American cellist Alisa Weilerstein has attracted widespread attention worldwide for playing that combines a natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship. The intensity of her playing has regularly been lauded, as has the spontaneity and sensitivity of her interpretations. Alisa made her debut with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in June 2012 when she toured with the orchestra and conductor Pablo Heras-Casado to France, Germany and the Netherlands. In September 2011 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and in 2010 she became an exclusive recording artist for Decca Classics, the first cellist to be signed by the prestigious label in over 30 years. Her debut album, set for release in November 2012, will feature the Elliott Carter and Elgar Cello Concertos with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle.
She has appeared with all of the major orchestras throughout the United States and Europe with conductors including Marin Alsop, Daniel Barenboim, Pablo Heras-Casado, Sir Andrew Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Manfred Honeck, Marek Janowski, Paavo Järvi, Jeffrey Kahane, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Ludovic Morlot, Tadaaki Otaka, Peter Oundjian, Matthias Pintscher, Yuri Temirkanov, Juraj Valchau, Osmo Vänskä, Simone Young and David Zinman. She has also appeared at major music festivals throughout the world as a soloist, recitalist and as a chamber musician.
Ms. Weilerstein has appeared at major music festivals throughout the world, including Aspen, Bad Kissengen, Delft, Edinburgh, Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Mostly Mozart, Schleswig-Holstein, Tanglewood and Verbier. In addition to her appearances as a soloist and recitalist, Ms. 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 she also performs with her parents, Donald and Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, as the Weilerstein Trio, which is the Trio-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory in Boston.
Ms. Weilerstein’s 2012-13 season includes engagements in Canada, Belgium, Finland, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Russia, and across the United States. In September 2012 she will return to Germany to perform the Elliott Carter Cello Concerto with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle. On November 1 Ms. Weilerstein will perform Haydn’s D major Cello Concerto with Nicholas McGegan and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall. She will then appear with conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the Philadelphia Orchestra in December (Elgar Cello Concerto), conductor Lionel Bringuier with the Atlanta Symphony in April (Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1), and at the Kennedy Center with conductor Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra in May (Elgar Cello Concerto). In January 2013 Ms. Weilerstein will tour Europe with pianist Inon Barnatan, visiting Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. Ms. Weilerstein will make her debut with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in March for a 16-city tour with Mr. Barnatan.
In 2009, Ms. Weilerstein was one of four artists invited by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, to participate in a widely-applauded and high profile classical music event at the White House that included student workshops hosted by the First Lady, and playing for guests including President Obama and the First Family.
In 2008 Ms. Weilerstein was awarded Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal prize for exceptional achievement and she was named the winner of the 2006 Leonard Bernstein Award. She received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2000 and was selected for two prestigious young artists programs in 2000-01; the ECHO (European Concert Hall Organization) “Rising Stars” recital series and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two.
Alisa Weilerstein, who was born in 1982, made her Cleveland Orchestra debut at age 13, playing the Tchaikovsky “Rococo” Variations. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Youth Symphony in March 1997. Ms. Weilerstein is a graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Richard Weiss. In May 2004, she graduated from Columbia University in New York with a degree in Russian History. In November 2008 Ms. Weilerstein became a Celebrity Advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Birthday: April 14
First Cello: Alisa’s first cello was a Rice Krispies box with a toothbrush endpin made by her grandmother when she was sick with the chickenpox. Alisa was two years old.
First public performance: 4 years old
Professional debut: Alisa performed Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the Cleveland Orchestra when she was just 13.
College Graduation: Alisa graduated from Columbia University in 2004 with a B.A. in Russian History
- Cleveland Orchestra under Alan Gilbert in 1995
- Barcelona under Lawrence Foster in 1997
- Carnegie Hall with New York Youth Ochestra in 1997
- Tokyo Symphony in 2001
- Mostly Mozart debut: Alisa performed Osvaldo Golijov’s Azul in 2007
- New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, January 2007
- Berliner Philharmoniker under Daniel Barenboim, April 2010
- Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, May 2010
- BBC Proms with Minnesota Orchestra, August 2010
- London Philharmonia, May 2012
- Avery Fisher Career Grant 2000
- Leonard Bernstein Award 2006
- Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award 2008
- MacArthur Fellowship 2011
Alisa became a celebrity advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in November 2008.
Alisa performed at the White House for President Barack Obama and the First Family in November 2009.
Alisa toured in Venezuela with conductor Gustavo Dudamel and el Sistema in 2009.
Alisa met Daniel Barenboim for the first time in 2009. She performed the Elgar cello concerto with him and the Berliner Philharmoniker at Oxford on May 1, 2010.
Alisa signed her Decca Classics contract in October 2010. Her first album with Decca will be released in the United States on October 30, 2012.