Duo Partners Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan Release First Recording Together on Decca October 2

09.10.15
Inon Barnatan & Alisa Weilerstein, Inon Barnatan, Alisa Weilerstein
21C

Pianist Inon Barnatan and cellist Alisa Weilerstein, longtime and exclusive recital partners who “play with a dazzling technique and a level of communication and expression so clear that they can practically finish each other’s phrases” (Boston Classical Review), release their first album together on Decca on October 2. They chose for this first recording the Chopin and Rachmaninov cello sonatas – monumental works for both instruments that they have been exploring together in concert for years – as well as shorter works by both composers. Following the release of the album will be a six-country tour in November, in venues ranging from London’s Wigmore Hall to the Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall in Istanbul, with stops in Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen and Bonn. In early February, they reunite in the U.S. for two more appearances: in Fort Worth and at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall. 

Weilerstein and Barnatan, who are celebrated as a duo for being “temperamentally well matched … with their poise and their passion” (New York Times), are also two of the most critically applauded solo artists performing today. Barnatan is embarking on the second of three seasons as the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist-in-Association, and will be the soloist under Michael Tilson Thomas’s baton on the San Francisco Symphony’s U.S. tour this spring, which culminates at Carnegie Hall.  Barnatan’s 2013 Schubert album on Avie Records earned rave reviews from Gramophone and BBC Music, and his 2012 album, Darknesse Visible, was named BBC Music’s “Instrumentalist CD of the Month” and made the New York Times’s list of “Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012.” Weilerstein – a MacArthur Fellow and sought-after soloist the world over – will premiere two concertos this season written especially for her by noted composers Pascal Dusapin and Matthias Pintscher.

The Dusapin piece will have its premiere with the Chicago Symphony, followed by European performances with both the Stuttgart and Paris Opera Orchestras; Weilerstein will perform the Pintscher (featuring the composer on the podium) with the Danish National Orchestra and then with Cologne’s WDR Symphony, before performances with the co-commissioning Boston Symphony Orchestra next season. An exclusive Decca Classics artist, and the first cellist to be signed by the prestigious label in more than 30 years, Weilerstein debuted on the label playing the Elgar and Elliott Carter concertos; the disc was named “Recording of the Year” by BBC Music, which featured her on the cover of its May 2014 issue.

Yet both pianist and cellist find the musical rewards of sharing the spotlight as a duo to be an essential complement to their increasingly remarkable trajectories as solo performers.  

As Weilerstein says: “Playing in a duo context with Inon is rewarding because we think in similar terms, we have a unique connection. We respond to each other in an instinctive way, without having to talk about it.” 

Barnatan agrees: “Alisa and I have fun together. We can sense right away when the mood changes, or something different is happening, and we trust each other enough to be able to follow those paths wherever they lead. It’s rare to find a partner like that. I feel very lucky.”