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Alisa Weilerstein’s Summer 2024: FRAGMENTS 1 & 2 in Aspen; Dvořák, Barber and Elgar concertos; Verbier and Schleswig-Holstein festivals; more

(June 2024)—MacArthur award-winning cellist Alisa Weilerstein launches her summer season at the Aspen Music Festival, performing Parts 1 and 2 of “FRAGMENTS,” her acclaimed multisensory solo cello project (July 2 & 3), before opening the Colorado Music Festival in. Boulder with two performances of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto under the baton of Music Director Peter Oundjian (July 5 & 7). At the end of the summer she gives two more Dvořák concerto performances, this time led by Christoph Eschenbach in the final concerts of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival (Aug 18 & 19), where Weilerstein was the first cellist to win the Leonard Bernstein Award in 2006. Other summer highlights include a performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto in the final concert of Estonia’s Pärnu Music Festival, led by Paavo Järvi (July 18); chamber performances, masterclasses and Strauss’s Don Quixote at the Verbier Festival, conducted by Lahav Shani (July 24–29); and chamber music by Beethoven and Arensky with longtime collaborator Inon Barnatan at California’s La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, where the pianist serves as Music Director (Aug 9 & 11).

Concertos: Dvořák, Barber, Elgar

Weilerstein’s second Decca release, in 2014, was a definitive recording of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with Jiří Bělohlávek leading the Czech Philharmonic, about which Gramophone raved:

“Not only does Weilerstein possess a flawless technical address, lustrous tone-production and intrepid range of dynamic, her playing evinces a captivating candour and risk-taking flair that not
only succeed in activating the goosebumps (always a good sign) but also make you hear the music with fresh ears. For all the red-blooded temperament and freewheeling spontaneity on show, though, it’s in the concerto’s softer, frequently chamber-like passages that Weilerstein and those inimitably songful Czech winds really come into their own, the music’s intimacy and sense of loss conveyed with the most raptly instinctive poetry imaginable.”

The cellist’s other summer concertos are similarly acclaimed staples of her repertoire. Her Decca debut, in 2013, was a live recording of the Elgar concerto with Daniel Barenboim and Staatskapelle Berlin that won awards for Concerto of the Year and Recording of the Year from BBC Music magazine. After a performance of Samuel Barber’s Cello Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra in 2023, BachTrack reported that Weilerstein “was in full command of the fearsome, thorny technical demands, not in the least during the daunting cadenza and the first movement’s bracing finish.” A recent performance of Strauss’s Don Quixote with Karina Canellakis leading the San Francisco Symphony was lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joshua Kosman:

“As a performer, Weilerstein also has a taste for the grand gesture, but on this occasion she balanced that beautifully with a vein of internal tenderness. Her characterization of Quixote was aptly vibrant and varied – by turns melancholy, reflective, heroic and foolish, and often all at once.”

Weilerstein performs the musical role of Quixote at the Verbier Festival this summer under the baton of Israeli conductor Lahav Shani, with the role of Sancho Panza played by violist Michael Barenboim.


Known for her “stylistic sensitivity, verve and spontaneous delight in discovery” (The Guardian),
Weilerstein introduced her major new multisensory performance series, “FRAGMENTS,” two seasons ago, and she reprises the first two parts of the series this summer at the Aspen Music
Festival (July 2 & 3). FRAGMENTS weaves together the 36 movements of Bach’s solo cello
suites with 27 new commissions to make six unique programs, each an hour long, for solo cello.
Tracing a powerful and wholly original emotional arc, each program embraces a wide variety of compositional voices, the composers being diverse with respect to age, race, gender, geography, compositional approach, musical style and stage of career (see below for complete list). All six programs are performed without pauses, applause or program details in a multisensory production by director Elkhanah Pulitzer and artistic producer and advisor Hanako Yamaguchi, with responsive lighting and architectural elements by Seth Reiser and original costumes by Carlos J Soto and Molly Irelan. Previewing Weilerstein’s performance of FRAGMENTS 1 in the co-commissioning Carnegie Hall last season, the New York Times observed: “It is hard to think of many soloists of a similar stature who would dare to bring anything like it to the stage.” Click here to watch a preview of “FRAGMENTS.”

Chamber performances

Weilerstein gives multiple performances and masterclasses at the Verbier Festival this summer,
including a performance of Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor with an all-star trio in which she is joined by violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Kirill Gerstein (July 24). In August, she rejoins longtime recital partner and La Jolla Music Society SummerFest Music Director Inon Barnatan for performances in La Jolla of piano trios by Beethoven and Arensky. Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio also features violinist Stefan Jackiw (Aug 9), while Weilerstein and Barnatan are joined by violinist Blake Pouliot for Arensky’s Piano Trio No. 1 (Aug 11). The cellist and pianist recently released their recording of Beethoven’s complete cello sonatas on Pentatone, about which Gramophone declared: “If you’re after a recording that’ll blow open the windows of this music and scour away your preconceptions – well, look no further than Weilerstein and Barnatan.” Weilerstein gives one more performance at the La Jolla SummerFest this season, when she collaborates with the Voces8 vocal ensemble on Arvo Pärt’s Fratres – for which the composer did not specify any fixed instrumentation – for a program juxtaposing the Estonian minimalist with Mozart (Aug 7).

Click here to download high-resolution photos.

“FRAGMENTS” for solo cello

Alisa Weilerstein, project creator & performer
Elkhanah Pulitzer, director
Hanako Yamaguchi, artistic producer & advisor
Seth Reiser, set & lighting design
Carlos J Soto, costume design
Molly Irelan, costume design

Featured composers:
Andy Akiho, J.S. Bach, Courtney Bryan, Chen Yi, Alan Fletcher, Gabriela Lena Frank, Osvaldo Golijov, Joseph Hallman, Gabriel Kahane, Daniel Kidane, Thomas Larcher, Tania León, Allison Loggins-Hull, Missy Mazzoli, Gerard McBurney, Jessie Montgomery, Reinaldo Moya, Jeffrey Mumford, Matthias Pintscher, Gity Razaz, Gili Schwarzman, Caroline Shaw, Carlos Simon, Gabriella Smith, Ana Sokolović, Joan Tower, Mathilde Wantenaar, Paul Wiancko

Leadership support for “FRAGMENTS” is generously provided by Joan and Irwin Jacobs. Patron support for “FRAGMENTS” is provided by Judy and Tony Evnin, Clara Wu Tsai, and Paul Sekhri. “FRAGMENTS” has been made possible with commissioning support from the San Diego Symphony, UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures, Carnegie Hall, Celebrity Series of Boston, and the Royal Conservatory of Music for the 21C Festival. Special thanks to Martha Gilmer for her leadership and counsel, and to Celebrity Series of Boston and Aspen Music Festival and School for their in-kind contributions.

Alisa Weilerstein: summer 2024 engagements

July 2
Aspen, CO
Harris Concert Hall

July 3
Aspen, CO
Harris Concert Hall

July 5 & 7
Boulder, CO
Colorado Music Festival
DVOŘÁK: Cello Concerto

July 18
Pärnu, Estonia
Estonian Festival Orchestra
Paavo Järvi, conductor
ELGAR: Cello Concerto in E minor

July 24
Verbier Festival
Leonidas Kavakos, violin
Kirill Gerstein, piano
MENDELSSOHN: Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66

July 25 & 26
Verbier Festival

July 29
Verbier Festival
Michael Barenboim, viola
Verbier Festival Orchestra
Lahav Shani, conductor
STRAUSS: Don Quixote, Op. 35

Aug 7
La Jolla, CA
PÄRT: Fratres

Aug 9
La Jolla, CA
Stefan Jackiw, violin
Inon Barnatan, piano
BEETHOVEN: Piano Trio in B-flat, Op. 97, “Archduke”

Aug 11
La Jolla, CA
Blake Pouliot, violin
Inon Barnatan, piano
ARENSKY: Piano Trio No. 1, Op. 32

Aug 18 & 19
Schleswig-Holstein Festival
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
DVOŘÁK: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104

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© 21C Media Group, June 2024

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