After making her Chicago Symphony debut in 2009 with the Dvořák Cello Concerto, Alisa Weilerstein performed concertos by Barber, Haydn, Prokofiev and Elgar with the orchestra. In the 2015-16 season, she gave the world-premiere performances of Outscape, a concerto written by French composer Pascal Dusapin and commissioned by the CSO.
Now she returns full circle as soloist in the Dvořák concerto, this time with the Czech Philharmonic under music director Semyon Bychkov, for an SCP Orchestras concert Nov. 4. The program closes with another Dvořák classic, Symphony No. 9 (From the New World).
Weilerstein considers the concerto “arguably the best-written major work for cello,” she insisted in a recent interview with the BBC. “It’s completely epic and symphonic in scope. It has every range of emotion you could ask for. It’s like reading a really great novel and having every character incredibly developed.”
From the performer’s perspective, “it’s a piece that sits well on the instrument,” she said. “It slides beautifully in the hands, even though it’s quite challenging and very virtuosic. But most of all, it’s just an incredibly touching, moving work. Dvořák has such a uniquely natural way with melody; it just appears to be flowing right out of him. It’s one of Dvořák’s best.”