Celebrity Series of Boston presents cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan in a streaming digital performance as part of the “Celebrity Series at Home” series of virtual concerts. The concert takes place on Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 7pm ET as an Aaron Richmond Recital. The performance is streamed from the The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, and is followed by a chat with the artists. This performance is made possible in part by support from The Consulate General of Israel to New England.
Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan made their Celebrity Series debuts in recital together in May 2008, repeating the partnership in May 2015. Subsequently, Weilerstein appeared as soloist with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and conductor Yuri Temirkanov in April 2011. Her most recent appearance was in February 2019 when she performed all six of Bach’s cello suites in a single performance. Celebrity Series presented Barnatan in his Boston recital debut in Pickman Hall in December 2014, in a program with the Jerusalem Quartet in April 2016, and in his Jordan Hall recital debut in November 2018. Weilerstein and Barnatan make their third joint appearance in this virtual performance.
Tickets for the digital concert are $20 and are available online at celebrityseries.org/productions/alisa-weilerstein-and-inon-barnatan. A recording of the premiere stream in its entirety will be available for on demand viewing approximately one hour after the initial premiere stream ends, and will be available to purchase and view for 72 hours. You can log in and watch any missed portions of the performance, or re-watch your favorite moments at any time during that window.
To browse the entire “Celebrity Series at Home” series and learn more about ticket bundles, visit: celebrityseries.org/athome.
Manuel de Falla, 7 Canciones populares Españolas ("Seven Spanish Folksongs")
Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 19
About Alisa Weilerstein
Alisa Weilerstein is one of the foremost cellists of our time. Known for her consummate artistry, emotional investment and rare interpretive depth, she was recognized with a MacArthur “genius grant” Fellowship in 2011. Today her career is truly global in scope, taking her to the most prestigious international venues for solo recitals, chamber concerts, and concerto collaborations with all the preeminent conductors and orchestras worldwide.
Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello figure prominently in Weilerstein’s current programming. Over the past two seasons, she has given rapturously received live accounts of the complete set on three continents, with recitals in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Los Angeles, Berkeley and San Diego; at Aspen and Caramoor; in Tokyo, Osaka, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, London, Manchester, Aldeburgh, Paris and Barcelona; and for a full-capacity audience at Hamburg’s iconic new Elbphilharmonie. During the global pandemic, she has further cemented her status as one of the suites’ leading exponents. Released in April 2020, her Pentatone recording of the complete set became a Billboard bestseller and was named “Album of the Week” by the UK’s Sunday Times. As captured in Vox’s YouTube series, her insights into Bach’s first G-major prelude have been viewed almost 1.5 million times. During the first weeks of the lockdown, she chronicled her developing engagement with the suites on social media, fostering an even closer connection with her online audience by streaming a new movement each day in her innovative #36DaysOfBach project. As the New York Times observed in a dedicated feature, by presenting these more intimate accounts alongside her new studio recording, Weilerstein gave listeners the rare opportunity to learn whether “the pressures of a pandemic [can] change the very sound a musician makes, or help her see a beloved piece in a new way.”
Committed to expanding the cello repertoire, Weilerstein is an ardent champion of new music. She has premiered two important new concertos, giving Pascal Dusapin’s Outscape “the kind of debut most composers can only dream of” (Chicago Tribune) with the co-commissioning Chicago Symphony in 2016 and proving herself “the perfect guide” (Boston Globe) to Matthias Pintscher’s cello concerto un despertar with the co-commissioning Boston Symphony the following year. She has since reprised Dusapin’s concerto with the Stuttgart and Paris Opera Orchestras and Pintscher’s with the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne and with the Danish Radio Symphony and Cincinnati Symphony, both under the composer’s leadership. It was also under Pintscher’s direction that she gave the New York premiere of his Reflections on Narcissus at the New York Philharmonic’s inaugural 2014 Biennial, before reuniting with him to revisit the work at London’s BBC Proms. She has worked extensively with Osvaldo Golijov, who rewrote Azul for cello and orchestra for her New York premiere performance at the opening of the 2007 Mostly Mozart Festival. Since then she has played the work with orchestras around the world, besides frequently programming his Omaramor for solo cello. Grammy nominee Joseph Hallman has written multiple compositions for her, including a cello concerto that she premiered with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and a trio that she premiered on tour with Barnatan and clarinetist Anthony McGill. At the 2008 Caramoor festival, she premiered Lera Auerbach’s 24 Preludes for Violoncello and Piano with the composer at the keyboard, and the two subsequently reprised the work at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Washington’s Kennedy Center and for San Francisco Performances.
Weilerstein’s recent Bach and Transfigured Night recordings expand her already celebrated discography. Earlier releases include the Elgar and Elliott Carter cello concertos with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin, named “Recording of the Year 2013” by BBC Music, which made her the face of its May 2014 issue. Her next album, on which she played Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Czech Philharmonic, topped the U.S. classical chart, and her 2016 recording of Shostakovich’s cello concertos with the Bavarian Radio Symphony and Pablo Heras-Casado proved “powerful and even mesmerizing” (San Francisco Chronicle). She and Barnatan made their duo album debut with sonatas by Chopin and Rachmaninoff in 2015, a year after she released Solo, a compilation of unaccompanied 20th-century cello music that was hailed as an “uncompromising and pertinent portrait of the cello repertoire of our time” (ResMusica, France). Solo’s centerpiece is Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello, a signature work that Weilerstein revisits on the soundtrack of If I Stay, a 2014 feature film starring Chloë Grace Moretz in which the cellist makes a cameo appearance as herself.
Weilerstein has appeared with all the major orchestras of the United States, Europe and Asia. In 2009, she was one of four artists invited by Michelle Obama to participate in a widely celebrated and high-profile classical music event at the White House, featuring student workshops hosted by the First Lady and performances in front of an audience that included President Obama and the First Family. A month later, Weilerstein toured Venezuela as soloist with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra under Dudamel, since when she has made numerous return visits to teach and perform with the orchestra as part of its famed El Sistema music education program.
Born in 1982, Alisa Weilerstein discovered her love for the cello at just two and a half, when she had chicken pox and her grandmother assembled a makeshift set of instruments from cereal boxes to entertain her. Although immediately drawn to the Rice Krispies box cello, Weilerstein soon grew frustrated that it didn’t produce any sound. After persuading her parents to buy her a real cello at the age of four, she developed a natural affinity for the instrument and gave her first public performance six months later. At 13, in 1995, she made her professional concert debut, playing Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo” Variations with the Cleveland Orchestra, and in March 1997 she made her first Carnegie Hall appearance with the New York Youth Symphony. A graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Richard Weiss, Weilerstein also holds a degree in history from Columbia University. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at nine years old, and is a staunch advocate for the T1D community, serving as a consultant for the biotechnology company eGenesis and as a Celebrity Advocate for JDRF, the world leader in T1D research. Born into a musical family, she is the daughter of violinist Donald Weilerstein and pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, and the sister of conductor Joshua Weilerstein. She is married to Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare, with whom she has a young child.
About Inon Barnatan
“One of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times), Inon Barnatan is celebrated for his poetic sensibility, musical intelligence, and consummate artistry. He inaugurated his tenure as Music Director of California’s La Jolla Music Society Summerfest in July 2019. The next season brought the release of a two-volume set of Beethoven’s complete piano concertos, which he recorded for Pentatone with Alan Gilbert and London’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
Barnatan’s recent orchestral highlights included Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto with Gilbert and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, a complete Beethoven concerto cycle with New Jersey’s Princeton Symphony, Rachmaninov with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Israel Philharmonic, Copland with the Oregon Symphony, and Mozart with the Houston Symphony and the Australian Chamber Orchestra at Lincoln Center. Solo recitals took him to Boston’s Celebrity Series, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, and London’s Southbank Centre, where he made his International Piano Series debut with a program of Ravel and Mussorgsky. In addition to performances with the Dover Quartet and St. Lawrence Quartet at Carnegie Hall, his chamber highlights included national tours with the Calidore Quartet and with Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Sergey Khachatryan, and percussionist Colin Currie.
A regular performer with many of the world’s foremost orchestras and conductors, Barnatan served from 2014-17 as the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic. In summer 2017, he made his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Symphony at London’s Royal Albert Hall and gave the Aspen world premiere of a new piano concerto by Alan Fletcher, which he went on to reprise with the Atlanta Symphony and in a season-opening concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Recent orchestral debuts include the Chicago, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Nashville, San Diego, and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the London, Helsinki, Hong Kong, and Royal Stockholm Philharmonics. Other recent highlights include a complete Beethoven concerto cycle in Marseilles; performances of Copland’s Piano Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas in San Francisco and at Carnegie Hall; and a U.S. tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, playing and conducting Mozart and Shostakovich from the keyboard and premiering a newly commissioned concerto by Alasdair Nicolson. With the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä, he played Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto on New Year’s Eve, followed by a tour that culminated in Chicago, and a return to the BBC Proms in summer 2018.
Barnatan is the recipient of both a prestigious 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, which recognizes “young artists of exceptional accomplishment.” A sought-after chamber musician, he was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program from 2006 to 2009, and continues to make regular CMS appearances in New York and on tour. His passion for contemporary music sees him commission and perform many works by living composers, including premieres of pieces by Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Avner Dorman, Alan Fletcher, Joseph Hallman, Alasdair Nicolson, Andrew Norman, Matthias Pintscher, and others. He has given multiple solo recitals at internationally acclaimed venues including New York’s 92nd Street Y, the Celebrity Series of Boston, Chicago’s Harris Theater, the Vancouver Recital Society, and London’s Southbank Centre and Wigmore Hall. Last season, he gave collaborative recitals at Carnegie Hall and Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center with soprano Renée Fleming, and in both 2016 and 2018 he collaborated with the Mark Morris Dance Group at New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival.
Barnatan’s most recent album release is a live recording of Messiaen’s 90-minute masterpiece Des canyons aux étoiles (“From the Canyons to the Stars”), in which he played the exceptionally challenging solo piano part at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In 2015 he released Rachmaninov & Chopin: Cello Sonatas on Decca Classics with Alisa Weilerstein, earning rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. His most recent solo recording, of Schubert’s late piano sonatas, was released by Avie in September 2013, winning praise from such publications as Gramophone and BBC Music, while his account of the great A-major Sonata (D. 959) was chosen by BBC Radio 3 as one of the all-time best recordings of the piece. His 2012 album, Darknesse Visible, debuted in the Top 25 on the Billboard Traditional Classical chart and received universal critical acclaim, being named BBC Music’s “Instrumentalist CD of the Month” and winning a coveted place on the New York Times’ “Best of 2012” list. He made his solo recording debut with a Schubert album, released by Bridge Records in 2006, that prompted Gramophone to hail him as “a born Schubertian” and London’s Evening Standard to call him “a true poet of the keyboard: refined, searching, unfailingly communicative.”
Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of three, when his parents discovered his perfect pitch, and made his orchestral debut at eleven. His musical education connects him to some of the 20th century’s most illustrious pianists and teachers: he studied first with Professor Victor Derevianko, a student of the Russian master Heinrich Neuhaus, before moving to London in 1997 to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Christopher Elton and Maria Curcio, a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel. Leon Fleisher has also been an influential teacher and mentor. Barnatan currently resides in New York City.
About Celebrity Series of Boston
Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. The Series has been bringing the very best performers–from orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, and more–to Boston’s major concert halls for 81 years. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives and build better communities. Through its education initiatives, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience—on stages, on streets, in neighborhoods–everywhere.
Celebrity Series of Boston is grateful to our 2020-21 Season Sponsors Amy & Joshua Boger, and to the many individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies whose support helps fulfill our mission to present performing artists who inspire and enrich our community. Institutional supporters include the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, The Catered Affair, Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, D.L. Saunders Real Estate Corp., First Republic Bank, Foley & Lardner LLP, Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Outside the Box: A Production of the Boston Arts Summer Institute, Cynthia and John S. Reed Foundation, Royal Little Family Foundation, Stifler Family Foundation, Anonymous, and many others.