Highly Recommended Concert: FRAGMENTS 2 (Alisa Weilerstein, cellist; presented by LA Phil at Disney Hall)

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by Tony Frankel on November 11, 2023

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-San Diego,Tours

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.

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 about an hour long and blending five to six composers, to be released independently over several seasons.

After a successful launch with FRAGMENTS 1 last season, the renowned cellist brings the second installment of her multi-year FRAGMENTS project to Walt Disney Concert Hall on Wednesday November 15 at 8 as part of the California Festival of New Music, a statewide music showcase, Nov. 3-19, spotlighting the most compelling and forward-looking voices in performances of works written in the past five years.

Within each Fragment, individual movements from a single Johann Sebastian Bach suite are thoughtfully integrated with selected new works by Alan Fletcher, Ana Sokolovic, Caroline Shaw, Daniel Kidane, and Giti Razaz.to create a distinct emotional arc. With the exception of the works of J.S. Bach, naturally, all of the music in this program has been commissioned by Alisa Weilerstein and FRAGMENTS.

“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.

The performance also boasts innovative lighting and stage design. 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. Weilerstein recruited a team of experts to help realize her vision. Director Elkhanah Pulitzer has worked with many music and theater organizations, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic. New York-based Seth Reiser, a scenic and lighting designer, collaborated with Ms. Pulitzer on Grammy-winning bassist, singer and composer esperanza spalding’s Twelve Spells American tour. Costume designer Carlos J. Soto and artistic producer and consultant Hanako Yamaguchi complete Weilerstein’s Fragments team.

Co-produced by San Diego Symphony, Weilerstein will also perform FRAGMENTS 2 at The Conrad in La Jolla on November 16, 2023, 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

for tour dates and cities, visit Alisa Weilerstein

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