularly as a chamber musician. She has been part of a core group of musicians at the Spoleto Festival USA for the past eight years and also performs with her parents, Donald and Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, as the Weilerstein Trio, the trio-in-residence at Boston’s New England Conservatory.

The cellist is the winner of both Lincoln Center’s 2008 Martin E. Segal prize for exceptional achievement and the 2006 Leonard Bernstein Award. She received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2000 and was selected for two prestigious young artists programs in the 2000-01 season: the ECHO (European Concert Hall Organization) “Rising Stars” recital series and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two.

Born in 1982, Weilerstein discovered her love for the cello at just two and a half, when her grandmother assembled a makeshift set of instruments from cereal boxes to entertain her while she was ill with chicken pox. Although immediately drawn to the Rice Krispies box cello, Weilerstein soon grew frustrated that it didn’t produce any sound. After persuading her parents to buy her a real cello at the age of four, she developed a natural affinity for the instrument and gave her first public performance six months later. At 13, in October 1995, she played Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo” Variations for her Cleveland Orchestra debut, and in March 1997 she made her first Carnegie Hall appearance with the New York Youth Symphony. A graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Richard Weiss, the cellist also graduated in May 2004 with a degree in History from Columbia University. In November 2008, Weilerstein, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was nine, became a Celebrity Advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

"Weilerstein's cello is her id. She doesn't give the impression that making music involves will at all. She and the cello seem simply to be one and the same."

-Los Angeles Times

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Alisa Weilerstein, cello and Inon Barnatan, piano

Date: Monday, October 16, 2017 - 8:00 PM

Location: Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, 300 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Mendelssohn: Cello Sonata in D Major, Op. 58
De Falla: Suite Populaire Espagnole
Debussy: Cello Sonata
Chopin: Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 65

This performance features a free pre-concert lecture starting at 6:45 PM with Christine Anderson

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Alisa Weilerstein, cello and Inon Barnatan, piano

Date: Monday, December 13, 2010 - 8:00 PM

Location: Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, 300 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Beethoven: Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 5, No. 2
Britten: Cello Sonata in C Major, Op. 65
Stravinsky: Suite italienne
Rachmaninov: Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 19

MacArthur Foundation

“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.”

Los Angeles Times

“Weilerstein's cello is her id. She doesn't give the impression that making music involves will at all. She and the cello seem simply to be one and the same.”

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