Highly Recommended Concert: FRAGMENTS 2 (Alisa Weilerstein, cellist; presented by La Jolla Music Society and the San Diego Symphony)

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by Tony Frankel on October 5, 2023

in Concerts / Events,Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-San Diego

I have been following Alisa Weilerstein for over fifteen years, but until about five ago it was only on recordings and YouTube. Having seen her perform live four times since I can assert that the phenomenal American cellist has attracted attention worldwide because her playing combines a natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship and soul.

After a successful launch with FRAGMENTS 1 last season, the renowned cellistbrings the second installment of her multi-year FRAGMENTS project to La Jolla Music Society as part of the ProtoStar Innovative Series and the California Festival of New Music. Co-produced by San Diego Symphony, Weilerstein will perform FRAGMENTS 2 at The Conrad in La Jolla on November 16, 2023, weaving together 18 short movements from works by Alan Fletcher, Ana Sokolovic, Caroline Shaw, Daniel Kidane, Giti Razaz, and Johann Sebastian Bach. With the exception of the works of J.S. Bach, all of the music in this program has been commissioned by Alisa Weilerstein and FRAGMENTS. She will also appear at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Wednesday November 15 at 8.

Conceived by Weilerstein, FRAGMENTS is a groundbreaking, multi-year project for solo cello that weaves together the 36 movements of Bach’s solo cello suites with 27 newly commissioned works. The resulting collection is divided into six Fragments, each an hour long and blending five to six composers, to be released independently over several seasons.

In addition to The Conrad, Weilerstein will present different Fragments this season at Tanglewood, Boston’s Sanders Theatre, Maison Symphonique de Montréal, and The Kennedy Center.

Project Creator Alisa Weilerstein
Director Elkhanah Pulitzer
Set/Lighting Designer Seth Reiser
Artistic Producer/Advisor Hanako Yamaguchi

Within each Fragment, individual movements from a single Bach suite are thoughtfully integrated with selected new works to create a distinct emotional arc. Enhanced by responsive lighting and scenic architecture, the music is performed without pause and without a program, making for a wholly original and immersive audience experience.

“My greatest hope is to deepen connection between audience and artist through a series of unique performances that embrace the world we live in without sacrificing the intellectual and aesthetic qualities that make this artform such a singular mode of human expression,” says Weilerstein.

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