Alisa Weilerstein Announces New Partnerships with Pentatone and Trondheim Soloists

01.16.18
Alisa Weilerstein
21C Media Group

MacArthur “genius grant” Award-winning cellist Alisa Weilerstein announces two major new partnerships to ring in the new year. She has signed an exclusive, multi-album contract with Pentatone, the Dutch label specializing in high-end, five-channel surround sound, and looks forward to making her first recording for the label this spring. Due for release later this year, the new album pairs masterworks of the First and Second Viennese Schools – two Haydn concertos with Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht – and marks the first collaboration of her new multi-season role as Artistic Partner of Norway’s celebrated Trondheim Soloists.

About the recording contract, Weilerstein explains:

“Pentatone’s values are in line with mine. Our conversations about repertoire have demonstrated the depth of their knowledge and, perhaps even more importantly, their eagerness in encouraging me to expand my musical horizons. Our first recording together is a testament to that ethos – that artistic integrity and curiosity should always be the first priority. I feel completely at home.”

The cellist is similarly enthusiastic about her new artistic role. She says:

“I couldn’t be happier to begin my artistic partnership with the Trondheim Soloists. The chamber orchestra repertoire has always been very special to me and I could not ask for more engaged or generous musicians to collaborate with. Our fantastic chemistry was evident from the very first notes we played together, and I am very eager to continue developing it over the years ahead.”

Since their founding 30 years ago, the Trondheim Soloists have established themselves as one of Norway’s leading chamber orchestras, winning international renown with a sound so distinctive in its Nordic clarity and openness that Classic FM has dubbed it “the Trondheim sound.” Featured on more than 50 albums, the string ensemble has been recognized with ten Grammy nominations and three Norwegian Spellemann Prizes, while its best-selling title – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Anne-Sophie Mutter – has sold around 700,000 copies to date. After launching their partnership with the Pentatone recording, Weilerstein and the ensemble look forward to touring Scandinavia together this summer, with subsequent tours of Europe and the U.S. planned for seasons to come.

The cellist has already won accolades for her way with Haydn’s concertos in live performance. On an extensive U.S. tour with London’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, her account of the Classical master’s C-major concerto “lifted everyone on the stage to an even higher level of excellence. … She brought to the Balboa stage an electricity, a holy zeal to make every musical idea on the page palpable to even the least engaged member of the audience,” prompting the San Diego Story’s critic to conclude that “I will never again hear this work played so well.” Likewise, it was under Weilerstein’s leadership that Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht was hailed as an “absolutely gorgeous half-hour: a mesmerizing traversal” (Seen and Heard International) at the 2015 Aspen Music Festival.

The cellist’s existing discography includes the Elgar and Elliott Carter concertos with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin, named “Recording of the Year 2013” by BBC Music magazine; Dvorák’s concerto with the Czech Philharmonic, which topped the U.S. classical chart; Solo, a compilation of unaccompanied 20th-century music that, as France’s ResMusica recognizes, is an “uncompromising and pertinent portrait of the cello repertoire of our time”; and both Shostakovich cello concertos with Pablo Heras-Casado and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, which the San Francisco Chronicle described as “powerful and even mesmerizing.”

Weilerstein concluded 2017 with a “terrific performance” (Chicago Tribune) of Barber’s cello concerto with the Chicago Symphony. Now, before she embarks on the tour with the Trondheim Soloists this summer, 2018 sees her play concertos by composers ranging from Schumann to Lutoslawski with no fewer than eleven more of the world’s top orchestras – America’s New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra, and Europe’s Hallé Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and Czech Philharmonic among them. As the UK’s Daily Telegraph put it, she is “truly a phenomenon.”