Cellist Alisa Weilerstein. Photo by Marco Borggreve.

In the January-February 2024 issue of Strings Magazine, Brian Wise writes, “Concert programmers and soloists who wish to stray from the beaten concerto path must often summon their powers of persuasion to get new and obscure repertoire before receptive audiences. How do they do it, and what lessons do their examples hold? ‘In any given orchestra season … there are one or maybe two cello concertos,’ says cellist Alisa Weilerstein when asked about her longstanding advocacy of the Barber Cello Concerto … Weilerstein notes, ‘Usually, you build a relationship from a certain place—with an orchestra, a conductor, the audience—and once there’s a trust there, then you can align things so the repertoire can go in an interesting direction. It takes a long time to build trust …’ Meghan Umber is the chief content officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a key figure in the orchestra’s commissioning efforts. She says it would be wrong to assume that she keeps quotas of certain repertoire—or that her colleagues in the marketing department want only celebrity soloists playing famous concertos…. ‘It’s up to us to make sure the audience pool is growing larger. New music is an important part of that.’ ”