Published on 03/06/2020

The Franco-American cellist signs an editorial partnership with Alpha Classics, which starts with the Bach’s Cello Suites nos.1 and 2, to be released exclusively on vinyl and on download and streaming platforms. The recording will be available on digital platforms from 19 June 2020, and the vinyl will be available in France on 20 June, exclusively in the shops participating in the Record Store Day.

"I'm very happy to be a part of Record Store Day...
I can already imagine that day, everyone in the streets of Paris, going from one record store to another, rummaging through the racks full of treasures. These independent record shops, activist places that pay no attention to passing trends and commercial philosophies, prove to be a bit more important and vital to us every day.
I'm also happy that so-called classical music is joining the party, and is represented on Record Store Day when these beautiful black vinyls will impart their rhythms, songs and dances to the streets of Paris."

- Sonia Wieder-Atherton

The Vinyl will be released in other channels and territories on 11 September 2020. This volume and the two others that will follow (Suites 3 to 6) feature photos by the great Sarah Moon:

"For me, whenever I play the Bach suites, all of a sudden I find myself visualising Giacometti’s hands incessantly moulding the earthen clay until a face appears – his hands engaging with the physical material.
And so one becomes aware that the way by which facial features materialize forms an inherent part of the face itself. Getting to grips with the Bach suites is very closely related to that sense. You have to dig deeply into the string to give birth to the phrase, to make sure it breathes correctly: a phrase that is perpetually becoming, endlessly making and remaking itself.
I waited a long time before recording these suites.
Then one day, or rather one night, I began.
It was at Noirlac Abbey, in the monastic refectory. We arrived as the white stone of the building was being gradually shrouded in darkness. And when everything was quiet, we began.
These are the first two suites.
The others will follow.
Then there was my meeting with Sarah Moon. When I first felt my longing to record the Bach suites, I dreamt constantly of her images; because whenever I look at them I think of the creation of the world, the separation of the waters, the earth appearing, all before the beginning of history."

- Sonia Wieder-Atherton


Sonia Wieder-Atherton has always sought to make music a language open to the world. It is this quest that has led her over the years from one repertory to another, from discovery to discovery.

She was born in San Francisco to a mother of Romanian origin and an American father, but grew up in New York and subsequently in Paris, where she began playing the cello. She entered Maurice Gendron’s class at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, then, aged nineteen, set out for the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow to continue her studies with Natalia Shakhovskaya. Back in France, at the age of twenty-five, she was a prizewinner at the Rostropovich Competition.

Alongside her concerts devoted to the Classical and Romantic repertories, Sonia Wieder-Atherton collaborates with many contemporary composers (including Pascal Dusapin, Georges Aperghis and Wolfgang Rihm), whose interpreter of choice she has become.

She has also turned her attention to other forms of expression and artists from different horizons, initially with the filmmaker Chantal Akerman, for whom she wrote several film scores, as well as collaborating on live performances and installations. The voice of her cello has also encountered the voices of Fanny Ardant and Charlotte Rampling in a focus on illustrious texts, such as Navire Night by Marguerite Duras and the poems of Sylvia Plath.

In recent years, she has originated many projects that she conceives and stages: The Odysseys was premiered in Aix-en-Provence, then performed in many cities around the world, recently at the Avignon Festival and La Nuit Blanche in Paris. ‘With my cello, surrounded by the sea, I talk, I shout, I whisper. To the earth, to the murmurs of crowds, to breathing, to waves, to the storm, to chaos. I am confronted with a soundtrack in a dreamlike time, in thirteen adventures built around the music of Bach, Bellini, Prokofiev, Krawczyk, Aperghis and Schumann, as well as Berber, Egyptian and Syrian folksongs.’

Sonia Wieder-Atherton’s discography is very rich. It was launched with Jewish Songs, a cycle for cello and piano in which she was inspired by the art of the hazzans, and which has enjoyed considerable success since its release in the 1990s. She also made three recordings for the Naïve label: From the East, for cello and instrumental ensemble, conceived as a journey from Russia to Mitteleuropa; Vita, for solo cello and three cellos, in which she recounts the life of Angioletta-Angel through music by two geniuses out of their time, Monteverdi and Scelsi; and finally Little Girl Blue, from Nina Simone.

These four albums, currently unavailable, will gradually be reissued by Alpha.

Several new recordings will follow, including an album of Boccherini cello concertos in a transcription integrating the sound of the cimbalom and highly unpredictable cadenzas...
The Odysseys will be published in short formats, only on digital platforms, then in an enriched edition with a book.

For Sonia Wieder-Atherton, to play Bach, Boccherini, Jewish songs or Nina Simone is to perform the same gesture, to ask the same question: that of a voice that will never be able to understand itself if it listens to itself in isolation.