Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan

Thursday, November 7, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

Memorial Hall

“…how beautifully Ms. Weilerstein can make her instrument sing.” – New York Times

“Their interpretations were like a series of marvelously expressive close-ups: every note and phrase pinned to an exact emotion.” – Boston Globe

Inon Barnatan is celebrated for poetic sensibility, musical intelligence, and consummate artistry. He has received both an Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, recognizing “young artists of exceptional accomplishment.” He was named the new Music Director of the La Jolla Music Society Summerfest beginning in 2019.

Recent orchestral highlights are a Walt Disney Concert Hall debut with the L.A. Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel and performances with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas in San Francisco and at Carnegie Hall, and with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Recitals included Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center with Renée Fleming, and Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall, again, with Ms. Weilerstein.

Alisa Weilerstein has appeared with all the foremost orchestras and conductors of the U.S. and Europe. Her chamber music recitals, solo and accompanied, span the breadth and depth of the cello repertoire. In its citation for her 2011 “genius grant” Fellowship, the MacArthur Foundation stated, “A young cellist whose emotionally resonant performances of both traditional and contemporary music have earned her international recognition…Alisa Weilerstein is a consummate performer, combining technical precision with impassioned musicianship.”

Ms. Weilerstein discovered her love for the cello at just two and a half, when her grandmother assembled a makeshift set of instruments from cereal boxes to entertain her while she was ill with chicken pox. At 13, she played Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo” Variations for her Cleveland Orchestra debut, and in March 1997 made her first Carnegie Hall appearance. A Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Celebrity Advocate, Ms. Weilerstein was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at nine.

Complete Sonatas for Cello and Piano (1796 – 1815) – Ludwig van Beethoven

Program Notes

In 2007, the great cellist Steven Isserlis wrote this in The Guardian:

Performing Beethoven’s entire oeuvre for cello and piano in sequence is a very different experience from playing any of the works separately; it is a journey through a life. One wonderful aspect of the sonatas is that they represent all of Beethoven’s three major creative periods. The (first) two sonatas are real concert pieces, large in scale, full of exciting effects that would have left the Berliners gasping. They are really sonatas for piano with cello, not the other way round…

The third sonata, the A major, Op 69, inhabits a different world altogether. In his tragic letter known as the Heiligenstadt Testament, written in October 1802, Beethoven had admitted that he had harboured thoughts of suicide. “’It was only my art that held me back…’” Yet this sonata — in common with several other works from the same period — is one of the most positive works imaginable…It is also the first equal sonata for cello and piano… Here, every theme is perfectly conceived for both instruments; Beethoven had invented a new genre…