Alisa Weilerstein CELLO

American cellist Alisa Weilerstein has attracted widespread attention worldwide for playing that combines a natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship. 

weilerstein alisa 1112 headshot c jamie jung.jpg

The intensity of her playing has regularly been lauded, as has the spontaneity and sensitivity of her interpretations.  Following her 2013 performance with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Times said, “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.”  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.

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, Alan Gilbert, Manfred Honeck, Marek Janowski, Neeme Jarvi, Paavo Järvi, Jeffrey Kahane, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Ludovic Morlot, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Peter Oundjian, Matthias Pintscher, Donald Runnicles, Yuri Temirkanov, Jaap van Zweden, 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’s debut album with Decca, released in the United States in November 2012, features performances of the Elgar Cello Concerto in E minor and the Elliott Carter Cello Concerto with conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin. The collaboration was described by The New York Times: “Their interpretation is one of poise, heft and ardor, the soloist’s superb control keenly matched by the conductor’s insightful support.” For her second album on the Decca label, to be released worldwide in early 2014, Ms. Weilerstein will record the Dvorak cello concerto with conductor Jiří Bělohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic.

Ms. Weilerstein’s 2013-14 season includes engagements across Europe and the United States. In several return engagements she will perform the Elgar cello concerto with Peter Oundjian and the Toronto Symphony; she will play with cellists Carter Brey and Daniel Mueller-Schott in a concert of Penderecki’s Concerto Grosso with the New York Philharmonic; and she will return to Chicago to perform Prokofiev’s cello concerto with Jaap van Zweden and the Chicago Symphony. She will also perform the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in February, and make her debuts with Orchestra Mozart in Italy and the Osaka Philharmonic in Japan. Ms. Weilerstein is artist-in-residence with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra this season, and has engagements with the Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, and San Francisco symphonies and the Israel Philharmonic. She will return to the Southbank Center in London to perform with Kirill Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam to perform with James Gaffigan and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. She will also give a recital at London’s Wigmore Hall in December as part of a European tour with pianist Inon Barnatan.

A major milestone in Ms. Weilerstein’s career took place in May 2010 when she performed Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Daniel Barenboim in Oxford, England for the orchestra’s 2010 European Concert.  This concert was televised live to an audience of millions worldwide and also released on DVD by EuroArts.

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.  A month later she was the soloist on a tour of Venezuela with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, led by Gustavo Dudamel. She has subsequently made numerous return visits to Venezuela to teach and perform with the orchestra as part of its famed El Sistema program of music education.

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.

For more information on Ms. Weilerstein, please visit her Facebook fan page, her Twitter page (@AWeilerstein), and her website

View all concerts featuring Alisa Weilerstein

Forthcoming Concerts featuring Alisa Weilerstein