MacArthur Fellow Alisa Weilerstein Goes Solo, Plays Elgar and Dvorák with Orchestras of New York, Cleveland, London, Tokyo, and More in 2014-15

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MacArthur Fellow Alisa Weilerstein Goes Solo, Plays Elgar and Dvorák with Orchestras of New York, Cleveland, London, Tokyo, and More in 2014-15

 

MacArthur Fellow Alisa Weilerstein marks a major career milestone this season with the release of Solo, her compilation of unaccompanied 20th-century cello music for Decca Classics, from which she draws the Kodály sonata and other selections, juxtaposed with unaccompanied Bach, for solo recitals in London, San Francisco, and Aspen. The cellist – a nominee for Gramophone’s 2014 Artist of the Year award – also launches the seasons of both the Milwaukee Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra, besides undertaking collaborations with such world-class ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Czech Philharmonic, at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to London’s BBC Proms. All told, the 2014-15 season serves to consolidate Weilerstein’s reputation as an artist of substance in her prime, who remains “too big a talent to be pigeon-holed” (New York magazine).

 

Weilerstein goes Solo on new Decca album and in recital

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. Her new album, Solo, which is due for U.S. release on October 28, represents a highly personal artistic statement. Reflecting her commitment to contemporary composition, its program has been carefully chosen by the cellist to embrace a century of unaccompanied music for her instrument through works spanning four countries and three continents, all of which are nonetheless linked by the folk elements, gypsy inflections, and colloquial musical idioms they share.

 

The centerpiece of the recording is Zoltán Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8 (1915), in which the Hungarian composer gives “full rein to his tormented and craggy vision, qualities fully conveyed in the tireless Ms. Weilerstein’s staggering performance” (New York Times). The sonata is a signature work for the cellist, who offers live renditions this season in solo recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall (Jan 5) and the Aspen Festival’s Winter Music Series (Feb 12). Her account of the Kodály is also captured in the summer movie If I Stay, and on the accompanying soundtrack album; based on the best-selling novel by Gayle Forman, the August 22 release marks Weilerstein’s feature film debut in a cameo appearance as herself, alongside the movie’s star Chloë Grace Moretz.

 

Solo is completed by Bright Sheng’s Seven Tunes Heard in China (1995), the Suite for Solo Cello (1926) by Spain’s Gaspar Cassadó, and Omaramor (1991) for solo cello by Osvaldo Golijov, with whom Weilerstein has worked extensively; indeed, the Argentinean composer rewrote his Azul for cello and orchestra especially for her season-opening appearance at the Mostly Mozart Festival. Both Omaramor and Cassadó’s suite feature in her upcoming solo recital at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco (Feb 14), where, as in London and Aspen, she balances her program with unaccompanied suites by J.S. Bach. As New York magazine observes:

 

“Golijov and Kodály both send the cellist out on her own, without the comfort of a piano by her side, and Weilerstein thrived in that exposed solitude. … Over a half-hour, she traversed a Shakespearean soliloquy, careering from orchestral blasts of rage to quiet wit and the hushed ecstasy of stroked harmonics. Whatever she plays sounds custom-composed for her, as if she has a natural affinity with everything.”

 

International concerto engagements with award-winning Elgar, chart-topping Dvorák, and more

The vehicle for many of the cellist’s orchestral engagements this season is Elgar’s Cello Concerto, which has already figured prominently in her career. It was her recording of the work with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle – her Decca Classics debut – that won Weilerstein BBC Music magazine’s coveted “2013 Recording of the Year” award, while her live rendition with the same conductor at the Berlin Philharmonic impressed the New York Times as “incandescent” and The Guardian as “technically complete and emotionally devastating”; the concert was televised to an audience of millions worldwide, and subsequently issued on DVD. After launching the Milwaukee Symphony’s season with accounts of the great British concerto led by music director Edo de Waart (Sep 19–23), the cellist reprises Elgar’s masterpiece with the Cleveland Orchestra (Nov 6–9), Dallas Symphony (Nov 14–16), NHK Symphony (Feb 7–8), Stuttgart Philharmoniker (Oct 4), Netherlands Philharmonic (March 14–16), and the Philharmonia Orchestra, first in Canterbury (Oct 11) and then at London’s Royal Festival Hall (Oct 12) and the Bruges Concertgebouw (Oct 14).

 

Weilerstein has scored similar triumphs with Dvorák’s Cello Concerto, of which her recent Decca recording with the Czech Philharmonic and Jirí Belohlávek – distinguished by a “take-no-prisoners emotional investment that is evident in every bar” (New York Times) – succeeded in topping the U.S. classical chart last month. After reuniting with Belohlávek and the orchestra to tour the concerto to London’s BBC Proms (Aug 24), Germany’s Rheingau Music Festival (Aug 26), and Switzerland’s Montreux Festival (Aug 28), Weilerstein looks forward to revisiting the Dvorák with the New York Philharmonic, to which she returns under the leadership of Christoph von Dohnányi this winter (Dec 2).

 

At the Minnesota Orchestra, where she not only opens the recently revived ensemble’s season but joins music director Osmo Vänskä in helping to celebrate its “Grand New Beginning” (Sep 26–28), Weilerstein reprises her “exemplary” take on Barber’s Cello Concerto, in which she has proved herself “a passionate player of intense musicality” (New York Times). Noted for her interpretations of Russian repertoire, the cellist’s other orchestral engagements include performances of Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall (April 23) and Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra (March 19), Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo” Variations with Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra (Dec 31), and Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante with the Konzerthaus Berlin (July 4).

 

A committed chamber musician as well, Weilerstein embarks this season on a five-city U.S. duo recital tour with her frequent and longtime collaborator, pianist Inon Barnatan, with whom she is especially “temperamentally well matched” (New York Times). Culminating with an appearance in Boston’s “Celebrity Series” (May 1), the tour features the world premiere performances of a new work by Joseph Hallman, a 2014 Grammy Award nominee who has already written multiple pieces for Weilerstein, including a cello concerto that she premiered with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.

 

Details of Alisa Weilerstein’s 2014-15 engagements are provided below, and more information is available at the artist’s web site: alisaweilerstein.com.

 

 

 

Alisa Weilerstein: 2014-15 engagements

 

Aug 24

London, England

BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra / Jirí Belohlávek

Dvorák: Cello Concertoin B minor, Op. 104, B. 191

 

Aug 26

Wiesbaden, Germany

Rheingau Music Festival

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra / Jirí Belohlávek

Dvorák: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191

 

Aug 28
Montreux, Switzerland

Montreux Festival

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra / Jirí Belohlávek

Dvorák: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191

 

Sep 19, 20 & 23

Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra / Edo de Waart

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

 

Sep 26-28

Minneapolis, MN

Minnesota Orchestra / Osmo Vänskä (season opening)

Barber: Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 22

 

Oct 4

Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgarter Philharmoniker/ Dan Ettinger

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

 

Oct 8

Frankfurt, Germany

Alte Oper

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 1 in C, Hob. VIIb/1

 

Oct 9

Cologne, Germany

Kölner Philharmonie

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 1 in C, Hob. VIIb/1

 

Oct 11

Canterbury, England

Philharmonia Orchestra / Nicholas Collon

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

 

Oct 12

London, England

Royal Festival Hall

Philharmonia Orchestra / Nicholas Collon

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

 

Oct 14

Bruges, Belgium

Concertgebouw

Philharmonia Orchestra / Nicholas Collon

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

 

Oct 20

Aalborg, Denmark

Aalborg Symphony Orchestra

Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 126

 

Nov 6, 8 & 9

Cleveland, OH

Cleveland Orchestra / Robin Ticciati

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

 

Nov 14–16

Dallas, TX

Dallas Symphony Orchestra / Jaap van Zweden

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

 

Dec 2

New York, NY

Lincoln Center

New York Philharmonic / Christoph von Dohnányi

Dvorák: Cello Concertoin B minor, Op. 104

 

Dec 10

Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat, Op. 107

 

Dec 17

Oviedo, Spain

Orquesta Filarmónica de Oviedo / Rafael Payare

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

 

Dec 31

Zurich, Switzerland

Tonhalle Orchester / Lionel Bringuier

Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33

 

Jan 5

London, UK

Wigmore Hall

Solo recital

Bach: Cello Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011

Kodály: Sonata in B minor for solo cello, Op. 8

 

Feb 7 & 8

Tokyo, Japan

NHK Hall

NHK Symphony Orchestra / Paavo Järvi

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

 

Feb 12

Aspen, CO

Aspen Music Festival and School

Solo recital

Golijov: Omaramor

Bach: Cello Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009

Bach: Cello Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007

Kodály: Sonata in B minor for solo cello, Op. 8

 

Feb 14

San Francisco

St Mark’s Lutheran Church

Solo recital

Britten: Tema Sacher

Bach: Cello Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009

Ligeti: Sonata for Solo Cello

Golijov: Omaramor

Cassadó: Suite for Cello Solo

 

Feb 26

Valencia, Spain

Orquesta de Valencia

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

 

March 3

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg

Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33

Strauss: Don Quixote, Op. 35

 

March 14–16

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

 

March 19

Manchester, UK

Hallé Orchestra / Sir Mark Elder

Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 126

 

April 1 & 2

Montreal, Canada

Montreal Symphony Orchestra / Larry Foster

Bloch: Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque

 

April 16

Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest University

Recital with Inon Barnatan

Bach: Sonata for Viola da Gamba No. 2 in D, BWV 1028

Prokofiev: Sonata in C, Op. 119

Joseph Hallman: New work

Schubert: Fantasia in C, D. 934

 

April 18

San Juan, PR

Recital with Inon Barnatan

Bach: Sonata for Viola da Gamba No. 2 in D, BWV 1028

Prokofiev: Sonata in C, Op. 119

Joseph Hallman: New work

Schubert: Fantasia in C, D. 934

 

April 23

New York, NY

Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium

Orchestra of St. Luke’s / Pablo Heras-Casado

Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 126

 

April 26

Sonoma State University, Green Music Center

Recital with Inon Barnatan

Bach: Sonata for Viola da Gamba No. 2 in D, BWV 1028

Prokofiev: Sonata in C, Op. 119

Joseph Hallman: New work

Schubert: Fantasia in C, D. 934

 

April 27

Santa Barbara, CA

Recital with Inon Barnatan

Bach: Sonata for Viola da Gamba No. 2 in D, BWV 1028

Prokofiev: Sonata in C, Op. 119

Joseph Hallman: New work

Schubert: Fantasia in C, D. 934

 

May 1

Boston, MA

“Celebrity Series”

Jordan Hall

Recital with Inon Barnatan

Bach: Sonata for Viola da Gamba No. 2 in D, BWV 1028

Prokofiev: Sonata in C, Op. 119

Joseph Hallman: New work

Schubert: Fantasia in C, D. 934

 

May 9

Weiden, Germany

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Dvorák: Cello Concertoin B minor, Op. 104

 

May 10

Friedrichshafen, Germany

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Dvorák: Cello Concertoin B minor, Op. 104

 

May 13

Paris, France

Orchestre de Paris

Dvorák: Cello Concertoin B minor, Op. 104

 

July 4

Berlin, Germany

Konzerthaus Berlin / Juraj Valcuha

Prokofiev: Sinfonia concertante

 

 

alisaweilerstein.com

 

www.facebook.com/AlisaWeilerstein

 

twitter.com/aweilerstein

 

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© 21C Media Group, August 2014

 

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