Weilerstein & Weilerstein

The cellist Alisa Weilerstein is a guest of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich under the direction of her brother Joshua Weilerstein.
Read more about the career, the debuts at the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich as well as the further engagements of the siblings Alisa and Joshua Weilerstein, which are at the same time very different, but in the end not that dissimilar.

Alisa Weilerstein (Foto: Marco Borggreve)
Joshua Weilerstein (Foto: Sim Canetty Clark)

The Wunderkind
According to her biography, Alisa Weilerstein discovered her love of music when she was two and a half years old when her grandmother made instruments out of cereal boxes. Alisa was immediately enthusiastic about the improvised instrumentation, but was quickly frustrated when it produced no sound. At the age of four she was able to persuade her parents to buy her a real cello. At the age of 13, she already made her debut with the Cleveland Orchestra, and two years later she appeared for the first time at Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony.

The Versatile One
Alisa Weilerstein knew from an early age that she wanted to be a musician. Not so Joshua - on the contrary, he was sure he did not want to be a musician. What, according to Alisa, was not that he was not interested in music, but had too many other interests: he wanted to become a baseball player or author. But at the age of 16 he decided to study violin and conducting. Without great expectations, he participated in the Nikolai Malko Competition at the age of 22 and won to his great surprise.

The Parents
The father of the siblings, Donald Weilerstein, is the first violinist in the Cleveland Quartet, her mother is the pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein. Especially the father had great influence on the musical development of the two siblings. Alisa especially appreciated his humor. Her father took different roles during the music lessons - one of them was the «opposite-telling». The better Alisa played, the louder his criticism was or he gave her the wrong contrary instructions. What would unsettle others and make them totally confused, spurred the siblings to even better performance to incite their father to even more absurd behavior.

The Debuts
In June last year, Joshua Weilerstein made his debut with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich as a substitute for Alondra de la Parra in the concerts with Igudesman & Joo. Some may remember him better as Spiderman conductor.
Alisa Weilerstein's debut dates back 17 years: on the occasion of an Orpheum concert, she appeared for the first time with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich as a 20-year-old, and for the last time she experienced the Zurich audience at the New Year's Eve concert 2014 with Tchaikovsky's «Rococo Variations».

The Engagements
Joshua Weilerstein is the author and speaker of the podcast «Sticky Notes: The Classical Music Podcast». Alisa Weilerstein, who suffers from diabetes, has been the Celebrity Advocate of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation since November 2008.

published: 19.11.2019