Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Cello Genius on the Move

Between stops on a world tour, Alisa Weilerstein remembers the late Elliott Carter and plays us some Bach

Print Email
Alisa Weilerstein.(Harald Hoffman/Decca)

It is hard to overstate 30-year-old cellist Alisa Weilerstein’s musical achievements. In 2011, she was named a MacArthur fellow, aka “genius,” for her accomplishments as a musician and as an “advocate for contemporary music.” She is constantly in demand, performing, giving master classes, rehearsing, and recording with the world’s best orchestras. And she’s just released an album on Decca Classics—the first time the label has signed on a cellist in over 30 years. The CD, Elgar, Carter: Cello Concertos, features concertos by Edward Elgar and Elliott Carter along with Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei and is conducted by Daniel Barenboim and performed with the Berlin Staatskapelle.

The last few weeks have been particularly tumultuous for her, with the last-minute cancellation of her Carnegie Hall concert because of the danger posed by a crane dangling above the concert hall as a result of Hurricane Sandy, and then the death, at age 103, of Carter, whom she greatly admired. And then there was last week’s last-minute invitation, which she accepted, to play Brahms with the New York Philharmonic, stepping in for the principal cellist, Carter Brey.

Still, she made time to come to the studio, cello in hand, to talk about the new CD and her work with Barenboim, to remember Elliott Carter, and to play, quite beautifully, two movements from Bach’s Cello Suite in C Major. [Running time: 27:45.] 

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Bernard says:

Wonderful interview, great playing and a perfect example of how “new media” enriches us all.

Mazel Tov, Sarah!


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Cello Genius on the Move

Between stops on a world tour, Alisa Weilerstein remembers the late Elliott Carter and plays us some Bach

More on Tablet:

Facing Death

By Jenny Diski — ‘I don’t believe in you, “salvation,” I never have and I never will. And very soon I won’t even be.’