in: News & Features

September 20, 2011

Alisa Weilerstein Named MacArthur Fellow

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Cellist Alisa Weilerstein, a member of New England Conservatory’s ensemble-in-residence the Weilerstein Trio, was named as recipient of one of 22 MacArthur Fellowships for 2011. This “Genius” Grant brings her $500,000 in support over five years. Her work is very well known to Boston concert-goers and BMInt readers. A listing of all of her Intelligencer reviews and mentions can be found here.

New England Conservatory is believed to have affiliations with more MacArthur Fellows than any other school of music. NEC’s other laureates are Gunther Schuller, Ran Blake, Jason Moran, Steve Lacy and Miguel Zenón.

Since 1981, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Fellows Program has awarded unrestricted fellowships to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. About Alysa Weilerstein they have written:

Alisa Weilerstein is a young cellist whose emotionally resonant performances of both traditional and contemporary music have earned her international recognition. As a soloist with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and conductors, Weilerstein is a consummate performer, combining technical precision with impassioned musicianship. Raised in a family devoted to the arts, she began performing on the cello as a preschooler and made her public debut with a professional orchestra at the age of thirteen. Unlike many musical prodigies, Weilerstein chose to pursue a liberal arts degree while continuing to maintain a busy performance schedule as both a soloist and as a chamber musician, performing and recording with her parents as the Weilerstein Trio. While her repertoire includes the classics, Weilerstein is a tireless advocate for contemporary music, introducing audiences to works by major composers of our day and, in many cases, performing with them. In 2007, she worked with composer Osvaldo Golijov on a complete revision of Azul, his concerto inspired by a Pablo Neruda poem, incorporating orchestra, accordion, and percussion to support cello melodies. Performing in more than one hundred concerts a year, Weilerstein has successfully navigated the transition from child prodigy to accomplished, professional musician and is expanding the cello repertoire through her collaborations with leading contemporary composers.

Alisa Weilerstein received a B.A. (2004) from Columbia University. She has performed with orchestras throughout the United States and internationally, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, the Boston Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic, among others. In 2009, she was appointed artist-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto is forthcoming with Decca Classics.

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