alisa weilerstein, cellist
from her website
Bill and Miki invited me to see Alisa Weilerstein perform Dvorak Cello Concerto tonight with the SF Symphony and David Robertson conducting. Strangely, I was offered tickets to the Thurs and Sat night shows within an hour of Bill and Miki's call; someone wanted me to go to this show. I'm glad that I have friends who call up to see if I want to go concerts; I've been so busy with non-music stuff that I've all but dropped out of the scene in the last few years. Between subscriptions to the SF Symphony and SF Performances, plus last-minute comps to shows that my friends play in, I was probably going to 2-3 concerts a month -- and it was fantastic! These days, I'm lucky if I get to a few concerts a year, and the vast majority of them are SLSQ shows.
Anyway, back to Alisa and Dvorak. I met Alisa three years ago at the Green Music Festival in Sonoma. I had only heard her before in chamber music, and was very excited for the opportunity to see her play a concerto with SF. We sat third row center, which was the perfect place to observe and hear the nuances of every note. Cello concertos can be hard to enjoy live because it is often hard for the cello to project over an entire orchestra. I like to sit close... but it makes me feel like the music is washing over me instead of through me.
In any case, Alisa was AWESOME. As a cellist myself, I can't play well enough to enjoy everything that goes into a well-executed, passionate performance of a concerto (I mean, with me playing), but I was able to at least get a glimpse of it again through her performance. I also really enjoyed David Robertson's conducting. Mi-Parti by Lutoslawski was a good opening piece for its cool textures and funkiness, but it didn't do much for me. The orchestra was really tight in Janácek's Taras Bulba, Rhapsody for Orchestra, and I really enjoyed their performance despite not being familiar with the piece. I thought Robertson let the orchestra indulge a bit too much in the opening of the Dvorak, which stole a bit from the cello entrance, but Alisa's raw emotion took control immediately, and I was hooked.
Thank you, Alisa, for the wonderful performance!