Always a welcome visitor to San Francisco, Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado returns to Davies Symphony Hall this week to lead the San Francisco Symphony in Mozart’s Symphony No 29, Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony, and the Schumann Cello Concerto, with guest artist Alisa Weilerstein.
Principal Conductor of Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, New York, and Principal Guest Conductor of Teatro Real, Madrid, Maestro Heras-Casado has an impressive repertoire which ranges from great symphonic and operatic works to contemporary scores. As well as his ongoing association with the San Francisco Symphony, which began with his debut performance in 2010, he also has long-standing relationships with the Los Angeles Philharmonic – his recent interpretation of works by Ravel and Stravinsky with the L A Phil was described by the Los Angeles Times as “riveting” – and with the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Mariinsky Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony, and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra.
His schedule this season includes engagements with the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, Philharmonia Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Finnish Radio Symphony, and at Salzburg’s Mozartwoche. He’ll be touring and recording with the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Ensemble in Monteverdi’s Selva morale e spirituale, and focusing on the works of Mendelssohn with Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. Operatic works include Le nozze di Figaro at Staatsoper Berlin, Carmen with Orchestre de Paris at Festival d’Aix en Provence, and Der fliegende Holländer at Teatro Real.
The guest soloist in this week’s performance of the Schumann Cello Concerto is American cellist Alisa Weilerstein, whose performance of this work in January this year was described by The Guardian as “thrillingly realized”. Ms Weilerstein has a family background steeped in music. Her father, Donald Weilerstein, was the founding first violinist of the Cleveland String Quartet, her mother is the pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, and they celebrate their 40th year as a performing duo this year, with a concert at Juilliard on December 8, together with their extraordinarily gifted daughter.
Alisa Weilerstein has enjoyed particular success in her performances of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No 1 (which she and Pablo Heras-Casado recently recorded for Decca, with the Bavarian Radio Symphony). In 2010, The Independent described her as “A phenomenal young cellist ….” [who] “…. pretty much stole the evening with her extraordinary account of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No1…”. Following a performance of this work in March 2011, Seen and Heard International wrote: “This was an incendiary performance of this music, as riveting as any cellist and orchestra I have ever heard”, while the following month, in The New York Times review of Ms Weilerstein’s performance of the same work, she was described as “brilliant” and “compelling”.
This season, Alisa Weilerstein will play the Schumann concerto with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and on tour in Italy and Spain. She will also perform Britten’s Cello Symphony with the New World Symphony; Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic, and the National Symphony; Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the Dallas Symphony; Elgar with the Staatskapelle Weimar; Walton with Amsterdam’s Residentie Orkest; and Dvořák with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Sydney and Tokyo symphonies.
Pablo Heras-Casado leads the San Francisco Symphony and guest soloist Alisa Weilerstein in a program of works by Mozart, Schumann and Dvořák, at Davies Symphony Hall from October 19 to 22. For more information, and for tickets, visit the San Francisco Symphony website.
San Francisco Symphony program notes