The Forward 50

Alisa Weilerstein

Alisa Weilerstein

Culture

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein was rehearsing at the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival in September when she learned that she’d been named a 2011 MacArthur Fellow. Noting her “technical precision” and “impassioned musicianship,” the MacArthur Foundation described her as “a consummate performer.”

The $500,000 “genius grant” came during a year in which the 29-year-old hit her stride as an internationally celebrated soloist, with return engagements at the New York, Los Angeles and Hamburg philharmonic orchestras, tours of Australia and Europe, and a debut with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in Korea.

Born in Rochester, N.Y., to prominent Jewish musicians Donald Weilerstein and Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, with whom she performs as part of the Weilerstein Trio, Weilerstein launched a solo career as a teenager but eschewed conservatory training in favor of a degree in Russian history from Columbia University.

An advocate of contemporary music, she has worked closely with a number of living composers, among them Jewish superstars Osvaldo Golijov and Gabriel Kahane.

Weilerstein’s emotionally resonant performances have garnered her comparisons to Jacqueline du Pré, whom she described to the Forward as “my favorite cellist who ever lived.” In 2010, Weilerstein made her Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra debut with Daniel Barenboim conducting the signature piece of du Pré, his late wife — the Edward Elgar Cello Concerto. In March, Weilerstein signed an exclusive recording contract with Decca Classics; she plans to record the Elgar with Barenboim in 2012.

Plus One

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, the Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.