“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.
Weilerstein’s 2016-17 season has included, for the first time in her career, performances of Bach’s complete suites for unaccompanied cello: at Caramoor, in Washington, DC, and in London. In January she embarked on a nine-city U.S. tour with longtime recital partner Inon Barnatan and clarinetist Anthony McGill, including a concert in New York’s Alice Tully Hall and performances of a Joseph Hallman premiere composed for this trio. She toured Europe with Barnatan later in the spring, with stops in Salzburg and at London’s Wigmore Hall. Her busy concert schedule will feature Britten’s Cello Symphony with the New World Symphony and appearances at the Easter Festival in Aix-en-Provence, at the concert halls of New York, Bergen, Stamford, Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin. In February the cellist performed Henri Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain… with Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Orchestra, and in March gave the world premiere of Matthias Pintscher’s Cello Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which co-commissioned the piece for her.
As an exclusive Decca Classics recording artist, Weilerstein releases her fifth album in September, playing Shostakovich’s two cello concertos with the Bavarian Radio Symphony under Pablo Heras-Casado, in performances recorded live last season. Her discography also includes Dvořák’s Cello Concerto; Solo, her compilation of unaccompanied 20th-century cello music; and Elgar and Elliott Carter’s cello concertos with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin, which was named BBC Music’s “Recording of the Year 2013”.
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 Pintscher and premiered works by Lera Auerbach and Joseph Hallman. She appears at major music festivals worldwide, and regularly collaborates with Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and the El Sistema education program.
Born in 1982, at 13, in October 1995, Weilerstein 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 holds a degree in Russian history from Columbia University, from which she graduated in May 2004. The cellist is the winner of both Lincoln Center’s 2008 Martin E. Segal prize for exceptional achievement and the 2006 Leonard Bernstein Award. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Weilerstein is a Celebrity Advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.