Before the interval, Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin gave a similarly eyebrow-raising account of the Chopin Second Piano Concerto, a world away from dreamy Romantic indulgence, replacing it with crystalline clarity, an almost Mozartean sense of balance and a surprising muscularity.
That ruggedness continued in a blistering encore, Hamelin’s own darkly witty Toccata on L’homme armé, which sent him cascading up and down the keyboard in an unashamedly virtuoso display.
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Auxiliary Input: August 2017

August 16, 2017 – Theater Jones
I can't remember being more excited about the release of a recording. Here we have one of the most important works of 20th-century piano literature by one of the most important composers of that century; for a work as stylistically sui generis as it is, it's surprising how often it has been recorded: nine times since 1995, and seven of those in the last ten years.
One of the characteristics that distinguishes this Hyperion release, though, is the stature of the performer. Marc-André Hamelin is, by a longshot, the best-known pianist to record Feldman's For Bunita Marcus. I probably would have been nearly this excited had the performer been another unknown to me—no offense to Hildegard Kleeb or anyone else who has recorded the work—but Hamelin's doing it gives it a special quality. More about that later.
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Ursula Oppens, seeker of melodies

August 15, 2017 – The Broad Street Review
Ursula Oppens is not a flashy concert pianist. A quiet, poised, gracious, and unassuming performer, she comes onstage to play and starts making music the second she sits down. No fuss, no muss. At her concert sponsored by the Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy at the Curtis Institute, Ms. Oppens played a program in two sections, the first half consisting of 20th-century Russian composers.
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Pianist Ursula Oppens taps music at its source

August 14, 2017 – Philly.com
As Joseph Joachim the violinist was to Brahms and composers of his time, so is Ursula Oppens a pianist today who draws power by living close to the source of creation.
Oppens has commissioned dozens of works. Does this sense of ownership translate into insight or a sense of authority? There seemed something to the notion in the way Oppens pieced together her Sunday afternoon Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy recital at the Curtis Institute of Music’s Field Concert Hall.
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On Wednesday, August 16 the NY Choral (New York Choral Society) continues its Summer Sings Open Readings of beloved choral masterworks. This time it will present Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” a beloved masterwork.
The reading will feature Conductor Michael Ciavaglia with a distinguished cast of soloists. Hannah Spierman will take on the soprano role while Michael Kuhn will take on the tenor part with Nathanial Sullivan as the baritone.
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Emersons Adventure Minus One

August 9, 2017 – The Boston Musical Intelligencer
Three members of the Emerson Quartet played Mozart’s Divertimento, KV 563 at Wellfleet’s wonderful Congregational Church Monday before pianist and series co-director Jon Nakamatsu joined them in the Brahms’s Quartet in G Minor, Op 25, for piano and strings, for the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival. They earned what is these days an unusual standing ovation: In place of the now obligatory rise-and-clap, the packed house, including many of a certain age, leapt as one to its feet, entirely unperturbed by various impediments to locomotion.
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’You are about to enter a world unlike any other’ writes Marc-Andre Hamelin, one of the best, most audacious and most significant of all current classical pianists, in the notes to this. It is, he says, ‘a universe of sound completely unrelated to the narrative, linear musical physiognomies we are all used to. With “For Bunita Marcus,” Feldman has managed to wipe the slate clean and invent a world which has its own laws, which must be dealt with on its own terms.’
That means a 73-minute piece of ‘radically reduced dynamics’ and ‘uncommon textural spareness.’ Hamelin compares it to Jorge Luis Borges' story ‘The Library of Babel’ which he calls ‘one of the most startling original pieces of fiction ever written ... Every moment,’ says Hamelin of both Borges and Feldman ‘is a window toward the infinite.’
And there you have some reasons why this is one of the greatest of all recordings of Feldman's music. It is played and presented here by a pianist perfectly attuned to Feldman both technically and intellectually.
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Loin des sortilèges digitaux de Godowsky et Alkan, Marc-André Hamelin abat les murs et nous plonge dans une cérébralité sensorielle, un rituel sonore et rythmique (la métrique change tout le temps), plus que « musical » au sens traditionnel. L’art de Morton Feldman (1926-1987) s’est orienté vers une exploration de la dilatation du temps : « 72 minutes d’affilée de délicates textures ppp avec la pédale forte constamment enfoncée, ce n’est pas quelque chose à quoi les pianistes pourraient être préparés », écrit Hamelin dans la notice. Les auditeurs non plus. La réaction ? Deux possibilités : l’hypnose ou l’allergie profonde devant cette infinie trituration microscopique du néant. Mon point de vue est qu’il faut absolument tenter l’hypnose. Après, c’est comme avec Messmer : selon les individus, ça marche ou non. Mais tout a été fait parfaitement : le sérieux de la démarche, la précision décantée du jeu et la justesse de la captation sonore, très en adéquation avec l’oeuvre.
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Composed in 1985, two years before Morton Feldman’s death, For Bunita Marcus has become one of the most frequently recorded of all his works, and one of the few of his pieces that shows signs of moving beyond the exclusive territory of new-music specialists and into the mainstream piano repertory. It also provides a perfect and, at around 80 minutes, a relatively concise introduction to the timeless, pared-down world of late Feldman, with its webs of repeating, minutely displaced motives, hanging harmonies and absolute avoidance of anything that could be construed as conventional musical rhetoric.
Marc-André Hamelin presents that world of microscopic nuances with immaculate care. There’s none of the impatience that characterised Ivan Ilić’s reading of For Bunita Marcus two years ago; everything in Hamelin’s performance seems part of a natural, inevitable unfolding, and the Hyperion recording perfectly catches all its details, and clouds of decaying sonorities that colour every silence. As Hamelin shows, the empty spaces in Feldman’s piano writing are as important as the pitches themselves.
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The organist Paul Jacobs has a blast this weekend at the powers-that-be:
‘So much of our understanding of the arts in this country is bound up with the individual tastes of the listener or consumer. The primacy of classical music as an artful or superior genre has gradually diminished. Increasingly, classical musicians are not so much advocates for their art as apologists. This is not a trend I observe, however, in great art museums…
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Sacred Spaces: An Interview with Paul Jacobs

July 27,  2017 – VAN Magazine
Recently, I met the organist Paul Jacobs at a restaurant in Lincoln Center, where he ate a salad and a bowl of cold soup. Jacobs is known in the U.S. as the only organist to have ever won a Grammy; he has an active recital career and collaborates regularly with major American orchestras, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, performing concertos and premiering new works. He also serves as chair of the organ department at the Juilliard School. In fact, you could say that Jacobs’s career has more in common with successful violinists and pianists than with other concert organists. I sought to find out how and why…
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Two top drawer musical attractions played for an appreciative audience when the young pianist Thomas Nickell and the acclaimed Orchestra of the Swan appeared at Lichfield Cathedral.
Playing music from the more populist end of the classical music spectrum, with music by the American composers Aaron Copland and George Gershwin in the first half, and Dvorak’s New World Symphony in the second, this was music of the brightest colours, and most ear-catching of tunes.
The Orchestra of the Swan got things rolling with four dance episodes from Aaron Copland’s Rodeo. The four movements are familiar from any number of adaptations to cowboy and indian films, the wide expansiveness of the music bringing to mind the American West as better shown in any John Ford film, while the best-known part, Hoedown, with its fleet Xylophone part and enthusiastic playing from all members of the orchestra, showed just how joyous and buoyant this music is.
Thomas Nickell is only 18 years old, but already has a phenomenal control of the piano and an ever increasing reputation as a player’s player and composer. He joined the orchestra for a reading of one of George Gershwin’s better known pieces, Rhapsody in Blue. From the opening, technically demanding clarinet part, to the fleet piano playing, this was music making of the highest calibre.
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This August the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival returns for its 38th season, presenting 12 concerts from Wellfleet to Cotuit.
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This August, the New York Choral Society hosts its annual Summer Sings. The public is invited to sing and socialize with members and the artistic staff of NYChoral including Music Director David Hayes and Associate Conductor Michael Ciavaglia. The participants will be able to step into the shoes of an NYChoral member and sing along with the conductor, pianists and soloists to a different piece each week. After the sing along, the audience, chorus members and staff will continue the festivities with an after party around snacks and drinks.
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Marlboro Music features instrumental, vocal chamber works

July 12, 2017 – The Commons Online
The town of Marlboro has a population of 978, and the town center consists of an 18th century inn, a post office, and a meeting house.
But, for seven weeks each summer since 1951, some of the world’s most respected concert artists and most talented young professional musicians have gathered on the campus of Marlboro College to explore music with unlimited rehearsal time in a way that isn’t possible elsewhere…
The 2017 benefit concert on Friday, July 28, at 8 p.m., in the Marlboro College Dining Hall offers a wonderfully varied program with the Mozart’s Sonata in B flat, K. 252, for Bassoon and Cello; Elliott Carter’s Con Leggerezza Pensosa and Charles Neidich’s Tempest (in a Teapot); Dohnányi’s Serenade in C for string trio, and the Beethoven Archduke Trio.
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Saturday afternoon's chamber music olio featured a lithe, muscular and impressively unified Schumann Piano Quartet in E-flat major, pianist Marc-André Hamelin providing a vital pulse and the string trio of Masao Kawasaki (violin), Beth Guterman Chu (viola) and Michael Mermagen (cello) the warm sound…Wednesday is a big day for Brahms fans. Hamelin takes an at-bat with the Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor in the 6 p.m. Aspen Philharmonic concert in the tent….
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The organ recitals always are always a highlight of the Oregon Bach Festival.
J.S. Bach left humanity well over 1,000 outstanding compositions. A renowned organist in his lifetime, Bach was cited at least once as being more skilled with his feet on the pedal board than many other organists were with their fingers. His mastery of the instrument is evident in the music he wrote for it and some critics (including this musicologist) would argue that Bach’s organ music is part of the core of Europe’s musical cultural heritage.
G rammy award-winning organist Paul Jacobs, in his congenial style, remarked during his sold-out concert on Thursday at Central Lutheran Church on the stunning array of compositional devices — all virtuosically deployed by Bach — in the keyboard literature he offered to his audience.
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One of the gratifying trends in recent piano recitals has been the interest in Debussy’s most ambitious piano compositions, above all Book II of his Préludes. In the past few years I’ve reviewed penetrating, deeply considered realizations of these subtle and complex sound-poems by Ian Hobson and Stephen Porter, which were among the most significant piano recitals I heard at the time. Marc-André Hamelin also included a characteristically brilliant and subtlety tinted and shaded reading of Images, Book I. It was a rich season for Debussy.
Now a relative newcomer, Amy E. Gustafson, has offered an equally insightful and sensually generous traversal Debussy’s Préludes, Book II. In this brief recital, intended to launch her new CD, her first, and limited to the repertoire on the disc.
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PIANO prodigy Thomas Nickell will be joining Orchestra of the Swan to perform at Stratford Artshouse on Tuesday (July 11).
The 18 year-old American pianist, composer and Young Steinway Artist is considered one of the most promising emerging classical artists.
He has joined forces with Orchestra of the Swan’s s artistic director David Curtis to present a diverse performance of works by Dvorák, Mozart, and Schubert, along with George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and a special arrangement of fellow American composer Aaron Copland’s Rodeo.
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This week, Paul Jacobs returns to the Oregon Bach Festival where he will direct its Organ Institute and perform an all-Bach recital. That’s a big deal, because Jacobs is considered America’s leading organist. He is the only organist to have won a Grammy Award (2001 for Olivier Messiaen’s “Livre du Saint-Sacrement”), appears with orchestras all over the nation, premieres works by contemporary composers on a regular basis, and teaches at Juilliard where became the chairman of the organ department in 2004 at the ripe old age of 23. That was at that same time that he played from memory Bach’s complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon performance. Such an undertaking would probably cause other organists to lose their minds, but Jacobs is going on as strongly as ever before, and you can hear him play an all-Bach program ex memoria at 7pm on Thursday, July 6th at Central Lutheran Church in Eugene. The program consists of the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (BWV 565), the Trio Sonata in E-flat Major (BWV 525), the Prelude and Fugue in D Minor (“Fiddle”) (BWV 539), the Trio Sonata in C Major (BWV 529), and the Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major (“St. Anne”) (BWV 552).
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On Sunday, Sept. 3, Paul Jacobs, the only organist ever to win a Grammy Award, will perform. Jacobs “is one of the greatest living virtuosos,” according to The Washington Post...
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It was approximately 8:15 p.m., the New York Woodwind Quintet was playing Hindemith on the stage of Rockport’s Shalin Liu Performance Center, the light was fading from the sky above the Atlantic beyond the large picture window, and I was thinking about sushi. Salmon cucumber rolls, to be exact: five ingredients with distinct individual flavors, all combined in harmony without any losing its identity. And so it was with the five musicians of the quintet and their instruments (Carol Wincenc, flute; Stephen Taylor, oboe; Charles Neidich, clarinet; Marc Goldberg, bassoon; and William Purvis, horn) in their Rockport Chamber Music Festival appearance Thursday night. The Juilliard ensemble performed in constant equilibrium.
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The battery of percussion was there for a performance of Viktor Derivianko's ingenious arrangement of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 15 for piano trio and three percussionists, in this case Paul Yancich, Mark Damoulakis and Alexander Cohen.
They were joined by violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti, cellist Julie Albers, and pianist Roman Rabinovich, who also played celesta.
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Festival of Music: The soundtrack of summer

June 28, 2017 – Cascadia Weekly
These days, most festival festivities can be found at Western Washington University’s Performing Arts Center Concert Hall—that’s where the 2017 iteration of the event will begin at 7:30pm Sat., July 1 with a performance by the festival orchestra, virtuoso pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, and the Calidore String Quartet, who have won prestigious and lucrative awards (including the $100,000 M-Prize), performed at every legendary venue (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center) and earned accolades and acclaim worldwide.
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The internationally recognized Oregon Bach Festival kicks off another summer concert series Thursday, June 29, with live music, Euphoria Chocolate and an instrument petting zoo…The festival also welcomes back several favorites: organist Paul Jacobs, tenor Nicholas Phan, Grammy-nominated violinist and Portland Baroque Orchestra Artistic Director Monica Huggett, and the taiko drumming group On Ensemble.
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he Philadelphia Young Pianists' Academy (PYPA) will be celebrating its fifth year as an international event when it returns to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music located at 1726 Locust St in Philadelphia from August 8 through August 15, 2017…Each student participating in PYPA will have the opportunity to learn alongside world-renowned international concert masters led by PYPA Director and Founder Ching-Yun Hu in her fifth year. Other international concert masters include Ursula Oppens, Concert Pianist and Distinguished Professor of Music at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center; Idith Zvi, world renowned pianist who is also Artistic Director at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel; and former Curtis Institute of Music president Gary Graffman, Concert Pianist.
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Renowned cellist Lynn Harrell, pianists Stephen Prutsman and Jon Nakamatsu and violinist Mayuko Kamio are among the featured soloists on the 2017-18 Symphony Silicon Valley season.
The Symphony’s 16th season runs September 30, 2017, through June 3, 2018, at the California Theater in San Jose.
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Hailing from Tashkent, in Uzbekistan, brought up in Israel and educated in the United States, Roman Rabinovich came to an international attention as a winner of Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel. Since that time, he carved for himself an enviable position as one of the truly remarkable young artists: a rare combination of a great piano virtuoso and a deeply thoughtful musician. His program which was one of the opening events of this summer Caramoor Music Festival proved just that: the traditionally played as a set – and never intended as such! – four Ballades of Chopin were mixed with shorter works by Haydn and Rabinovich’s own. Haydn was represented by two rarely heard two-movement works while Rabinovich’s was the world premiere of six-movement suite Memory Box.
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As forms of wordless storytelling, mime and music are sister arts that rarely share a stage. Yet they came together on Thursday evening at Weill Recital Hall. There, the pianist Sara Davis Buechne rwas joined by the mime dancer Yayoi Hirano in a performance of Jacques Ibert’s “Histoires” in which the addition of spare, precise movements and Noh-style masks deepened the music’s mystery and whimsy.
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There are 8,000,000 musicians in the naked city–or sometimes it seems like it–but nowhere near the same number of available gigs.
For the lucky few, there are series like Key Pianists, which dip into what seems like a bottomless talent pool in New York and pull out impressive musicians dedicated to fascinating, less familiar corners of the classical repertory. Their current season came to a close Thursday night at Weill Recital Hall with a concert from pianist Sara Davis Buechner that was equal parts excellent and refreshing.
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Explosions and Exotica

June 1, 2017 – ConcertoNet.com
The purveyor of this music was the astonishing Sara Davis Buechner, already renowned for her recordings of Busoni, Gershwin, and rare 19th and 20th Century concertos and solo music. She and her spouse spend half their time in Philadelphia (she is on the piano faculty of Temple University) and half in Osaka, where she is a (sic) linguist and ardent searcher for astonishing music.
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Key Pianists Presents Sara Davis Buechner in Review

June 1, 2017 – New York Concert Review
Sara Davis Buechner needs little introduction within the world of pianists. She has enjoyed a high- profile career for several decades, launched in part by numerous major prizes, and she has played with many of the world’s finest orchestras and in the most prominent concert venues. Her biography states that her repertoire of more than 100 piano concertos ranges “from A (Albeniz) to Z (Zimbalist),” and I can attest that what is in between – along with her discography – is a tantalizing array of discoveries and treasures.
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Clef Notes: Do you love or hate the commissioned piece?

May 26, 2017 – Toronto Star-Telegram
The Cliburn has begun!
Judy Wiley and Andrea Ahles talk about the first day at the piano competition and what they think of the commissioned piece by juror Marc-André Hamelin.
They also interview Hamelin on how he composed the piece and is excited to hear it played 30 times during the preliminary round.
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Review: CPO's Beethoven special draws full house

May 14, 2017 – Calgary Herald
As a performance, the best item on the program was unquestionably the Third Piano Concerto, one of the composer’s most satisfying works. With lots to do for a capable soloist and a rich orchestral accompaniment of, fundamentally, dynamic character, it was just the ticket for two young musicians with a spring in their step.
Rabinovich has performed in Calgary before, but this was, basically, his coming-out party with the orchestra. And a very good party it was. Rabinovich is a muscular player, able to deliver the sheer sound necessary for good concerto performances, but also refined and always polished. Among his many strengths is a strong sense of all aspects of rhythm, a quality that tends to make this concerto satisfying for the listener. Playing the Fazioli piano, he was able to project a rich, complex piano sound into the hall…
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The exception was Christopher Rouse’s Organ Concerto, co-commissioned by the NSO and Eschenbach and tonight receiving its Kennedy Center première in the very capable hands of Paul Jacobs…The finale mushroomed into a veritable pandemonium with the joint forces of orchestra and organ (an orchestra in itself) unleashed; it is inevitable that such moments make one think of a Dies irae; the resonances of the instrument are consciously or unconsciously evoked. There was a play of consonance as if it were all going to end tonally, and then the final dissonance. This was engagingly challenging material; Jacobs' Bach encore was also dazzlingly played…
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Hamelin, and Dancing Rhinos!

May 8, 2017 — The Boston Intelligencer
For the Boston Celebrity Series event at Jordan Hall on Saturday night, Hamelin had scheduled an evening of sonatas, though (since not all Classical) the term could be applied loosely. To start: a little Haydn hiding in front of some big, tumultuous Beethoven, with two unfamiliar single movement works of Samuil Feinburg sandwiched between. After intermission, it was to be Scriabin’s White Mass Sonata (another single movement work), then Chopin’s 2nd (though written first) B-flat Minor Sonata…
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Marc-André Hamelin works in the crevices. He looks for composers under rocks. He unearths, polishes and returns forgotten talent to prominence.
The Canadian-born pianist has an inclination to dig deep into overlooked piano works — finding repertory that has gone unplayed for one reason or another.
It’s not the only thing he does, obviously, and his Celebrity Series recital at Jordan Hall Friday eveningwill show just that. Hamelin reintroduces works by Russian pianist Samuil Feinberg (1890-1962) on the program, mixed in with Haydn, Chopin and Beethoven…
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I’d like to harken back to another recent piano recital in Weill Hall, in which its fine Steinway was brought into a sound world quite different from those of Christina Kobb and Thomas Nickell, whom I heard play shortly before the artist in question—Terry Eder, a New York pianist who specializes in Hungarian piano music, beginning with Liszt, and including Dohnányi, Bartók, and Kodály....
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On Friday at Carnegie Hall, two formidable pianists, Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-André Hamelin, ended their concert with a fearless, incisive and surprisingly alluring account of this “original” version of the “Rite.” The audience may have been as overwhelmed — in the best way — as that group in 1912. Familiar episodes of this score — the pummeling “Dances of the Young Girls,” the ritualistic “Spring Rounds,” the mysterious introduction to the second part — came through with stunning freshness and clarity. There was a long standing ovation....
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Cagean Rumblings

April 28, 2017- The New York Times
In a video on the New York Times Facebook page, the excellent organist Paul Jacobs issues an invitation for viewers to visit his class at the Juilliard School. I did so on Thursday, and it was a heartening experience to see seven young players display their immense talents. It was also a welcome chance to experience new sounds and techniques from the fine Holtkamp instrument in Paul Hall. The most startling came from — who else? — John Cage, in his “Souvenir,” when the player, Daniel Ficarri, repeatedly reached to the bottom of the pedalboard with his left foot to sound a tone cluster in the organ’s deepest register that was mostly sheer vibration, devoid of recognizable.
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Fortunately for Seattle music lovers, Benaroya Hall was one of the stops on the current tour of the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and his Canadian duo partner Marc-André Hamelin.
Both artists are at the top of their field; Andsnes is probably more famous for his lyrical musicianship and Hamelin for his technical finesse, and together they make an imposingly unified team. Their remarkable performance Monday evening under auspices of the Seattle Symphony proved that the two pianists can sound like a single keyboard orchestra while still preserving their distinctive individual voices....
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Till Fell­ner’s pi­ano teacher told him that the five Bee­tho­ven pi­ano con­certi are like a fam­ily. The first two are teen­agers; the fourth and fifth are par­ents. And the Con­certo No. 3, which the Aus­trian pi­a­nist per­formed with the Pitts­burgh Sym­phony Orches­tra on Fri­day night, is like a se­ri­ous young man.
When Mr. Fell­ner de­scribed this tight-knit fam­ily in a pre-recorded video that in­tro­duced the con­cert, it prompted a sigh, an “a-ha” mo­ment, from the Heinz Hall au­di­ence. And his com­men­tary pro­vided a use­ful de­vice through which to un­der­stand Mr. Fell­ner’s el­e­gant in­ter­pre­ta­tion: The mu­sic may be full of bra­vado, but Mr. Fell­ner would take that se­ri­ous young man as se­ri­ously as he takes him­self....
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Paul Jacobs on video

April 22, 2017- The New York Times on Facebook
We're with Paul Jacobs, a Grammy Award-winning organist, at the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the LA Phil. Leave your questions in the comments, and NYT reporter Josh Barone will ask some of them.
Watch video.
Pianist Till Fellner says he greatly enjoys playing music of the present, but is happy to be part of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's look at the Vienna of the past.
“It is wonderful to play the music of Mozart and Beethoven,” he says, “but I love to play new music because I live in the now.”
But this weekend he will be part of programs that look at the glories of the past. He will perform Ludwig van Beethoven's concerto No. 3 in concerts April 21, 22 and 23 at Heinz Hall, Downtown....
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As alpha dogs of the musical world, star pianists often lead a lonely touring life. But on Friday, April 28, two of the most accomplished masters of the keyboard join forces for a recital of music for two pianos at Carnegie Hall..
The virtuosic powerhouse Marc-André Hamelin and Leif Ove Andsnes, known for his poetic sensibility, perform works ranging from the sunny simplicity of Mozart’s Larghetto and Allegro for Two Pianos and Debussy’s “En blanc et noir” to two bravura pieces by Stravinsky: the sparkling Concerto for Two Pianos and the composer’s own brilliant arrangement of “The Rite of Spring,” which challenges the players to faithfully render the score’s vivid orchestral colors on black and white keys.
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Pianist Jon Nakamatsu Spins Some Magic

April 9, 2017 – Peninsula Reviews
Apparently we had a close call. In the week before his recital at Sunset Center for Chamber Music Monterey Bay On April 8, pianist Nakamatsu came down with the flu and a few days before the recital was still fighting a temperature of 103º F. CMMB Director Amy Anderson speaking to the audience after intermission said that their board members had been frantically searching up and down the west coast for a group to possibly substitute for Nakamatsu. However, they were relieved that he rallied at the last moment. Well, so were we, for a recital by Nakamatsu is a special event and not one we would have wanted to miss…
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At 18, Thomas Nickell, even in a world populated by numerous prodigies who began to play in public at very young ages, still deserves to be considered a young, emerging artist, and this concert showed him to be a notably mature and tasteful one.  He is currently a student at the New School, Mannes College of Music, studying piano and composition, both with equal seriousness. He has already played programs in concert and with orchestra in the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, and Chicago, and has been honored as a Steinway artist and is represented by Alexander & Buono International. The concert, a repeat of his London debut, gave the full house something else to be grateful for: a visit from an outstanding British chamber orchestra—in this instance all strings—The Orchestra of the Swan, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, under the direction of its founder and music director, David Curtis, who is as enterprising and personable as he is musical. (Look for our upcoming interview with him soon.) He founded the orchestra twenty-one years ago. Today they play regularly in the major urban centers of the Midlands, notably Town Hall Birmingham, as well as London, and they tour internationally. As well as Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms, they specialize in the twentieth century British classics for chamber orchestra, especially strings, and in newly commissioned works by living British composers. The major work on the present program was in fact quite a recent work, David Matthews’ Piano Concerto, Op. 111 of 2010....
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New organ christened by famed organist at All Saints Episcopal

March 26, 2017- The Frederick News-Post
On Sunday, the church hosted famed organist, Paul Jacobs, for an organ dedication recital. Jacobs is the only organist to ever win a grammy — in 2011 for Messiaen’s “Livre du Saint-Sancrement.” Jacobs also chairs the organ department at Julliard School.
“It’s not like I can just tell the congregation we’re going to have a grammy winner come play for us on Sunday,” said Rev. Adrien Dawson, the church’s rector. “So this is a really exciting opportunity for us.”
Jacobs performed 11 works ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach to Franz Liszt in front of a packed congregation. Jacobs performed Bach’s Trio Sonata, a three-layered melody in which the right hand plays on a keyboard, the left plays the organ and the feet play the pedals to create three different lines of music....
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Hamelin Kills It In Medtner 2 and Rachmaninov 3

March 22, 2017- Classics Today
Hyperion already has excellent recordings of both of these concertos, from Demidenko (Medtner) and Hough (Rachmaninov), but as they saying goes, “greatness is its own justification,” and this is a great disc. At eighty-two minutes, it’s also a very generous one. In a way, these concertos belong together. Not only were the composers friends, but both works, while cloaked in romantic virtuoso garb, are heavily symphonic in structure and syntax.
That makes Hamelin an ideal advocate. He is, of course, an exceptional keyboard virtuoso, but one of a very special type. The harder the music is to play, the easier he makes it sound. You can take the technical security completely for granted and focus entirely on matters of form and expression. In music that exists largely for virtuoso display, where a sense of strain is part of the point, this very quality can make his interpretations sound somewhat slick; but where the atrocious difficulty of the solo writing isn’t the primary focus and serves a larger purpose, as here, he is incomparable. Hamelin isn’t just a technical wizard–he’s a smart one....
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Marc-Andre Hamelin never won the Cleveland International Piano Competition, but he handily won over a portion of its audience Tuesday night at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
From a recital organized by the competition, the Canadian pianist emerged brilliantly victorious after repeatedly wowing a crowd of discerning listeners with an eclectic and often fiercely difficult slate of music. He even delivered a bewitching encore: Debussy's "Reflets dans l'eau."...
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From Tafelmusik, a Bach That’s All Business

March 16, 2017- The SunBreak
Tafelmusik, the early music group based in Toronto, has brought us another of their enlightening takes on Baroque music, this time zeroing in on the resources composer J. S. Bach, based in Leipzig from 1723 until his death in 1750, had to realize his compositions.
Presented Saturday evening by Meany Center for the Performing Arts jointly with the Early Music Guild and titled “J. S. Bach: The Circle of Creation,” the seamless show comprised a narrator, Blair Williams, and 15 musicians who stood and sometimes strolled around according to how prominent their parts were, except for the seated cellos and harpsichordist....
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Artistic Director of El Paso Pro-Musica and Grammy Award winning Cellist Zuill Bailey will join Grammy Award winning organist Paul Jacobs  in a special appearance at the El Paso Pro-Musica Concert this Saturday.
Zuill Bailey will join Paul Jacobs in “The Swan,” the classical work by Saint- Saens, during the performance by the Organist, who along with his performing career, is the Chairman of the Organ Department at the Juilliard School of Music.
Jacobs will also perform works by Bach, Brahms and Liszt. Jacobs performs all of the works in Concert from Memory....
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Toronto’s Baroque orchestra Tafelmusik brought its multidisciplinary show “J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation” to Oberlin’s Artist Recital Series in Finney Chapel on Tuesday, February 28. It’s an impressive celebration of the Thuringian master’s genius in the field of instrumental music, as devised by the orchestra’s bassist Alison Mackay.
The program also looks into the circle of instrument makers and their suppliers who enabled Bach’s music to come to life in performance. Modern versions of those artisans are now plying their trades in time-honored fashion in the service of the historical performance movement....
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“J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation” illustrates how the genius didn’t work alone — someone made his paper, his candles, his instruments. Tafelmusik captures that cycle of creativity in “Circle.”
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Eder opens the door to Bartók in Key Pianists series

March 3, 2017 - New York Classical Review
Pianist Terry Eder is the creator of the Key Pianists recital series, now in its second season. Designed to bring lesser-known musicians who have developed insights into particular corners of the repertory, the series presented Eder herself Thursday night at Weill Recital Hall.
Eder is an example of the unique and valuable breed of scholar/musician. Her interest is the Hungarian piano literature tradition. She has studied the music at the source in Hungary, learned the Hungarian language, and worked with pianist Zoltán Kocsis. Kocsis, who died last November, was a great Bartók player, and that composer is one of Eder’s most salient interests—she has recorded his music and delivered lecture/performances on him....
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Key Pianists presents Terry Eder in Review

March 2, 2017 - New York Concert Review
A musician’s musician is the phrase I kept returning to mentally during Terry Eder’s distinguished Weill Hall recital, the second of this season’s Key Pianists series. She is a pianist with utter seriousness of conception, beauty of tone, lyrical sensitivity, never any “grandstanding.” It is so important that we hear artists like this to remind us of what matters musically, and to balance the seemingly endless parade of flashy virtuosi....
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Marc-André Hamelin sometimes thinks that music should have its own semantics. “Deep down I would like the public to be affected by music and respond to music as they would respond to something which has a narrative structure and a message to deliver,” he told me in a February 10, 2017 phone conversation. “And I’ve always said that a performer should be able to express almost any adjective in the dictionary through their playing. Even though it’s kind of a fantasy, it’s a nice goal, a good aspiration.”
We were chatting in advance of Hamelin’s appearance March 23 in a recital presented by Music Toronto. The occasion was a follow-up to my profile of the master pianist that appeared in the December 2015 WholeNote. Hamelin was his usual affable, thoughtful and convivial self. We spoke about his ambitious all-sonata program for the concert – a late Haydn, the first two sonatas by the little-known Russian pianist-composer Samuel Feinberg, Beethoven’s Appassionata, Scriabin’s White Mass and Chopin’s Second which is built around a funeral march....
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New York Choral Society spans the centuries with Duruflé, Haydn masses

February 7, 2017 - New York, Classical Review
 If choruses had “juries” the way conservatory students do, the panel would probably ask them to sing the Requiem by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) followed by a Mass by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), to show how conversant they were in the styles of different eras.
The New York Choral Society took that test Monday night in Carnegie Hall, and if they didn’t exactly ace it, the singers and their music director David Hayes clearly were making the effort, and producing some very Duruflean and Haydnesque moments along the way.
Which is saying something, since these two composers’ music can seem to be from not just different eras, but different planets—Duruflé mystical, indistinct, head in the stars; Haydn granular, conversational, down to earth. About all they had in common was their devout Catholic faith.
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Bucolic and Pyrotechnics

February 6, 2017 - ConcertoNet.com
Was the program New York Choral Society presented on February 6 at Carnegie Hall an attempt to show two dissimilar ways of worshipping God by its Catholic composers or was it to juxtapose these two possibilities: one composer, Maurice Duruflé, known for about the smallest output of works published and the other, Joseph Haydn, whose fourteen masses were only a small fraction of a huge body of compositions? Regardless of the programmatic intentions, here the venerable New York Choral Society under its Music Director David Hayes presented two scores that had little in common yet were both attractive, each in its own way....
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Xanadu, a word, that conjures ephemeral images of the exotic drifting in the mists of time, foreign lands, colorful people, and the intangible just beyond the ken of human imagination. Friday evening’s Toledo Symphony Classics Concert Organ, Orchestra and Xanadu lived up to this legendary sobriquet.
The program was a study in threes: three works, three musical guests, three diverse musical vocabularies. At the helm was the gifted young conductor Lio Kuokman who handled the baton with a grace and ease that matched the aesthetic of the musical landscape he sought to craft.
The guest soloist, organist Paul Jacobs, has a worldwide reputation as a musical genius. His appearance at the Peristyle stood true to form....
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Paul Jacobs, the only organist ever to have won a GRAMMY Award, will perform in all three works on our Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast this coming Sunday, January 15th at 1 pm.
As part of the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ at Verizon Hall, the Organ Concerto of Christopher Rouse was given its world premiere just before intermission of the concert last November....
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“You’re not going to believe this,” Marc-André Hamelin said from his home in Boston, “but they asked for the Medtner Second. Specifically.”
Goodness. Specifically.
The pianist was referring to the authorities of the Bavarian State Orchestra in Munich and a piano concerto by Nikolai Medtner, 1880-1951, whose post-romantic works are viewed affectionately by some pianists but seldom asked for by name....
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Tonight, the legendary Charles Neidich expressed the clarinet part from the most lyrical place imaginable—his lifetime of living with the single-line instrument leaving no inflection unexplored, no color unpainted, our dear nightingale indeed. It was a master class for all musicians, really. Here, I felt the Parkers could have provided a deeper, darker velvet carpet for the clarinet to “walk” on. Though the ensemble was perfect, particularly the way the violist leaned physically toward her clarinet neighbor, the strings’ inflections were “paler” than the clarinet, sometimes giving the impression of a background rather than a full chamber texture. a note....
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Vancouver-trained pianist Jamie Parker is part of the 2017 Screening Jury this coming May, as is Janina Fialkowska. Pianist/composer Marc-André Hamelin wrote the “imposed piece” for this year and is part of the 2017 jury, while Vancouver Recital Society artistic director Leila Getz has just been appointed to the Cliburn’s International Advisory Council....
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