Reviews

“...Alisa Weilerstein, one of the most exciting American cellists of the new generation.”
New York Times, October 2013

“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, May 2013

“Listening to her play is a rich experience. Among soloists of world renown who are still under 30, surely she is one of the most extraordinary.”
BBC Music Magazine, October 2011

“Her technical abilities serve a taste for sweep and intensity; she performs with soulful expression and physical abandon.”
New York Times, October 2011

“In a sense Ms. Weilerstein is a throwback to an earlier age of classical performers: not content merely to serve as a vessel for the composer’s wishes, she inhabits a piece fully and turns it to her own ends.”
New York Times, December 2008

“Weilerstein was in peak form technically, poetically and intellectually…Weilerstein has taken on maturity without losing her youth, an entrancing combination…Weilerstein’s sound was intense yet restrained and relatively free of vibrato, creating an effect wholly appropriate to the emotional temperature of the music, and one that might be described as an ethereal laser beam. I’ve never heard anything quite like it.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 2008

“At 26, she is arguably Yo-Yo Ma’s heiress apparent as sovereign of the American cello.”
New York Magazine, Sept 2008

“Weilerstein seemed to implicitly answer the challenge Isaac Stern used to pose time and again to technically gifted young players: Show the audience not just how you make music but why.”
Boston Globe, May 2008

Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

“The young American cellist Alisa Weilerstein simply steals the show. Her musicianship is absolutely stunning. She captures a perfect balance between introversion and songfulness, sensitivity and whimsy, seeming entirely at one with the music, her cello becoming an extension of her heart.”
Classic FM, June 2011

“Alisa Weilerstein gave the most technically complete and emotionally devastating performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto that I have ever heard live, with an [Berlin Philharmonic] orchestral accompaniment she can only have thought possible in her wildest dreams...”
The Guardian, May 2010

“The fiery young American played with an infectious independence, ready to take risks yet always at one with her fellow musicians. The results were fresh and arresting.”
The Observer, May 2010

Dvorák’s  Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104

“While the mere 27-year-old American played her parts with exquisite tone, agile fingering, graded filigree and layer upon layer of nuance, at the same time, she entwined her phrases around various instrumental solos, joining them, weaving in and over them, clinging to the orchestral fabric, yet standing distinct – as if Dvorák were sending her the still-wet-inked score, straight from his head to her heart and hands.”
The Huffington Post, May 2010

“Weilerstein…was soulful and bold, if in her own private universe, visibly transporting herself into little ecstasies. But she earns her excesses with a superb musicality and a fluidity of phrasing.”
Los Angeles Times, May 2010

“The 27-year-old cellist spanned the full emotional range from poignancy to ebullience, bringing out an abundance of sentiment while avoiding sentimentality…I found myself listening with senses heightened to a masterpiece so familiar that it is easy to take for granted. The crowd was up on its feet in stentorian appreciation.”
Chicago Tribune, June 2009

“She boasts a wonderfully large and expressive string tone, and she shaped the piece’s lyrical melodies with heart-tugging eloquence.”
San Francisco Chronicle, June 2008

Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107

“Every once in a while you come across a soloist who redefines your conception of a piece of music. Dmitri Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 is an extraordinary work, but it was only after this performance by Alisa Weilerstein that I realized quite how extraordinary it really is.”
Bachtrack.com, June 2012

“Weilerstein’s cadenza was so captivating that you had to remind yourself to breathe, and her projection and intonation were phenomenal.”
ClevelelandClassical.com, May 2012

“The brilliant young American cellist Alisa Weilerstein…was the compelling soloist in a first-rate performance of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No.1…between Ms. Weilerstein’s impassioned, intelligent playing and the richness and color of the ensemble, this was an organic and arresting account of a great work.”
New York Times, April 2011

“Mstislav Rostropovich was the dedicatee of Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto, and his performances usually outdistanced those of anyone else.  Not on Wednesday. The young American Alisa Weilerstein showed a deep, dark intensity united to biting drama… her sense of repose gave access to a new level of self-communing.  Completely assured in the quiet high writing, Weilerstein shone especially in the long cadenza, with which she took her time, achieving singular poetry.”
Chicago Tribune, April 2011

“Shostakovich’s alternately wry, acerbic, sorrowful Cello Concert No.1…delivered its requisite punch in a keen orchestral reading, crowned by a magisterial performance by cellist Alisa Weilerstein. This score sounded as natural a fit for Weilerstein’s temperament as it did for an orchestra [St. Petersburg Philharmonic] that has Shostakovich’s music in its DNA.  She offered trenchancy and atmospherically gritty playing when called for but, just as tellingly, was able to delve probingly into the solo part’s deep and troubled vein of introspection. Indeed, like Temirkanov, this is a musician who understands the value of fraught silence.”
Washington Post, April 2011

“She tore into the concerto with a ferocity that all but left the orchestra stunned. She is not undisciplined. She projected a rich lyrical tone when she wanted to or when Shostakovich wanted her to, and she played as if lost in reverie.”
Los Angeles Times, March 2011

“Weilerstein whipped her end of the music into a frenzy of angst and anger, a stunning reflection of exactly what Shostakovich certainly had in mind. Her intensity and drive set the nervous first movement in motion from the first notes, building to ferocious climaxes. Yet she lacked nothing in technical clarity, every note articulated with bang-on intonation…even in the high harmonics in the slow movement.  Her sound in the lyric passages was warm and inviting…This was an incendiary performance of this music, as riveting as any cellist and orchestra I have ever heard.”
Seen and Heard International, March 2011

“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.  We must cast our minds back to Rostropovich to remember an account of the slow movement as potent and technically accomplished as this. The sad song of the opening emerged as from a frail old voice and Weilerstein’s extraordinary subito piano effects and the way she could drain colour and sound to near-inaudibility (as in the passage in ghostly harmonics) and yet demand attention from the farthest reaches of the hall were astonishing. The huge cadenza was truly her “mad scene” and might just be the most disturbing thing we’ve heard all season.”
The Independent, August 2010

“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.”
The Sunday Times, August 2010

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