Guest cellist highlights Anchorage symphony program

01.29.08
Alisa Weilerstein
Daily News

ALISA WEILERSTEIN: Audience captivated by her performance.

If there was any spirit missing in the first half of the program, though, there was rich compensation after intermission, when Weilerstein stepped onstage to perform Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B Minor. She wrapped herself around her instrument, delivering a performance so fluid and physical it was hard to accept that the cello wasn't just an extension of her body (or vice versa). A graceful and passionate musician, Weilerstein seemed to approach each cadenza as though it were the last time she would ever play, drawing her bow away from the strings only with reluctance.

While Weilerstein's connection with her instrument was so intimate that at times the rest of the orchestra seemed to disappear behind her, it was not an exclusive relationship; rather, she drew the audience into her reverie. Her performance was hypnotic. There were moments at which the entire audience held its collective breath, hanging on her every note. She was, without a doubt, the high point of the evening, and one of the highlights of the symphony's season so far.