Speaking Out

02.01.09
Alisa Weilerstein
Strings

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein is a steadily rising soloist and recitalist on the classical-music circuit, as well as a member of the acclaimed Weilerstein Trio, with her father (violinist Donald Weilerstein) and mother (pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein). An EMI recording artist and a recipient of an Avery Fischer Career Grant, Alisa is an alumna of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society II.

She's also living with type 1 diabetes.

In November, the 26-year-old was appointed the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Celebrity Advocate. Weilerstein speaks out about the disorder for the first time publicly in a video on her website, alisaweilerstein.com. "There are definite similarities in managing a full-time concert career and managing diabetes," she says. "The biggest similarity is that each takes constant vigilance and discipline."

A major and life-threatening autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes is also known as "childhood" or "juvenile" diabetes because it's typically diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. Weilerstein was diagnosed at age nine. "I started playing professionally when I was 14 years old and I didn't tell anyone about my diabetes... for three years," Weilerstein says, "because I wanted to prove that I could do anything that any other person could do."

Now that she's proven herself capable of an itinerary that would tax even the healthiest performer, Weilerstein is becoming more vocal about living with diabetes. "I really want to be a part of the global movement to produce a powerful voice for diabetes awareness," she says. For more information about the JDRF, visit jdrf.org.