For most of his life, Dmitri Shostakovich walked a nerve-jangling tightrope, trying to please his country's repressive communist regime while maintaining his artistic integrity. His Cello Concerto No. 1 (1959) was a success on both counts. Described by cello authority Lev S. Ginsburg as “an affirmation of life, triumph in the struggle for fulfillment,” this amazing work is considered the most popular 20th-century cello concerto. But Shostakovich never would have been one to sacrifice content for popularity; the concerto's vivid range of moods and exciting experimental tonalities create a drama of continuous conflict that challenges the listener on various levels — not to mention the performer. The concerto is known for its difficulty, but that's never fazed Alisa Weilerstein. The supremely gifted young cellist — whose many honors include a MacArthur “genius” grant — has been praised for her “magisterial” interpretation of the work, which you can hear this week on the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's season finale concert. The program includes the U.S. premiere of Hugo Gonzalez-Pioli's The Love of Zero, a bassoon concerto played to Robert Florey's 1927 avant-garde film of the same title with principal bassoonist Kenneth Munday as solist; Anna Clyne's “dazzlingly inventive” elegy, Within Her Arms; and Beethoven's Coriolan Overture, Op. 62. Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., May 18, 8 p.m.; and UCLA, Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Wstwd.; Sun., May 19, 7 p.m.; $25-$110. (213) 622-7001,

Sat., May 18, 8 p.m., 2013

LA Weekly