Alisa Weilerstein is one of the foremost cellists of our time. Known for her consummate artistry, emotional investment, and rare interpretive depth, she was recognized with a MacArthur “genius grant” Fellowship in 2011. Today her career is truly global in scope, taking her to the most prestigious international venues for solo recitals, chamber concerts, and concerto collaborations with all the preeminent conductors and orchestras worldwide.
With her multi-season new project, FRAGMENTS, Weilerstein aims to rethink the concert experience and broaden the tent for classical music. A multisensory production for solo cello, the six-program series sees her weave together the 36 movements of Bach’s solo cello suites with 27 new commissions. After premiering the first two programs in Koerner Hall tonight, with subsequent performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall and beyond, she looks forward to touring all six programs of FRAGMENTS in seasons to come.
Weilerstein recently premiered Joan Tower’s new cello concerto, A New Day, at the Colorado Music Festival. The work was co-commissioned with the Detroit Symphony; the Cleveland Orchestra, where Weilerstein performed it last fall; and the National Symphony, where she reprised it in May. An ardent proponent of contemporary music, she has also premiered and championed important new works by composers including Pascal Dusapin, Osvaldo Golijov, and Matthias Pintscher. Already an authority on Bach’s music for unaccompanied cello, in spring 2020 Weilerstein released a best-selling recording of his solo suites on the Pentatone label, streamed them in her innovative #36DaysOfBach project, and deconstructed his beloved G Major Prelude in a Vox.com video, viewed more than two million times. Her discography also includes chart-topping albums and the winner of BBC Music’s Recording of the Year award, while other career milestones include a performance at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama.
Weilerstein has appeared with all the major orchestras of the United States, Europe and Asia, collaborating with conductors including Marin Alsop, Daniel Barenboim, Jiří Bělohlávek, Semyon Bychkov, Thomas Dausgaard, Sir Andrew Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Mark Elder, Alan Gilbert, Giancarlo Guerrero, Bernard Haitink, Pablo Heras-Casado, Marek Janowski, Paavo Järvi, Lorin Maazel, Cristian Măcelaru, Zubin Mehta, Ludovic Morlot, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Peter Oundjian, Rafael Payare, Donald Runnicles, Yuri Temirkanov, Michael Tilson Thomas, Osmo Vänskä, Joshua Weilerstein, Simone Young and David Zinman. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at nine years old, Weilerstein is a staunch advocate for the T1D community. She lives with her husband, Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare, and their two young children.