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Benjamin receives top reviews on North American Tour

February 21, 2017

Benjamin launched his North American Tour this month with recitals for The Frederic Chopin Society in Minnesota, at The University of Washington's Meany Hall in Seattle, Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami and in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony Center Presents Piano Series. His Chicago performance (also his debut in the city) drew rave reviews, with The Chicago Tribune commenting:

“… such was his combination of poetry and power that at 24 he already seems a seasoned musician … Grosvenor not only observed niceties of the printed page but entered into the spirit of the pieces by achieving heightened and irresistible identification. Some of this displayed his extreme virtuosity. But a number of young speedsters today play accurately. So the difference was in an apparent ease that left room for rare and telling characterization … Liszt’s "Rhapsodie espagnole" went from strength to strength. It had dumbfounding keyboard pyrotechnics but also, at times, a teasing playfulness not heard in Liszt since the passing of Georges Cziffra and Vladimir Horowitz. Extraordinary challenges in the music keep most players from creating the illusion of having fun. Not Grosvenor. He even extended it into two encores.”

 

Read the full review.

 

Bachtrack published a 5* review of the debut, commenting:

“In Grosvenor’s hands, Mozart’s Sonata no. 13 in B flat major sounded like a true classical composition… letting melodies sing with lightness, delicacy, without any overbearing … the pianist’s ability to easily bring out the melodic qualities, the shifts in mood and color from amidst the swirling pyrotechnics is entirely remarkable for someone so young … His poetic but razor sharp approach to music making, his subtle, non-showy technique bring to mind the recordings of the late [Walter Gieseking].”

 

Read the full review.

 

Third Coast Review, Chicago’s largest arts and culture website, added:

“Benjamin Grosvenor wowed a Symphony Center audience with intensely passionate, yet wonderfully delicate playing … Sunday’s recital lived up to all the hype and showed that Benjamin Grosvenor is definitely an artist worthy of attention … This program reflected a deep understanding of the piano repertoire, while also allowing Grosvenor to exhibit tremendous range of emotion and impressive technical savvy with near perfect playing … [Grosvenor] turned to [Liszt’s Rhapsodie Espagnole] at the recital’s conclusion … It was a brilliant way to conclude a brilliant recital, demonstrating this young pianist has the complete package.”

 

Read the full review.

 

In his review of Benjamin’s Miami recital, Lawrence Budmen at South Florida Classical Review declared Benjamin a “force to be reckoned with”:

“The concluding Rhapsodie espagnole by Liszt’s was Grosvenor’s most formidable technical feat of the evening. His deliberate pacing of the introductory “La Folia” theme expanded to a wide-ranging panorama of keyboard pyrotechnics. He tackled the knuckle-busting writing at high speed and full force. The “Jota arogonesa” was stated with lightness and elegance but Grosvenor took the climactic pages at a frantic pace while maintaining perfect accuracy. Even those for whom Liszt’s music is an acquired taste could become believers when his music is played with such musicality and imagination.”

 

Read the full review

 

The tour continued with three performances of Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. ArtsATL reviewed Thursday's performance (also Benjamin's Atlanta Symphony Orchestra subscription series debut):

“Grosvenor impressed at this ASO concert as a virtual heir to the great “old school” pianists, the kind you rarely hear anymore … Possessing a formidable technique, Grosvenor plays deeply into the keys, boldly, but with a ringing, rounded weight to his tone in loud passages. In softer moments, he was not merely soft, but played with body, color and presence … his playing is at once passionate and at the same time remarkably straightforward and intelligent.”

 

Read the full review.

 

Benjamin will return to North American in late April to perform with the Orchestra of St Luke’s at Carnegie Hall. 

 

 

 

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