Photo: Decca/Sophie Wright
“[Grosvenor] joined the orchestra for a refined, poetic performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 2. Grosvenor’s stylish musicianship was gentlemanly and restrained, without a hint of ostentation; just a determination to let the music unfold on its own terms, especially in the beautiful singing quality of the slow movement.”
- The Times Scotland, November 2018
"The English pianist produced a masterly performance of Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto, constructing pearly clear piano chords, and despite the weak orchestration, there was no gap in the enjoyment with Chan giving the soloist maximum opportunity for expression; bringing all the romanticism and ornamentation of the music out resplendently. Grosvenor has a beautiful manner at the keyboard, his fingers touching the chords almost feather-like and immaculate – bringing all the magic out of the slow movement (Larghetto). There was visible eye contact between the soloist and conductor throughout, noticeably Chan dispensed with her baton in this concerto. The brilliant mazurka dance was marvellously enacted in the brisk and dazzling finale with the soloist allowed to express his brilliance in full measure”
- Seen and Heard International, November 2018
“[Chopin] Concerto No 2 gives the piano precedence over the orchestra and this obvious right from the start. The Orchestra played the opening lines before giving way. It was very easy and thoroughly comfortable to watch Benjamin Grosvenor. With a career that started early he is enjoying considerable deserved success. Our audience was rewarded with a short encore.”
- Edinburgh Guide, November 2018
"There’s no disputing the remarkable finish, control and sheer beauty characterising Benjamin Grosvenor’s pianism, and his innate feeling for Busoni’s keyboard idiom is evident throughout the Chaconne (2015). The subtle melodic inflections that he brings out within the staccato octaves and repeated chords, for example, tend to elude other pianists."
- Gramophone Magazine, October 2018
"Between these two large canvases Benjamin Grosvenor was soloist in a delightfully refreshing interpretation of Mozart's Piano Concerto in C major, K467. His articulation was crisp and crystalline, his inflections grew naturally out of the music, and he even brought risky, quirky humour to his interactions with the orchestra.
But most significantly of all, he probed beneath the well-trodden surface of this music ... I don't remember ever having been made so much aware of the thematic connections between the outer movements. And it was good to acknowledge the far-reaching soundworld of the slow movement instead of just bathing in it as a piece of soft-focus dreamland."
- Midlands Music Reviews, October 2018
"[Grosvenor] and de la Parra offered a beautifully balanced rendition from the very start .. it was an excellent showcase for Grosvenor’s astonishing technique and once again earned rapturous applause; his encore of Rachmaninov’s Lilacs was played with serene, almost Debussy-esque dexterity."
- Bachtrack, October 2018
"Grosvenor glided effortlessly from a gentle caress of the keys to confident attack. In the concerto’s other superb and often powerful movements Grosvenor had more opportunity to show his dexterity and sense of the composer’s spirit and passion. The meaty third movement gave Grosvenor scope for playing with soul and accuracy at speed, and he showed panache without overpowering a beautifully balanced orchestra."
- The Sussex Express, October 2018
"The holistic piano experience of Benjamin Grosvenor in Madrid
[Grosvenor has] a formidable left that emerges where least expected with an orchestral sonority and a palette of discreet colours in Mozart’s sonata”
- Música Clásica BA, October 2018
“The Best of the English School
[In Bach French Suite No.5 and Mozart Sonata No.13] both interpretations were transparent, totally objective and technically perfect in their execution … technical balance interspersed with poetic fantasy, which leave us with the desire to continue listening to Grosvenor in Ravel and probably also in Debussy.”
- Forum Clasico, October 2018
"The British pianist showed many virtues based on a high technical level, in elegant phrasing, a very careful sound and a limpid and crystalline pulsation...
[In Bach's French Suite No. 5] He showed a great sense of balance, with a bright but content sound. His trip through the different dances was revealing with an Allemande of live time, played with elegance and with great trills."
- Codalario, October 2018
"The musician leaves an excellent impression in his first recital in Madrid.
[In Gaspard de la nuit] He played Ondine with a great sense of color, he kept the rhythmic ostinato of Le gibet wise and implacable and he faced the legendary and fearsome demands of Scarbo with plenty of resources, provoking a just enthusiastic response from the audience.”
- El Pais, October 2018
"[In Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op.21] Grosvenor’s phrasing was impeccable. His precise touch showed a lyrical approach to the work, whether it was with trills and rapid runs or allowing more isolated notes to shine, pearl-like, in the slower passages as strings hovered gently behind.
Grosvenor knows when to let the detail – the embroidered accents, so to speak – come to the fore, and conductor Mark Wigglesworth made sure that the ASO was right with him. It was masterful playing at all levels, offering restraint and energy in turn for this lyrical piece.”
- Adelaide InDaily, October 2018
"[Grosvenor] displayed the eye-watering pianism for which he has become renowned ... As he manoeuvred through shifts of emotional intensity with dexterity, Zhang’s expert guidance ensured that sufficient space was always available for the piano’s melodic expression to breathe without being overpowered. An enthusiastic reception was rewarded with a short encore from Grosvenor; the Etude in A Flat Op. 7 No 11 by Moritz Moszkowski. Simultaneously delicate and virtuosic, its chromatic hand-crossings were delivered with silken smoothness by Grosvenor, closing the first half of the program beautifully."
- Limelight Magazine, September 2018
"Grosvenor returned to Sydney with a program of the sort that 50 years ago would have been thought essential for anyone making a London debut – a Baroque work, a classical sonata, some 19th century Romantic music and a "modern" ... Grosvenor played Bach's French Suite No. 5 in G major, BWV 816 with intelligent grace, nimble clarity where needed ... Grosvenor saved some of the most poetic moments for two Goyescas by Granados, ending the second "Complaints or the Maja and the Nightingale" with bird-like textures of magical stillness ... His performance of Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit showed masterly textural control and I have rarely heard the last movement, Scarbo, played with such a mixture of technical assurance and musical logic."
- Sydney Morning Herald, September 2018
"[Grosvenor] takes care to mix up a rich and varied palette of colours for his programs … [he] plays with great clarity and transparency. His touch is light and he also has a sense of fun … perhaps the best was saved for last in a stunning performance of Maurice Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit … This is considered the most challenging of all Ravel’s piano works … It made a spectacular ending to Grosvenor’s well thought out and entertaining program."
- The Daily Telegraph, September 2018
"Few pianists are game to tackle Gaspard de la Nuit in a live concert. It requires the riskiness of youth, fiery passion, romance and an Olympian technique. Grosvenor had all of those, plus a way of conveying French impressionism with mysteriously soft, colourful brushes. I’ve heard many outstanding pianists tackle this rodeo ride, but Grosvenor’s take on it was disarmingly unique."
- J-Wire, September 2018
"The next day, Benjamin Grosvenor's performance of Chopin's Concerto No. 2 was one of the most sensational ever heard, whether in concert or on record… Under the fingers of the twenty-six-year-old artist, well supported by Kaspszyk (this time at the head of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra), it proceeded with such alacrity, and with so much character, that it passed as if in a dream. It is difficult to imagine a more glittering performance, a more pleasing panache, or more taste than this account, an ideal combination of virility and finesse. The English pianist made the Larghetto his own, taken with fervour, with a nobility of tone that put him beyond the realm of mere sentimentality, or of short-live affectation. Two encores – an Etude of Moszkowski and Lilacs of Rachmaninov – see him walk in the footsteps of the greatest. A dazzling conclusion to a festival rich in major names of piano and ambitious programming."
- Diapason, September 2018
"The Royal Albert Hall is rarely kind to soloists and thus Grosvenor’s clarity of tone was a thing to admire..."
- Bachtrack, August 2018
"Rhapsody in Blue was a thrilling ride, Benjamin Grosvenor playfully pulling his solo sections around and then dashing into new themes with youthful zeal. The ease with which he held the audience in awe was quite something to witness."
- London Jazz News, August 2018
"Rhapsody in Blue, which, with the help of a compact string section, recreated the concert band aura of the original Paul Whiteman performance. Guy Barker was the punctilious conductor; Benjamin Grosvenor was crisp and concise at the piano."
- The Times, August 2018
"Grosvenor is no slouch when it comes to Mozart and this performance was full of felicitous phrasing ... The central Andante was affectingly rendered without affectation, Grosvenor mindful of a solo part needing to be integrated closely into that of the orchestra, while the Finale evinced all the necessary litheness and effervescence at a not unduly headlong tempo. All credit to Grosvenor for opting to play the cadenzas by Robert Casadesus in the outer movements ... and for offering a limpid account of Rachmaninov’s Lilacs, an arrangement of the fifth song from his Opus 21 set of Romances, as his encore.”
- Classical Source, August 2018
"At times it recalls one of Carl Stalling’s jerky scores for a Bugs Bunny cartoon – a riot of hat-muted trumpets, jangling banjos and chuckling woodwind – with star pianist Benjamin Grosvenor...”
- The Guardian, August 2018
"Benjamin Grosvenor took the piano part and made it his own, displaying not only the pyrotechnic flourishes expected of the soloist, but some subtlety of dynamic, even when the piano was accompanied by the band – the grainy texture of the instrumentation allowing the piano to weave its way into the cracks.”
- Music OMH, August 2018
"Benjamin Grosvenor was also mindful of how the solo part is more closely integrated within the ensemble – his idiomatic and often characterful playing pointing up the concertante nature of Gershwin’s trail-blazing conception."
- Classical Source, August 2018
"Grosvenor gave a lively, uncomplicated and agreeable account of the concerto’s finale. His encore performance of Rachmaninov’s Prelude in G, Op.32 No.5 was delightfully warm and poetic."
- Seen and Heard International, August 2018
"… when the performer is Benjamin Grosvenor in his comfort zone, playing Ravel and Bach with consummate artistry, razor-like focus and a depth of insight barely believable in a pianist of just 26, you know you’re getting something special. As Grosvenor is, on all counts.
At the forefront of his generation worldwide, he delivers with an unassuming, unforced eloquence. And Sunday morning or no, his programme didn’t shy away from challenge, with a set of pieces written by the Australian composer Brett Dean to be inserted between Brahms’s Op 119 intermezzi as a Hommage (the title of the set) and commentary. It called for, and rewarded, careful listening.”
- Catholic Herald, July 2018
"With subtle and confident maturity the English pianist, who is in his mid-twenties, headed for the closing piece, Ravels rightfully dreaded Gaspard de la nuit. But from the start the pianist captivated with his lively yet crystal clear rendering of Bach’s French Suite in G major, with rich dynamics and stylistically authentic embellishments, especially in the repetitions.
A sense for subtle colours in piano and pianissimo was combined with powerful yet unforced touch and spirited creative will in Grosvenor’s playing, captivatingly put on display in Brahms’ Rhapsody."
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, July 2018
"Unlike other Romantic concertos, the focus of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2 is entirely on the soloist; there is no struggle between the instrument and the orchestra. The ensemble [Seattle Symphony Orchestra] opens the concerto, but with the piano’s entrance, the former recedes to a supporting role. Grosvenor, who burst onto the classical scene in 2004 as a finalist in the BBC Young Musician Competition, was a sensitive and attentive soloist. For the wrenchingly beautiful second movement, a nocturne, Grosvenor’s expressive playing aimed right for the audience’s heart. Every note, every phrase was imbued with feeling. He moved effortlessly along the keyboard, making each virtuosic moment seem easy. The orchestra, in rare moments when Chopin brought them back into the spotlight, equaled Grosvenor’s keyboard brilliance. A burnished orchestral prelude, an unforgettable bassoon solo in the slow movement, and a vigorous finale stand out.”
- Seen and Heard International, July 2018
“[In Brahms’ First Piano Quartet] Grosvenor’s opening bare octaves set a warmly expressive tone, immediately matched by the string players, promising an assured performance …
[In Schubert’s Notturno] Hyeyoon Park and Kian Soltani sang with beautifully matched tones, with Grosvenor’s delicate trills wistfully ephemeral against the final return of that long-lined melody …
[Schubert’s Trout Quintet] by the finale, that sense of joy and fun was all-pervading, yet detail was not forgotten, with some beautiful pianissimo string playing, and pinpoint accurate, rapid passagework from Grosvenor, building to the work’s somewhat sudden, understated but ultimately affirming conclusion. Throughout the evening, Grosvenor was never front of stage, literally or figuratively, allowing his assembled colleagues to take most of the limelight. But he is to be heartily congratulated for bringing together such a wonderfully effortless evening of high-class music making.”
- Bachtrack, May 2018
"[In Schubert’s Trout Quintet] the tension was thrilling, the scherzo springing into life as if its unmistakable upbeat had been released suddenly from a confined space. Crucial to the mix was Grosvenor, who moved seamlessly from foreground to background, his quicksilver fingers constantly communicating, a luminous tone and beautifully sculpted phrases – a true chamber musician.”
- The Guardian, May 2018
"The beginning of Beethoven's G major Violin Sonata underlined just how perfectly matched the two duo partners are ... The highlight was Bartók's Rhapsody. The musicians opened the work in a nimble, powerful and danceable manner, in order to counter the same wistful-dreamy tones."
- Südwest Presse, May 2018
"Controlled and poetic
There aren't many pianists who come to mind who can play Gaspard as Benjamin Grosvenor does, with a virtuosity that was transcendental due to its illumination of the spectral nighttime vistas with the most fantastical pianissimo colours.....Right from the beginning Grosvenor showed himself to be an exceptionally poetic pianist, who instantly won over the audience with his fabulously soft but at the same time profound keyboard technique.....This enormous control of sound allows him meticulously to bring a wide range of colours to his performance."
- Süddeutsche Zeitung, May 2018
"Technically dazzling … we have seen [Grosvenor] extend his horizons to the point where nothing seems out of reach, either technically or artistically. His solo recitals recall an earlier generation of wizards of the piano … an electric current sizzles in this pianist’s fingertips.”
- The Financial Times, April 2018
"Berg's Sonata, Op. 1, shaped with rigour yet pregnant with feeling and emotion in Grosvenor's magnificent performance ... Ravel's extreme virtuosic demands allowed this pianist to bring his programme to a steel-fingered climax."
- The Telegraph, April 2018
“[Grosvenor] continues to consolidate his position as, aged twenty-five, one of the finest young pianists around … Grosvenor is also a natural when it comes to sustaining the vital, old-fashioned mystique of an artist who combines flair and stamina with a powerful intelligence and grounded imagination – a musician with a highly developed ability to connect and to interest.”
- Classical Source, April 2018
“[Grosvenor] applies a grace to [Chopin Piano Concerto No.2] that gives it a sweeter sound, and more rewarding result for the listener.”
- Naples Daily News, April 2018
“The scorching chromatic piano scales leading to the theme’s return were a marvel(third movement), and the athletic exuberance of the Più mosso coda capped a knockout debut for the young pianist.”
- New York Classical Review, April 2018
“[Grosvenor] tackled the difficult score with tremendous poise and immaculate technique, keeping a perfect balance between underlying the overall arch of any given phrase and bringing forward the richness of individual details.”
- Bachtrack, April 2018
“In the Third Piano Concerto, the soloist was the brilliant British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, who played a demanding part with crisp articulation, beautiful shadings, keen attention to inner voices and tremendous imagination.”
- The New York Times, April 2018
"Mr. Grosvenor was, indeed a wunderkind, has been giving performances for more than a decade, is brilliant, more than accomplished and tripped the keys faultlessly … he opened the Concerto with the thunder of a Valhalla god, and then proceeded to play like controlled lightning. The first movement had accent, verve, musical vitality and those whiplash octaves and trills which are par for the young genius class … The pianist finished with a quite jolly finale. Like all the piano concerto finales, these notes were the sparkling wines of the work, and Mr. Grosvenor did sparkle.”
- ConcertoNet, April 2018
"Benjamin Grosvenor’s solo playing was deeply satisfying – touches of poetic longing mixed in with a strict sense of flow and balance of question-and-answer in the phrasing … The slow movement struck a note of rapture (orchestra and soloist) and the finale was elegant and fleet-footed, and finally exuberant. For a solo encore we were treated to one of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces – Erotik, I believe, in name and a cool, Norwegian sort of erotica but very beautiful."
- Manchester Classical Music, March 2018
"British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor delivered a pyrotechnic interpretation of [Beethoven’s Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major] in his PSO debut, maintaining an engaging, conversational rapport with the orchestra and making hay of the more humorous quirks of the piece."
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 2018
"…Between the two ‘war symphonies’ [of Stravinsky and Lutosławski] the endless, dreamy right hand figurations of Chopin's Concerto in F minor cradled the audience into a rapt ecstasy.
Benjamin Grosvenor proved to be a miracle man worthy of his reputation. Clarity, brilliance and sensitivity are in ideal balance in his playing. There was no shortage of the music's virtuosity or dance-like features and the Larghetto's pulsing, nocturnal ecstasy radiated blissfully whereas the octave recitatives that interrupt it were frightening.
The encore - Grieg's lyric piece Erotik - proved that Grosvenor belongs amongst the great pianist poets of our time."
- Helsingin Sanomat, February 2018
"Grosvenor's playing in the matinee concert was defined by an unwavering rhythmic rigor that provided vital, purposeful drive devoid of all pedantry. The elevated contours of the passage work were fashioned with the finest chisel; a "strong left" animated and differentiated the accompanying voices. Those charming harmonically ambiguous nooks that the composer heads for in the first movement were not moments of enchantment, but of concentrated thoughtfulness.
Needless to say, the Briton also liberated the encore, Grieg's lyric piece "Erotique", from the hazy sultriness of the salon to the rarefied mountain air of a northerly fjord spring."
- Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, February 2018
"At 25, Benjamin Grosvenor is the last jewel of the British piano school. His trajectory until now reveals that he not only has fingers (he does not shrink before the most difficult and technically demanding works), but also very good head. Beethoven is not, or not usually, a composer for young people, but Grosvenor has left us an extraordinary impression with a mature, unblemished and clear-sighted version of the German composer's Concerto No. 2. It is doubtless the least interesting of the five that he composed but, without ever exaggerating, and with a fluid, attentive accompaniment full of good details on the part of Roth, Grosvenor managed to highlight all of its virtues, especially in a model slow movement and a rondo finale really played at allegro molto, as the score indicates, without fear of derailing. The most deserved applause elicited from him a prelude by Bach."
- El Pais, February 2018
"With this reading, the Concerto reclaims its own place in the history of European music. In this the contribution of Benjamin Grosvenor, a superb pianist in perfect harmony with the conductor, is fundamental. The bright and luminous sound is accompanied by meticulous phrasing, now chamber music now salon; now delicate now virtuosic; never brazen or indulgent. The beautiful and unusual Erotik encore from Grieg's Lyric Pieces was played with still greater freedom and breath."
- La Gazetta Musicale, January 2018
"Grosvenor's performance merits special recognition; child prodigy of English classical music, Benjamin became within a few years one of the most acclaimed pianists of his generation. Winner age eleven of the BBC Young Musician Competition, Grosvenor performed at only nineteen at the BBC Proms in 2011.
Today, the twenty-five-year-old Grosvenor has demonstrated not only that he is endowed with an exceptionally virtuosic technique, but also possesses a remarkable interpretative ability underlining the more dramatic elements of the composition, impressing with the wide palette of colors used: from soft pianissimi to the impetuous - sometimes desperate - emphases with which he characterised the furious atmosphere of the third movement together with the orchestra.
A most delicate reading of Erotik, one of Grieg's lyric pieces, was given as an encore at the end of the concerto."
- Le Salon Musical, January 2018
"[Benjamin's] playing has gained in heft and his assured virtuosity seemed much at home in the fire, ice and thunder of this ever-popular work. He is the least showy of performers, but plays with an assurance in which his manual choreography is a joy to witness. And he matched the orchestra’s suave power with sizeable tone that never lost its sheen of beauty: silken passagework, modest and sincere songfulness and a magnificently paced cadenza, to which Chailly and the orchestra responded as if with hushed awe."
- The ArtsDesk, January 2018
"Grosvenor’s piano entered as a spring bubbling up from the ground, cool and clear. So much of that concerto is built around the scale, and the pianist’s phrases flowed together with sleek, sparkling ease."
- Boston Globe, January 2018
"Benjamin Grosvenor, making his debut with the orchestra, brought dazzling technique, a supple, controlled touch, a strong left hand and cool elegance to Mozart’s concerto. The famous Andante was a lesson in cantabile playing pillowed by Roth’s accompaniment and taking on the quality of a nocturne in its timbre. Fusillades of virtuosity propelled the sparkling final movement to its conclusion. Moszkowski’s Étude in A flat Op.72 no. 11 provided an impish encore with Grosvenor changing both his touch and tone to pour out arpeggios like cascading droplets."
- Bachtrack, January 2018
"The solo spotlight fell upon Benjamin Grosvenor. At only 25, the British pianist has blossomed into an artist of international renown for his expansive repertoire and probing musical mind. His vehicle of choice Thursday night was Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, in which he made his BSO debut. Safe as this choice of concerto might look on paper, Grosvenor’s performance brought the piece to vivid life. Textures were soft, phrases were shaped in singing lines, and the music flowered with both classical grace and lyricism. Grosvenor possesses a dazzling technique but there’s more to his touch than mere fireworks. The second theme of the first movement sounded with searching mystery, and his playing brought subtle weight to the minor-key passages than dot the development section. The finale had stormy energy as well, and Grosvenor brought fire and intensity to the cadenzas (by French pianist Robert Casadesus), which sounding almost like miniature sonatas unto themselves."
- Boston Classical Review, January 2018