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Press Releases

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein & Pianist Inon Barnatan: The Singing Cello

January 13, 2021 | By Nicole Lane, Chamber Music Northwest
Marketing Director


CONTACT:     Nicole Lane, Marketing Director
                    503.546.0187 (o) 360.601.4298 (c)

Chamber Music Northwest to Premiere
Cellist Alisa Weilerstein & Pianist Inon Barnatan: The Singing Cello
Virtual Concert Features
Dramatic Duos by Manuel De Falla & Rachmaninoff
January 30

(Portland, OR) January 13, 2021 – The Chamber Music Northwest (CMNW) 2020-21 Season continues with superstar cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan with The Singing Cello program. This virtual concert premieres Saturday, January 30 at 7 pm PT on, and can be streamed through Saturday, February 6. In connection with this concert, CMNW will host a live Musical Conversation with Grammy Award-winning American composer Joan Tower on Tuesday, January 26 at 6 pm PT. This event is hosted by Soovin Kim, one of Chamber Music Northwest’s artistic directors. The Musical Conversation series is free and can be accessed on the CMNW website.

“Technically flawless and deeply expressive” (New York Times), Alisa Weilerstein makes the cello sing as if it were her own voice, and is acclaimed for her commanding performances of the classics of the cello repertoire.  In performances marked by intensity, sensitivity, and a wholehearted immersion in each of the works she interprets. “Weilerstein is a consummate performer, combining technical precision with impassioned musicianship,” stated the MacArthur Foundation when awarding Alisa Weilerstein a 2011 MacArthur ‘Genius Award’.

Weilerstein is joined by pianist Inon Barnatan who has appeared at CMNW in recent seasons. Hailed as “one of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times), Barnatan is celebrated for his poetic sensibility, musical intelligence, and consummate artistry.”

From CMNW Artistic Directors Gloria Chien and Soovin Kim: “We are thrilled to present the passionate cellist Alisa Weilerstein in this program of favorites by Manuel de Falla and Sergei Rachmaninoff, played with her longtime duo partner Inon Barnatan. Inon is not only a star pianist but is also a fellow artistic director of La Jolla Summerfest, one of the country’s premiere chamber music festivals. It is such a pleasure to feature Alisa and Inon as part of our first season with CMNW!”

Recorded in The Baker-Baum Concert Hall at The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla, California, this dynamic concert will begin with Manuel De Falla’s Spanish Suite Populaire Espagnole, inspired by Spanish folk music. The Suite features seven wildly entertaining and diverse songs from different parts of Spain: an asturiana is from Asturias, in the north; the seguidilla, a type of flamenco from Murcia in the southeast, "Jota" is from Aragón in the northeast. "Nana" is a lullaby, and "Polo" a wild desire for revenge on an unfaithful lover. 

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s last chamber work – his lush Sonata for Cello & Piano in G Minor, Op. 19 – is filled with Russian romanticism and passion. Rachmaninoff himself played the terrifyingly difficult piano part for its premiere in 1901, along with a role for the cello that is its equal in every way. Few composers before him so deeply explored the cello’s capacity for expressive tenderness and emotional intensity, and the pairing is as intense and passionate as his great piano works and symphonies.

Explore the music further in a free live Musical Conversation with Grammy Award winner and Grand Dame of American composers Joan Tower on Tuesday, January 26 at 6 pm PT at Tower has been among the most influential American composers for the last 50 years. In addition to her many orchestral and chamber works, she has written an unusual number of pieces for solo single-voice instruments such as the violin, viola, flute, and clarinet. In this Musical Conversation, Chamber Music Northwest’s Artistic Director Soovin Kim will speak with her about the potent expression inherent in a solitary voice. The conversation will include a Q&A that invites questions from the audience at home.


2021 Season All-Access Passes: $99
Single Concert Passes: $20
Musical Conversation series: Free

Alisa Weilerstein & Inon Barnatan: The Singing Cello

Saturday, January 30, 2021, 7 pm PT at
Live Musical Conversation on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 6 pm PT at

Technically flawless and deeply expressive” (The New York Times), Alisa Weilerstein makes the cello sing as if it were her own voice. Weilerstein is known for her commanding performances of the classics of the cello repertoire. Renowned pianist Inon Barnatan joins her for this dynamic performance program featuring Manuel De Falla’s Spanish folk-inspired Suite Populaire Espagnole, and Rachmaninoff’s rapturous Cello Sonata. cello/1059


Catalyst Quartet: Uncovered
Saturday, February 13, 2021, 7 pm PT at 

Live Musical Conversation on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 6 pm PT at                 

The Catalyst Quartet combines a serious commitment to diversity, education, and contemporary works with virtuosic playing “reminiscent of great quartets of the past such as the Guarneri and Budapest” (Richmond Times). The quartet was founded by the Sphinx Organization, a social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. In this concert, celebrate the music of important black composers Coleridge-Taylor, Price, and Perkinson with selections from the quartet’s upcoming CD release Uncovered, which strives to highlight works by classical composers previously overlooked because of their race or gender. events/catalyst-quartet-uncovered/1196 

Fleur Barron & Julius Drake: Winter Journey (Winterreise)

Saturday, February 27, 2021, 7 pm PT at 

Live Musical Conversation on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 6 pm PT at 

Praised as a “charismatic star” by the Boston Globe, mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron is the winner of Tanglewood Festival's 2016 Jackson Prize, awarded to one outstanding young vocalist each year. "A collaborator gifted with sensitive phrasing and insight” (The New York Times), internationally-renowned pianist Julius Drake is the perfect accompaniment to Barron's "thrillingly dark and rich-veined mezzo" (Seen and Heard International). Experience this unique presentation of Schubert’s Winterreise – a lieder traditionally performed by a tenor – sung by the mesmerizing Barron. drake-winter-journey-winterreise/1166

Goldmund Quartet: Europe’s Rising Stars
Saturday, March 20, 2021, 7 pm PT at 

Live Musical Conversation on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 6 pm PT at

Hailed as one of the most exciting young string quartets in the world, the Goldmund Quartet’s exquisitely refined playing has been awarded prizes at major competitions such as the Wigmore, Melbourne, and ARD Munich, and are the Rising Stars of the European Concert Hall Organization. In this concert, hear the Goldmund perform dramatic chamber works written by Puccini, Strauss, and Schubert on their historic set of Stradivari instruments once owned by the great virtuoso Niccolò Paganini. stars/1057

Parker Quartet: Inventive & Inspired
Saturday, April 24, 2021, 7 pm PT at 

Live Musical Conversation on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 6 pm PT at

Inspiring performances, luminous sound, and exceptional musicianship are the hallmarks of the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet. Renowned as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation for their purity of sound and the depth of their music, the Parker Quartet will apply their “exceptional virtuosity [and] imaginative interpretation” (The Washington Post) to compositions by three masterful composers representing the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries including Beethoven’s spiritual Heiliger Dankgesang string quartet. quartet-inventive-inspired/1193

Kenari Quartet: Transforming Perceptions of the Sax
Saturday, May 15, 2021, 7 pm PT at; $20 or free with All-Access Pass 

Free live Musical Conversation on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 6 pm PT at

Applauded for their “flat-out amazing” performances and “stunning virtuosity” (Cleveland Classical), the Kenari Quartet's larger-than-life personalities pop off the stage. The unique style and flair of this Protégé Project alumni all-saxophone ensemble electrified Chamber Music Northwest audiences in 2018. Their triumphant return to the CMNW stage will feature modern and contemporary work plus improvisation. events/kenari-quartet-transforming-perceptions-of-the-sax/1062


Now in its 51st season, Chamber Music Northwest shares the richness and diversity of chamber music with more than 50,000 people through 80 events annually, including our Summer Festival of outstanding concerts, illuminating outreach activities, educational programs supporting young musicians, and innovative collaborations across the Portland Metro region.

Chamber Music Northwest’s mission is to inspire our community through concerts and events celebrating the richness and diversity of chamber music, performed by artists of the highest caliber, presenting our community with exceptional opportunities for enjoyment, education, and reflection. Chamber Music Northwest is led by Artistic Directors Gloria Chien and Soovin Kim, and Executive Director Peter Bilotta.

As one of the nation’s leading chamber music presenters, Chamber Music Northwest brings to our community the world’s greatest musicians and composers, from rising-star members of our Protégé Project and exceptional local musicians to world-renowned artists that include Grammy Award winners, Avery Fisher Prize honorees, and MacArthur ‘Genius Award’ recipients. Together they collaborate to perform the expansive 500-year chamber music repertoire, ranging from beloved classics and hidden masterpieces to contemporary works and less conventional projects.                                                                 

Chamber Music Northwest is an international leader in celebrating chamber music’s enduring relevance and diversity, with more than 100 commissions and premieres of new works as well as its Protégé Project, which cultivates the next generation of dynamic chamber music performers by supporting exceptional, early-career chamber musicians and composers in their professional development.


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