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Reviews

March 2012

"Greek-born but Paris-trained Cyprien Katsaris may well be the most dazzling and innovative of all living virtuosos."

Bryce morrison, Gramophone (UK), March 2012 issue Full Review

Gramophone Editor's Choice, February 2009

"Katsaris fills these many and varied transcriptions with a sense of utter brio. Even in the more tranquil passages there is a sense of something irrepressible about his playing. As such, it is also irresistible. Grandeur, joy, fun, all are here, in a program that embraces some real rarities. Plenty to discover, much to enjoy.

Full Review

Full Interview

Presto Classical Review, January 2009

"This first volume in the series 'Piano Rarities' is guaranteed to thrill questing music lovers... A tireless explorer, Cyprien Katsaris challenges our curiosity and unveils true masterpieces, including works by Latin-American and Spanish composers like Tárrega, Barrios Mangoré and Mompou. Who could resist the magnificent transcription of the Prelude and Allegro in the Style of Pugnani by Kreisler which opens the programme, or the sparkling Valse by Reinhold Glière which brings it to its close? Here, through his choices and his interpretations, Cyprien Katsaris emerges once more as a thrilling man of music.

Full Review

Gramophone points to YouTube, January 2009

In its January 2009 issue, Gramophone Magazine warns reading their article on YouTube could seriously reduce your leisure time, and might even intrude on working hours. They single out Cyprien's performance at the Beijing Olympics saying, "as reported in this year's awards issue, Beijing's National Center for Performing Arts mounted a series of gala concerts to accompany the Olympics sporting events. The centerpiece was a piano showcase featuring a concerto for 10 pianos. Each of the estimable musicians was also given a solo turn, none more exuberantly enjoyable than Cyprien Katsaris's beautiful and audacious improvisation around Olympic themes.... Follow the links for part two."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCFUAIYI0VI

YouTube features a whole section devoted to Cyprien Katsaris

 

Adelaide Recital, November 2008

"Cyprien Katsaris' virtuoso piano recital... featured possibly the fastest piano playing I have ever heard in my life --- comparable only to the feats of Horowitz and, above all, Shura Cherkassky, in their prime.

"...his account of At The Grave of Richard Wagner, which merged into the transcendent harmonies and emotional outpouring of Isoldes Liebestod was restrained and haunting, providing as it did a moving comment on Liszt's own feelings for his son-in-law, as well as a triumphant demonstration of how the piano can indeed do justice to the world of ecstacy and passion that characterises Wagner's own opera.

"But just about everything previously heard was surpassed by his astoundingly flamboyant and swirling performance of Gottschalk's The Banjo. Again, some might object to the speed and blur of the not fistfuls, but bucketfuls of notes: repeated octaves and fusillades of single notes shot out into the auditorium and past the listener's ears almost before s/he had the time to register them. The only thing moving faster than the notes themselves seemed to be Katsaris' fingers: most disconcerting of all was the realisation (for this listener who, many years ago, had played this piece in a two piano version) that Katsaris was playing more notes (and quicker) than any even relatively quickly moving set of four hands and twenty fingers.

Michael Morley, Adelaide review, November 2008 Full Article

Lavish Expressions

“…a fascinating collection of music connecting Liszt, Wagner and the art of piano transcription… more than sufficient to demonstrate that Katsaris is an absolute master of the instrument.

“…there were pianistic gems in abundance. I don’t believe I have heard anyone play octaves and repeated notes and chords at such a speed. He also displays a wonderful ability to elicit colours from the instrument, from the softest shades to vibrant fortissimo.

“…through it all, one could detect Cyprien Katsaris’s unique artistic personality, which combines the utmost seriousness with an impish sense of humour.”

Stephen Whittington, 14 NOV 2008, Adelaide Advertiser full review

Cyprien Katsaris captivates the audience at the 6th Bayreuth piano festival at the Markgräfliche Opernhaus

"Is it possible to interpret a lullaby more convincingly than with closed eyes? Cyprien Katsaris certainly demonstrated his ability to wander over the keyboard of the E-272 “blind” during his performance of Frederic Chopin's Berceuse in D flat major – naturally and with the confidence of a sleepwalker. Even in this apparent state of slumber, the French-Cypriot composer never lost control of his playing and allowed himself to be carried by the varying rhythm of the bass figure.

"Anyone who watched Katsaris closely during his concert at the 6th Bayreuth piano festival at the Markgräfliche Opernhaus could observe time and time again how the pianist offered his own individual commentary on the music through small gestures or a certain posture – sometimes by bending forward over the keys, and at other times by breathing deeply. There is much to admire in his piano playing: the apparent ease with which he pulls some of the more virtuoso passages out of his sleeve, his sense for maintaining legato over long passages and giving the music the chance to achieve an after effect. This was particularly apparent in the Chopin waltzes and the Arabesque by Robert Schumann. Katsaris celebrated playful levity particularly in the first section of the program, where the audience was treated to music by three generations of the Mozart family. The line extended from Leopold to Wolfgang Amadeus to Franz Xaver Mozart. Skilful programming made it clear that Franz Xaver in no way stands at the end of a line of development. Rather, he figures as a bridge leading into the Romantic period. It was particularly surprising to note how the music of Franz Xaver Mozart had echoes of Chopin. Katsaris’ most controversial interpretation was almost certainly his version of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude in B minor. Can Bach’s music sound this romantic? It can.

"Bach’s famous D minor Toccata and Fugue for organ, in the pianist’s own arrangement, closed the programme. The opening motif thundered through the Markgräfliche Opernhaus as though it were being chiselled out of the piano: Katsaris began the Fuge section magnificently, almost “music box like”. But the sound expanded as the piece went on, and Katsaris’ playing became increasingly dramatic. At the end he gave an impressive demonstration of the might of the sounds which could be produced from the Steingraeber grand piano.

"Cyprien Katsaris and the E-272 from the Bayreuth piano makers seemed to be made for one another. Rapturous applause and three encores." [Translation: Françoise Calteux]

Photo subtitle: Cyprien Katsaris danced over the keyboard of the Steingraeber grand piano with the confidence of a sleepwalker during his concert at the Markgräfliche Opernhaus.

Nordbayerischer Kurier Juli 2008

The Scriabin: The Complete Dances

2 reviews for his recent re-issue, (Piano 21 023):

Critic Jeremy Nicholas writes of "a model pianist dancing through the Scriabin years, from teen to middle age."

Gramophone

"Katsaris's excellent playing which is full of character and incidental delights."

IRR

Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde

In an article entitled, Music's Best Kept Secrets, Cyprien's recording of Das Lied von der Erde with Brigitte Fassbaender and Thomas Moser was singled out as "Gramophone Critics seek out 50 recordings which are among the finest ever made but which few even know exist."

Read Fassbaender's notes...

review from his Singapore debut in 2007:

"...surely one of the most compelling living heirs to Liszt's legacy. While not a pop star in his own right, the extroverted Katsaris nonetheless had all the right moves -- engaging the audience with eye contact and his very physical style of playing.

"... the [recital] began with strange and sublime works from Liszt's last years... Almost unbearably intense and reflective, Katsaris revelled in their weighty dissonance and obsessive and twisted ostinatos with unwavering concentration... allowing the audience to focus on his exquisite sense of touch and timing.

"...he displayed an impressive broad range of approaches to phrasing, clear separations of voices and vast gulfs of shifting dynamics...

"Katsaris' interpretations were bold and distinctive.... In the sublime finale, the normally expressive pianist suddenly fell, with his audience, into a trance, proving again his abilities as a profound communicator of musical ideas.

"The virtuoso technique for which Liszt was famous was also abundant, with exhilarating readings... Kataris' effortless mastery of the instrument was clearly demonstrated in the form of cascades of notes unleashed over punishing accompaniments...

"It was a beautifully tailored program, exploring many corners of the contradictory world of the Romantic virtuoso and the excesses that made them the pop stars of the day."

Singapore's The Business Times Read Full Review

the Lizst "Lost" Concerto

with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra

2 reviews for his most recent re-issue:

"a showy virtuoso crowd pleaser which Katsaris delivers with his customary pyrotechnical panache... Katsaris seems, simply... intent on having a ball"

Gramophone

"Katsaris's virtuosity is not only jaw-dropping but also sensitive and nuanced. It's hard to imagine this music being better served or played with more panache."

IRR

USA

A musician of prodigious technique and genuine insight, whose feel for a musical gesture is extraordinary. The playing is hair-rising… and there are few pianists of any age who could range as broadly through the repertory as Mr. Katsaris does here… Standing ovations are not rare, probably not as rare as they ought to be. But it is still unusual to see the whole hall rise in quick unison as the last chord is played, and that is what happened when Cyprien Katsaris finished his program… Mr. Katsaris was enormously impressive…

The New York Times

What is particularly impressive is his gift of contemplation… One is forced to fall in with him on philosophical terms… Here is a genuine thinker at the piano… It almost sounded like a time machine had taken us back to the best of the golden age pianists… It was quite an ovation, but then, it had been quite a recital!

San Francisco Chronicle

Hands that speak and sing.

The Washington Post

Cyprien Katsaris, whose approach to the Brahms B flat Concerto was highly individual… (He) stressed the work's lyricism… Consider those famous double octaves in the second movement that are supposed to go so very fast so very softly. Katsaris played them with a wonderful ghostly fleetness that was breathtaking… Katsaris was strong enough and Dohnanyi sensitive enough to strike a general balance. If you think of this concerto as a contest for supremacy between piano and orchestra, the match was rather more even in this performance than in most.

The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

(Referring to the Concerto no. 3 by Beethoven and the Second Concerto by Brahms:) The impression was authentic, faithful to the composer and, above all, exciting.

Chicago Sun Times

His performance was extraordinary… The enthusiastic audience leapt to a standing ovation at the conclusion.

Musical America

(Referring to the recording of "In Memoriam Chopin" live at Carnegie Hall:) Katsaris's use of a performance style which was common in earlier generations… One is always hearing unfamiliar textures in the music. But none of this is an intellectual exercise. The playing is full of impulse and life; it also has richer textures than most Chopin interpreters provide. He inflects his tempos… But he doesn't disrupt the flow of the music… Do hear this outstanding Chopin collection.

Andante

We have found in Cyprien Katsaris a genuine lyrical tenor of the piano. His gift is nothing less than that.

High Fidelity

A phenomenal pianist with imagination.

American Record Guide

The trick to great Liszt playing once you've got all the notes down is to imply that there's more than meets the ear. Katsaris is very successful at this, just as Liszt himself must have been…

This record ("Katsaris live", Teldec) may move more than a few listeners who like to make such comparisons to invoke the name of Horowitz as well as those of Bolet and Wild.

Stereo Review

UK

His technique is phenomenal. He is a Mozartian of impeccable refinement, a Bach player of exceptional distinction, a Chopin player who can hold his own against all corners, and a Schumann player to the manner born.

Piano

Katsaris carried the listener convincingly over into the Schubertian dream world with its evocations of both rapture and death caught to perfection… His colour palette had an extraordinary range… The kind of stylistic sensitivity which exaggerates nothing and accomplishes everything…

The Guardian

(Referring to Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle:) The performance of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto was notable for the complete liaison of the soloist Cyprien Katsaris and the orchestra, so that we had, as is not always the case with this work a deeply satisfying homogeneity of piano and orchestral sound. A "concerto" sound in fact, in the older and more precise meaning of the term.

Oxford Times

The ability to add a new dimension to the interpretation of a great music is only found in the higher echelons of artists, and the Liszt, the Schumann and the Ravel works showed this soloist's ability and mature understanding.

The Birmingham Post

A staggering tour de force of sensational pianism and interpretative insight, reminiscent of the "golden age"… Katsaris just has to be heard to be believed… His eloquence, brilliance and, above all, sense of timing leave one weak with admiration…

A truly memorable Kinderszenen (Schumann), and a revelatory Messiaen Regard de l'Église d'amour…

(Referring to Mozart's concertos:) What remarkable playing from Katsaris… If one can imagine the pearly purity of Perahia grafted onto the joy and spontaneity of Barenboïm in his EMI cycle, you get some idea of what to expect. K. 482 is particularly impressive in this respect. Katsaris never holds the music at arm's length, and the overall impression is of a stream of magically inflected seamless poetics, highlighted by a skintingling pianissimo touch.

(Referring to "In Memoriam Chopin" live at Carnegie Hall:) By any standards a masterly recital…

International Piano

Regarding performances of these works (concertos by Bach) on the piano: "And why not?" providing they are as good as these by Katsaris… It is not so much his dazzling keyboard command but the Beethovenian vehemence and dramatic fire that make this so convincing… (Katsaris) demonstrates an affinity with Brahms's style that is very compelling… His playing compares favorably with that of Lupu and Rubinstein…

(Referring to Chopin's 4 ballades and 4 scherzos:) An impressive achievement for all concerned… In all eight works the technical hurdles are faced squarely and overcome with a completeness that is unsurpassed elsewhere…

In the Chopin preludes… Katsaris's playing is as dazzling as ever… even Martha Argerich will have to look to her laurels in no. 16 where Katsaris is just as vertiginous but more controlled… Yet there is plenty of finesse… Katsaris leaves you with the impression that there are two or more pianists at the keyboard, such is his ability to conjure up a variety of orchestral timbres.

Gramophone

Simply astonishing! Apart from his dazzling technique, Katsaris has enormous musicianship, a great sense of colour and a real sense of scale… His performance is undoubtedly thrilling… The Andante spianato (Chopin) is gentle and poetic…

The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs

Germany

The legendary pianist, Cyprien Katsaris.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich

He follows in the footsteps of those great lions of the piano, Leopold Godowsky and Serge Rachmaninov.

Stern

Not since the young Vladimir Horowitz enchanted his audiences in the 1920's, has there been a pianist who has such a keyboard sovereignty and bravura.

Audio

(On his performance at the "Klavier Festival Ruhr", the world's largest piano festival, July 1998:) The Ruhr piano festival has found its master. For four weeks, the world class of the piano elite has been performing here… And along comes a cheerful artist like Cyprien Katsaris and outshines them all! … Katsaris is different from the others: the self-confident heir to a glorious piano century.

Westfälische Nachrichten

Cyprien Katsaris and his sensational concert… The Gods and all the muses of Greece seemed to be with this artist, who brought his audience, with his light hands and playful manner, to an "intoxicating" level of enthusiasm… Katsaris developed all the contradictory characteristics of this poetic work (Brahms, Sonata no. 3, op. 5) with creative calm and mastery.

Die Welt, Hamburg

The poetic power of a Mozartian interpretation… One of the best Mozart interpreters of our time… It's easy to establish a comparison with the modesty of Clara Haskil or the transcendent obsession of Michelangeli, on the condition that one is able to imagine such a fusion. This explains the why of his so moving Mozart.

Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin

Chopin played masterfully… Ovations for a world-class pianist.

Berliner Zeitung

Austria

(Referring to a Mozart concert with Sandor Végh and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra:) The main work of the evening was the Concerto K. 414. This was a celebration rather than a performance by soloist Cyprien Katsaris. It was a feast of formal beauty; its most outstanding quality was the mastery and culture of his subtle touch. He played as an encore his own "In Memoriam Mozart", a pastiche à la Mozart, really making the keyboard sing. The audience enjoyed two hours of "loyalty to the world of Mozart".

Kronenzeitung, Vienna

(On the seventh programme of the complete Mozart piano concertos cycle, April 1998, Salzburg :) A palatable concert as are few. Katsaris interprets Mozart's concertos with a light, incredibly transparent tone… One can really make music with such a soloist… An exceptional level of interpretation.

Salzburger Nachrichten

… the stormy applause raised to dimensions which have only rarely been reached in this place.

Salzburger Tagblatt

Switzerland

Katsaris must be considered in the lineage of Rachmaninov, Horowitz and Cziffra.

Hifi Video Test

France

Supernatural technique… Unusual musical energy.

Diapason, "The 100 pianists of the century", September 1998

A unique pianist… Creativity of a genius… The playing of Katsaris is highly personal… The music flows in an uninterrupted and magical way… Far removed from the academic and pasteurised ideals too often celebrated in the present day, Katsaris displays, once again, that he is one of the keyboard geniuses of our time.

Piano Le Magazine

Greece

It is not an exaggeration to proclaim that Katsaris is the first Greek pianist to obtain the stature of a Callas or a Mitropoulos.

I Kathimerini (The Daily), Athens

Russia

Such a playing, such a talent, cannot be learnt. This is a gift from God.

Moskovskii Komsomoliets, Moscow

Canada

These readings (Bach) stand squarely beside the familiar Glenn Gould performances… Readings (Beethoven and Schubert sonatas) of great depth and maturity… It is a measure of Katsaris's magnetic qualities as a performer that the audience sat as still as a grave… They were mesmerized.

The Ottawa Citizen

Japan

The Cyprien Katsaris phenomenon… Every one of his performances is indeed a unique musical experience… It is therefore not surprising that a Katsaris cult is developing in this country.

The Japan Times

No other pianist excels his virtuosity, although there are so many "virtuosi" about. He has created a new chapter in the repertoire and performance of piano music… His interpretation of this multi-faceted music (Schumann's Kinderszenen) was superbly delicate and it was as if he was sitting in the mind of the composer himself.

Asahi

The typhoon season is over in Japan. Figuratively speaking, however, a musical typhoon has been sweeping this country during the past few weeks. The name of this typhoon is Cyprien Katsaris… After he has swept the stage of the concert hall a bright sun rises and illuminates our aural vision. We have become musically wiser and spiritually content. It is partly for these reasons that Cyprien Katsaris has become one of the knowledgeable Japanese public's favorite pianists.

Mainichi Daily News

China

Those fortunate enough to have heard him in Hong Kong will never forget… Katsaris's very unique genius.

Asia Week

A recital by pianist Cyprien Katsaris is a major experience. He uses his technique at all times to serve his musical needs. His style is impeccable… The rest is his own brand of magic which defies analysis…Mr. Katsaris's wizardry must have equalled Liszt's own.

South China Morning Post

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