Marc-André Hamelin

Latest release

Busoni Late Piano Music

Ferruccio Busoni
Late Piano Music
Hyperion / CDA 67951/3
iTunes US
iTunes UK

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Press

 “Hamelin seems able to pull off just about anything...with an almost surreal technique, devoid of flourishes or histrionics, but full of meaning, delicacy and power.”    The Portland Press Herald, February 17, 2013, Portland Ovations recital

 “Hamelin was attentive to the most minute modulations of volume and timbre as well as the adventurous spirit necessary to bring Cage’s unique ruminations to life. Hamelin’s brilliant performance was a mini tour de force, and let’s hope that he is invited back to Miami soon to explore more of his unconventional repertoire.”    South Florida Classical Review, February 11, 2013, John Cage Journey, New World Symphony

 “The program concluded with Rachmaninoff, and Mr. Hamelin’s flawless control of touch and shading resulted in a particularly gorgeous interpretation of the Prelude in G...Mr. Hamelin clearly highlighted voices and details within the dense, tumultuous thickets, rendered with power and rich tone.”    The New York Times, February 3, 2013, Recital, 92nd Street Y

 “He offered myriad dynamics; he articulated the trickiest of passages without the slightest trace of effort; he delivered expressive impact with every phrase... His tonally delicate, rhythmically elastic handling of the first theme’s recapitulation was but one magical touch, one more reminder of this pianist’s distinctive artistry.”    The Baltimore Sun, January 28, 2013, Recital, Shriver Hall

 “Not only did Hamelin overcome the technical hurdles, he shaped each piece into something beautiful to behold — polished, glowing even. The power of this beauty obliterated any reminder of how difficult this achievement may be.”    Musical Toronto, January 22, 2013, Recital at Music Toronto

 “Canadian piano superhero Marc-André Hamelin can leap the tallest showpieces from the golden years of the 19th and 20th centuries in a single bound. But he is no less impressive with the masterworks of the 18th century, as he shows in his third two-CD volume of an ongoing survey of the 60 pioneering Piano Sonatas by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).”    The Toronto Star, June 18, 2012, Haydn Piano Sonatas review

 “What beauty Hamelin reveals in Ives’ writing! What a fantastic unraveling of the typical Ivesian tangle of musics!”    The Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2012, Ojai Music Festival

 “Playing from memory, Marc-André Hamelin confidently overcame the most improbable aspects of the solo part, tirelessly summoning up a deep brazen sonority without a hint of harshness, yet projecting effortlessly in the most restrained passages.”    The Classical Source, May 12, 2012, Busoni Cto with NJ Symphony Orchestra, Spring for Music at Carnegie Hall

 “For this performance the virtuoso pianist Marc-André Hamelin vanquished the staggering difficulties of the solo part with cool assurance and consummate musicianship...It was an honor to be in the hall for the astonishing performance of the Busoni concerto by Mr. Hamelin, the orchestra and the chorus.”    The New York Times, May 11, 2012, Busoni Cto with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Spring for Music at Carnegie Hall

 “Busoni's Piano Concerto, rarely performed and considered one of the most challenging in the repertoire, made for a stunning focal point of the program. Marc-André Hamelin, who first performed the work under Lacombe in Canada about 15 years ago, dazzled as the soloist…Hamelin played with strength, elasticity and decisiveness as the orchestra imbued the concerto with vibrant, fully engaged performances throughout the flashes of Brahms, dashes of Liszt and forays into Wagnerian heft.”    The Star-Ledger, May 11, 2012, Busoni Cto with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Spring for Music at Carnegie Hall

 “Making sense of this rambling score is enough of an accomplishment, but Hamelin mastered its rising and falling cascades of scales, biting rhythms and thunderous textures as though he was Busoni himself.”    The Birmingham News, May 10, 2012, Busoni Cto, NJSO with Jacques Lacombe, Spring for Music at Carnegie Hall

 “Virtuoso pianists tend to be divided into two groups: those of supreme technical ability and those with a profound aptitude for expression. These two groups are often treated as if they were mutually exclusive, and critics are fond of exclaiming when a member of one group shows himself able to travel into the terrain of the other...The Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin is a prime example of this kind of crossover artist. His technical facility is breathtaking: The piano quivers and trembles under his thunderous assault. But his sensitivity is also superb.”    The Washington Post, April 3, 2012, Chopin and Alkan recital review, Pro Musica Hebraica

 “Thursday night held a much-belated subscription concerts debut by a North American piano wizard...the pairing of Canadian, Boston-based piano omnivore Marc-André Hamelin with the CSO's widely envied first trumpet Christopher Martin in Shostakovich's own C minor First Piano Concerto, Op. 35, proved inspired with each soloist throwing off one exciting turn after another.”    The Chicago-Sun Times, March 24, 2012, Shostakovich First Piano Concerto, The Chicago Symphony

 “The concerto’s cut-glass brilliance and mordant wit were made to order for a virtuoso such as Marc-André Hamelin. Making his subscription series debut, the pianist brought incisive attack, fastidious fingers and cool objectivity to the outer movements, where he and CSO principal trumpet Christopher Martin mirrored each other’s dexterity.”    The Chicago Tribune, March 23, 2012, Shostakovich First Piano Concerto, The Chicago Symphony

 “Where did Joseph Haydn fit into this exotic confection? Well, it almost goes without saying that he provided the appetizer, his Sonata in E minor showing the side of Hamelin's keyboard personality that is rarely discussed leave alone celebrated: his elegance. Both hands are capable of extraordinary agility but it was the left that kept the Haydn grounded and rejoiced in its often undervalued robustness.”    The Independent, February 8, 2012, Wigmore Hall Villa-Lobos, Stockhausen, Liszt and Haydn recital

 “The Canadian virtuoso Marc-André Hamelin is celebrated for his breadth of repertoire and enthusiastic advocacy of music ignored by other pianists. What held this improbable programme together was his sure-footed musical approach, combined with an impeccable range of technical skills.”    The Guardian, February 7, 2012, Wigmore Hall Villa-Lobos, Stockhausen, Liszt and Haydn recital review

 “He timed transitions exquisitely, and laid out the motifs and inner voices clearly. Tender moments, bursts of anger, hints of optimism, and devastating, heaving disappointments in the dark depression of the conclusion were vivid. It was an excruciating emotional journey where most dare not go.”    San Francisco Classical Voice, November 2, 2011, San Francisco Performances recital review

 “Beyond his electrifying technical skills, the Montreal native is probably one of the most complete musicians of his generation: a virtuoso, certainly – in the noblest sense of the term – a real musical thinker, himself a composer, whose appetite to devour the repertoire has led to the discovery of a few pearls previously reserved for the connoisseurs, which he interprets with a rare intelligence, and which he handles with the same integrity whether his subject is Haydn, Beethoven or the music of today.”    La Presse, October 24, 2011, on the Szymanowski Symphony No. 4 with Berlin Philharmonic and Pablos Heras-Casado

 “These are the debuts one always dreams of. At the Berlin Philharmonic the young Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado introduced himself at the helm and,furthermore, had in pianist Marc-André Hamelin an equal partner who shared his intoxicating passion and proved a formidable colleague at his side.”    Berliner Morgenpost, October 22, 2011, on the Szymanowski Symphony No. 4 with Berlin Philharmonic and PablosHeras-Casado

 “Marc-André Hamelin is never flamboyant or showy: his playing is all about the music. And so to watch him play Liszt – music that shows all the hallmarks of a showman – is to watch a masterclass in modesty of gesture.... This will undoubtedly stand up as one of this year’s outstanding concerts.”    BBC Music Magazine, August 27, 2011, BBC proms review

 “Everything Hamelin is famous for was on offer in this recital, as well as a few things for which he is not. No need, perhaps, to report that Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor was dispatched with the utmost force and clarity. Hamelin does not need to slow down to make double octaves sting at high velocity. His ability also enables interpretive choices: I heard songful left-hand lines in new relief amid cascading decorations. Yet there was nothing self-conscious, and the heroic essence of the masterpiece was left intact.”    The Montreal Gazette, August 8, 2011, recital review

 “The pianist Marc-André Hamelin is fearless. No successful performer can afford to show fear from the stage, but with Mr. Hamelin, fearlessness is something more: a positive attribute, a confident calm that he exudes even while unleashing volcanic eruptions of sound and emotion.”    James R. Oestreich for The New York Times, August 1, 2011, International Keyboard Institute and Festival recital review

 “He brought crystalline accuracy and seamless phrasing even in the fastest passages to Ravel‘s Gaspard de la Nuit, making the piano surge, shrug, dance and dart like something alive and throbbing...Something similar happened in Liszt‘s titanic Piano Sonata in B minor, with Hamelin creating one compelling moment after another, and investing the single movement in a sweep that took it from the hesitant opening scales to several thrilling climaxes, the final page a hushed coda of simple grace. This was breathtaking pianism.”    The Aspen Times, July 11, 2011, Aspen Music Festival recital review

 “Hamelin’s performance was unassumingly formidable, profound, superbly paced, the melodic line not just effectively distinct from the eddies of accompaniment, but seeming to well up from within… Hamelin’s pianism is deep enough to let the strongest currents course under the surface.”    The Boston Globe, June 20, 2011, Rockport Chamber Music Festival recital review

 “Reger's Piano Concerto is a work of immense power that is nevertheless prone, in the wrong hands, to sound like a heavy Brahmsian homage … Marc-André Hamelin's hands, however, are definitely the right ones, and this is one of the most lucid, as well as passionate, readings of the piece I have heard.”    May 2011, BBC Music Magazine

 “At a performance by Marc-André Hamelin, you don’t have to wonder whether braininess will eclipse finger power, or vice versa. Mr. Hamelin brings both to his work in ample measure, and he plays with heart as well.”    Allan Kozinn for The New York Times, May 13, 2011, Carnegie /Zankel Hall Recital

 “With Hamelin at the keyboard one is sure to have one’s ears and brain tickled.... The endless decoration, especially in the last movement, purled from his hands without a hint of fussiness or excess theatricality. His exquisite touch on the keys, weighting and voicing each note just so, made the second movement, with its operatic flights of fancy in the right hand, particularly effective.”    Charles T. Downey for Ionarts, May 2, 2011, Strathmore recital review

 “Marc-André Hamelin is one of the smartest pianists playing today. If this description conjures up the image of a pedantic professorial type, think again: Hamelin has established himself as the thinking man’s virtuoso, and virtuosity is his main hallmark. He just employs it a lot more interestingly than most. On Friday night at Strathmore, the exuberance with which he plunged into the classical repertory evoked something ebullient, delighted and filled with breathtaking energy, like a child plummeting into a swimming pool.”    Anne Midgette for The Washington Post, May 1, 2011, recital review

 “If you plan to buy a Liszt piano CD during the composer’s bicentenary, make straight for the this tumultuous recital. Hamelin is a master of the rhetorical flourish...He gives us filigree tenderness too and, in Venezia e Napoli, picturesque atmospherics.”    CD Review, Liszt Sonata in B Minor on Hyperion, The Times, April 23, 2011

 “He makes the strongest possible case for emphasizing the contrasts in this ever-fascinating music ... a programme that confirms Hamelin as one of our great Lisztians.”    The Sunday Times, April 10, 2011, Liszt Sonata in B Minor on Hyperion CD review

 “After Alkan, the three Liszt pieces Hamelin presented on the first half of his program – drawn from the “Venice and Naples“ supplement to Book 2 of “Annees de Pelerinage“ – seemed almost as child‘s play. Here, too, the pianist wore his firebrand and poet hats with equal distinction … building to a dazzling finish.”   John von Rhein for Chicago Tribune, November 8, 2010, CSO Presents recital review

 “It was a marvelous performance, Kuerti’s polish and Hamelin’s formidable technique producing ideal quick-fire conversation, repartee, and witticisms.”   The Boston Globe, April 14, 2010 on Shostakovich Cto No. 1 with the Boston Symphony

“The eye-popping virtuosity displayed Tuesday evening at Bass Performance Hall was no surprise.  While plenty of pianists can play very fast and very loudly, rare is the mastery of musical rhetoric and expression shown by Hamelin.  The difference between a great performance and a merely very good one is the illusion of spontaneity. And from Haydn‘s F minor Variations (Hob. XVII:6) and Mozart‘s A minor Piano Sonata (K. 310) to four Debussy preludes, Hamelin seemed to be making up the music on the spot, in the very best sense.” The Dallas Morning News, February 3, 2010, recital review

“A one-of-a-kind concert artist...His recital began with commonplace Haydn (Andante and Variations in F minor) and Mozart (Sonata in A minor, K. 310), and his performances were airy.  He just played the notes, but his rhythms were so exacting and his touch so subtle that each note seemed to have a life of its own. The same could be said of Liszt’s “Venezia e Napoli,” which concluded the first half.  But this is virtuosic music, and there are many more notes per square inch of score, for instance, a gondolier’s melody floated over the waves and these waves were projected in the kind of high definition that allows you to make out individual droplets of water. The pianist remained as cool as a cucumber.”   The Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2009, recital review

“Then, however, came his coup de grace, a towering, mighty performance of the cadenza in which all the movement‘s beauties were finally, and definitively, revealed. Transforming from the toweringly powerful to the sweetly magical, with the smoothest imaginable trills at the very end, it was entrancing. It’s this kind of structural thinking that makes Hamelin one of the great pianists of the present day.”   The Australian, September 14, 2009 on Beethoven Cto. 3 with the Adelaide Symphony

 “The latest installment of Marc-André Hamelin’s survey in progress, including 11 works, benefits from crisp, focused playing and the kind of linear transparency that gets to the core of Haydn’s resourcefulness and originality.”   The New York Times, September 10, 2009, on Hyperion CD Haydn Sonatas Vol. II

“The seeming ease of Hamelin‘s formidable piano technique is itself riveting; but the combination of passion and insight he brought to the Alkan was exceptional, with moments of purity countered by colossal, though never overbearing, soundscapes. Hamelin’s nonchalant encore was a nocturne of his own, a quietly understated homage to Alkan and his pyrotechnics; the fact that he, too, is a complete musician as well as a keyboard giant.”   The Guardian, August 5, 2009 on an Aldeburgh Music recital

“Hamelin realized not only Liszt’s demands, but the sonic imagination behind them: an undulating gondolier’s song ringing through a mist of trills, those trills becoming operatic notes of the following “Canzone.”  Hamelin rolled through the wickedly fast repeated notes of the “Tarantella” with more elegance than mere exigency, a spidery realization of a delicate, dangerous web of notes.”  The Boston Globe, June 19, 2009, recital review

“The accuracy, speed, and rhythmic precision of Hamelin’s playing were something to behold. Even in today‘s era of great technical accomplishment, there are few pianists who can equal Hamelin‘s clarity and fireworks. But while that is an important part of his musical arsenal, it is not what makes him so special. What knocked me over about his performances was the beauty of the slow music--played with incredibly subtle dynamic shading, phrasing of remarkable suppleness and imagination, and an ability to draw 2,000 listeners right into the music, each with the feeling that he was playing “just for me.”    ARTSJOURNAL on the record...with Henry Fogel, May 22, 2009 on Liszt "Totentanz" with the Seattle Symphony

“His performance was fascinating, nourishing and provocative.“   The Washington Post, April 10, 2009, recital review

“The addition of two Nocturnes and the sublime Barcarolle simply confirm in my mind that though Hamelin has made many fabulous discs, particularly in repertoire of superhuman virtuosity, this is one of his very finest achievements to date.” Gramophone, February 2009 on Hyperion CD Chopin Sonatas Nos. 2 & 3

 “Hamelin, a poet among virtuosos, brings sensibility and a brilliant technique in equal measure to this oft-recorded music.”   The Sunday Times, January 19, 2009 on Hyperion CD Chopin Sonatas Nos. 2 & 3

“The sheer keyboard brilliance of Hamelin’s playing is exceptional.  The breathtaking clarity with which he articulates even the most ferocious passages, while unerringly projecting melodic shapes that are often obscured under welters of notes, never fails to dazzle, and the way in which he sustains the huge first movement of the Concerto so that each discursive paragraph seems a natural consequence of what precedes it is a triumph of pure musical will.” The Guardian, August 31, 2007 on Hyperion CD Alkan Concerto for Solo Piano

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Full reviews

October 30, 2013
Busoni: Late Piano Music - Review
The Guardian

September 23, 2013
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin proves he is a maestro at Festival Theatre concert
The Advertiser

July 28, 2013
Chamberfest Review: Marc-André Hamelin delivers brilliant, dramatic performance
Ottowa Citizen

July 26, 2013
Full Range of Heat at Summer Festival
The New York Times

June 28, 2013
Marc-André Hamelin - Review
The Guardian

May 25, 2013
Review: Marc-André Hamelin and the San Francisco Symphony
examiner.com

May 23, 2013
SF Symphony review: Hamelin plays Ravel, Gershwin
San Francisco Chronicle

May 20, 2013
Marc-André Hamelin positively buoyant in recital at Symphony Center
Chicago Sun-Times

February 17, 2013
Pianist Hamelin earns his standing ovation
Portland Press Herald

February, 2013
John Cage Journey
South Florida Classical Review

February, 2013
John Cage Journey
South Florida Classical Review

February 3, 2013
Paganini’s Melody, Borrowed for Keyboard: Marc-André Hamelin at the 92nd Street Y
The New York Times

January 28, 2013
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin gives compelling recital at Shriver Hall
The Baltimore Sun

January 22, 2013
Marc-André Hamelin and the art of making the difficult look easy
Musical Toronto

June 18, 2012
Marc-André Hamelin meets highest of standards
The Toronto Star

June 9, 2012
Ojai Music Festival
The Los Angeles Times

May 11, 2012
Blooming Far Beyond Where They’re Planted
The New York Times

May 10, 2012
New Jersey Symphony, Hamelin Master Busoni
The Birmingham News

April 3, 2012
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin played an intimate and engaging concert
The Washington Post

March 24, 2012
Pianist Hamelin standout in Russian program
The Chicago Sun-Times

February 8, 2012
Marc-André Hamelin, Wigmore Hall
The Independent

November 2, 2011
Hamelin scores as a pianist and composer
San Francisco Classical Voice

October 24, 2011
Hamelin au sommet
La Presse

October, 2011
Berlin Philharmonic, review compilation

August 27, 2011
Late-night Liszt from the Canadian pianist wows
BBC Music Magazine

August 25, 2011
Prom 54: Marc-André Hamelin
The Guardian

August 8, 2011
Hamelin lives up to his rep
The Montreal Gazette

August 1, 2011
Romantic temperament applied to monuments
The New York Times

June 20, 2011
Hamelin brings waves of notes to Rockport
The Boston Globe

May 1, 2011
Marc-André Hamelin at Strathmore
The Washington Post

April 23, 2011
Liszt/Hyperion review
The Times

November 8, 2010
Pianist Hamelin thunders through Alkan rarity
Chicago Tribune

14 April 2010
A stylish musical outing at the BSO
The Boston Globe

21 February 2010
Folly Theater, Kansas review
Kansas City Star

16 December 2009
Marc-André Hamelin revives Alkan in San Francisco
Los Angeles Times

25 July 2009
Hamelin knows no style limits
Chicago Sun Times

16 June 2009
Pianist Hamelin lives up to the buzz
The Boston Globe

22 May 2009
An appreciation written by Henry Fogel, from his blog
On the record

10 April 2009
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin Ably Fills In at Strathmore, Plays Haydn and Debussy
The Washington Post

1 November 2008
Pianistic Feats, From Takeoff to Landing
The New York Times

15 Feb 2008
Exploring Influences And Finding Inspirations
The New York Times

Jan - Feb 2008
Alkan: Solo Piano Concerto. Troieme Recueil de chants
Fanfare

29 Jan 2008
Hamelin takes his piano off-road
The Boston Globe

6 November 2007
Trading Arcana for Haydn
The New York Times

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