What do musicians do between concerts? After her "Dating: Don Quixote" last night and before her second concert with the OPL tomorrow, Alisa Weilerstein decided to spend part of her "day off" with teenagers of the European School. Her motivation: to bring music to kids who don't often visit concert halls or listen to classical music.
The quiet falls onto the room as soon as Weilerstein starts playing - first a contemporary piece*, then a Bach suite. The hundred or so students listen, in awe. Eyes closed, her cello firmly gripped: her posture and her concentration impress her audience. The room she's in seems to make absolutely no difference on the way she plays, be it the Philharmonie's Grand Auditorium or the European School's studio.
Weilerstein seems to enjoy herself when she explains the pieces she plays and answers the teens' questions, mostly questions about her career as a musician and a soloist. Is it better to play alone or with an orchestra? (A matter of taste and personality. She obviously prefers being a soloist.) What does she think about contemporary music? (She thinks we live in an interesting period of time when composers don't have to write in a certain style for their talent to be recognized, there's more freedom.) Weilerstein also stresses the importance of playing in a way that speaks to you, because it's impossible to please everyone anyway. A lesson that is sure to find an echo among the audience, whether they are musicians or not.
Time flies and after an hour, it is time for autographs and a group picture. Truth be told: the music offer aimed specifically at teenagers is sometimes lacking. Let's just hope that this "meet & greet" has made up for it and that many more will follow!
* Sinfini Music just released a video of Alisa Weilerstein playing that piece. It's Osvaldo Golijov's Omaramor.