In the Press
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin delivers technically brilliant, ego-free recital
"With Hamelin, what you get is different — a sober-suited, professorial demeanor at the keyboard, with a riveting focus on the music...In Hamelin’s hands, the 'Appassionata' sounded new-minted and vital. He has the rare ability to sound like he is improvising music on the spot, like the ink is still drying on the composer's manuscript. The explosive contrasts of dynamic in the opening movement had the shock of the new about them, forcefully suggesting a composer searching out new possibilities of emotional expression."
– Terry Blain, Star Tribune
Hamelin, and Dancing Rhinos!
"The last movement [of Beethoven’s Appassionata] was, in a word, thrilling. How could Hamelin articulate those mini-arcs of sound with such color, speed and clarity, micro-cushions of time between each note? Mini-arcs became waves, then avalanches of controlled sound, with a tense ebb and flow (drama unfolding) up to an even more exhilarating Presto coda. Amazing stuff!”"
– Jim McDonald, The Boston Musical Intelligencer
A Grand Slam match
of crack pianists
"Two-piano recitals have become increasingly virtuosic. You’re not going to hear it done at a higher level than the Strathmore audience got on Monday night, when the pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-Andre Hamelin, each a draw in his own right, brought their two-piano show, a highlight of the season at several venues around the country, to Washington Performing Arts....Andsnes and Hamelin offered the equivalent of a Grand Slam tennis match – not in the sense of a rivalry, but in the sense of a meeting of two champions at the top of their game, each pushing the other to do their best."
– Anne Midgette, The Washington Post
Andsnes and Hamelin
make a most compelling piano duo
"The judiciously balanced Hamelin and Andsnes struck sparks off one another to produce an astonishingly clean yet tremendously exciting performance...Naturally the auditorium exploded into a resounding standing O."
– John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
Review: 2 superpowers of the piano join for Seattle recital
"Both artists [Marc-André Hamelin and Leif Ove Andsnes] are at the top of their field… together they make an imposingly unified team... The duo’s conclusion, “The Rite of Spring,” was a knockout: the simplicity of the two introductory sections, the elemental power of the explosive accents, and the rhythmic excitement of two keyboard superpowers bringing this great score to vivid life."
– Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times
The mesmerizing partnership of Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-André Hamelin at Wigmore
"Andsnes and Hamelin illuminated Debussy’s textures with great finesse, drawing out the work’s many allusions, quotations and distant gunfire... The Wigmore audience erupted at the end."
– Harriet Smith, The Financial Times
Leif Ove Andsnes/Marc-André Hamelin review – irresistible power and superb team
Oregon Symphony, Nicholas Carter, and Marc-André Hamelin collaborate in an exhilarating ride from the heroic to the monumental
"Hamelin was irresistible, sweeping Mr. Carter and the orchestra along with him to the crashing, triumphant coda, at which the audience rose in a shouting, standing ovation. It was easy to imagine this performance on an equal footing with Rachmaninov’s own favorite, when he played the concerto in 1909 with the New York Symphonic Society under no less a musician than Gustav Mahler."
– Terry Ross, Oregon Artswatch
Hamelin honored with heroic embrace at SummerFest
"Hamelin is that Superpianoman. No scale is too quick, no fingering too contorted, no counterpoint too dense to deter him. His colossal performances of Alkan and Godowsky have probably done more than any other pianist today to resurrect their music. Hamelin’s prodigious pianism and probing musicality came to Sherwood Auditorium Wednesday evening... It was a heroic journey, and at its quiet conclusion, Hamelin was given a hero’s celebration by the audience."
– Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union Tribune
Album Review: Debussy and Franck with TakAcs Quartet
"Marc-André Hamelin has made a number of outstanding recordings, yet his playing in Franck’s Quintet is in a class apart, captured in sound of almost tactile presence. There are occasions – as in the Molto moderato opening section – when he appears to be merely breathing on the keys, shaping phrases with acute sensitivity to mood and atmosphere."
– Julian Haylock, The Strad
Two Piano Virtuosos Reveal Very Different Musical Sensibilities
"In everything he revealed himself to be a musician's musician, a virtuoso in the most comprehensive sense of the word... With his own pieces — "Pavane variee" and Variations on a Theme of Paganini — Hamelin was, in a sense, channeling the heroic feats virtuoso pianists of earlier generations achieved in their own music. Both works — the first based on a French Renaissance dance, the second on Paganini's famous (infamous?) solo violin Caprice No. 24 — are of transcendental difficulty. They gave his phenomenal technical and pianistic arsenal a grueling workout, and the results were jaw-dropping."
– John von Rhein, The Chicago Tribune
Emotional Depths: Hamelin, Jurowski and the LPO in Rachmaninov and Zemlinsky
"Above all, this was a profoundly musical interpretation, one in which the listener was able to marvel at the sheer detail of Rachmaninov’s compositional magic while revelling in the virtuosic ease that Hamelin brought to it."
– Matthew Rye, BachTrack
Marc-André Hamelin Gradually Ups the Ante at Carnegie Hall
"The esteemed pianist Marc-André Hamelin opened his Carnegie Hall recital on Wednesday evening, after a hero’s welcome from the audience, with Mozart’s unassuming Sonata in C (K. 545)... Mr. Hamelin, having spent much of his early career exploring pianistic showpieces on the fringes of the repertory, has a commanding technique… As in his brilliant recordings of Haydn sonatas for Hyperion, Mr. Hamelin approached the relative simplicities with warmth and affection."
– James R. Oestreich, The New York Times
Prom Review: Marc-Andre Hamelin Dazzles in Ravel's Left-Hand Concerto
"[Hamelin] made a brilliant fist of [Ravel‘s Left Hand Concerto]. Since the work dwells largely in the piano’s smoky lower regions, Hamelin found the ideal touch and tone... his lyrical flights and virtuoso cascades had such richness and amplitude that one completely forgot it was all from just one hand. His two-handed Debussy encore had lovely grace and power."
– Michael Church, The Independent
Prom 36 Review
"The ‘jazz’ was darkly edgy, the Mother Goose-like episodes glinted in contrast and Hamelin’s dexterity was impressive... Hamelin offered an encore that was truly exceptional... This was as delicate as you can imagine, yet carrying effortlessly in the Royal Albert Hall – pastel-shaded, so sensitive, and wonderfully alluring and transporting."
– Colin Anderson, Classical Source
Marc-André Hamelin Connects Past and Present in Kaye Playhouse Recital
"Mr. Hamelin, with his preternatural clarity and control, qualities that in him don’t preclude sensitivity and even poetry, was an ideal interpreter... When the performance ended, and Mr. Wyner was called to the stage, he bowed not to the audience but to Mr. Hamelin, giving gratitude where it was due."
– Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times
"Performing Haydn's Piano Concerto No. 11 in his Cleveland debut, the virtuoso - and the orchestra behind him - was the very paragon of Classical purity, a fount of crisp, sparkling passages. His Adagio was a thing of special beauty. Through him was channeled Haydn himself, engrossed at the keyboard in a moment of profound, personal reflection. Silken phrasing, Hamelin‘s fairy-like touch, and the score‘s own gentle dissonance combined to conjure a musical scene rare both then and today."
– Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer
Will Lightning Strike Twice With Seattle Symphony Soloist?
"Hamelin has a lot in common with the late [Earl] Wild; both are known for a technical finesse that borders on the supernatural... Hamelin made it clear in his Grieg Concerto performance that he brings more than a set of speedy digits to the concert stage. He is an intelligent and thoughtful artist, one who illuminates the tender eloquence of the Grieg as well as the thundering octaves and bravura flourishes. Hamelin’s clarity of touch was especially evident in the first-movement cadenza, which he played with great freedom."
– Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times
Marc-André Hamelin's Extraordinary Versatility on Full Display
"Hamelin is known as a titanic interpreter of late Romantic and 20th-century showstoppers, but the beauty of his Mozart and Haydn shows the extraordinary versatility of his talents: supple, sensitive phrasing, dreamy legato and, always, that golden sound."
– Natasha Gauthier, Ottawa Citizen
Marc-André Hamelin Turns the Keys into Silk at Koerner Hall
"The sensual elements of breeze, vibration, currents and splash were deftly evoked, especially by Hamelin’s magical undulations, so floating it was as if he had turned the keys into silk."
– Robin Roger, Musical Toronto
Marc-André Hamelin at Koerner Hall
"Hamelin exhibited his extraordinary touch... brought more tonal definition to the next piece, a supreme example of impressionism impeccably delivered. It seemed impossible to do what he did, musically making sense of avalanches of chords and arpeggiated passages, balancing dynamics without crossing the imaginary line into gauche or inappropriate."
– Paul Ennis, The WholeNote
Marc-André Hamelin at 92nd Street Y
"Is it possible for a pianist to be too good? If anyone faces jeopardy with that question, it’s Marc-André Hamelin... Outwardly miraculous, beneath the surface it felt as if each note’s every possibility had been considered in advance, then ensconced in a pianism of total authority."
– David Allen, The New York Times
The Oregon Symphony Offers a Piano Genius
"Is there anything Marc-André Hamelin can‘t do at the piano?... He was precise and startlingly bright in the Messiaen, giving no sense of effort in confronting the piece‘s considerable technical demands. In Liszt‘s over-the-top virtuoso showpiece, a set of variations on the “Dies Irae“ cast as a quasi-concerto, he gave the keyboard pyrotechnics their full due while still completely in control of touch and tone throughout, with no slop... [He was] urged to return by a riotous ovation."
– James McQuillen, The Oregonian
DEBUSSY Images Books 1 & 2. Préludes, Book 2
"Marc-André Hamelin’s stature, extraordinary from the start, increases with every new issue. And here in his latest album he subdues his legendary, transcendent technique to convey Debussy’s very essence with a surpassing ease and naturalness... Hamelin’s glistening sonority is flawlessly captured by the Hyperion team. This is a disc to treasure."
– Bryce Morrison, Gramophone
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin Brings Audience to Its Feet
"Two sets of variations penned by Hamelin demonstrated the composer-pianist’s forte for executing arpeggios and complicated runs. Of the two, “Pavane Variée,” a new composition this year, was filled with impossibly difficult counterpoint, yet Hamelin breezed through the runs with no problem."
– John Cutler, The Lincoln Journal Star
Recording of the Month: Inner Worlds Revealed
"[On an Overgrown Path] proves to be a totally compelling experience confirming Hamelin‘s strong empathy for the composer…and the two Schumann cycles here are absolutely magical."
– Malcolm Hayes, BBC Music Magazine
Hamelin Provides the Highlight in Philharmonic Program
"In Franck’s Variations symphoniques for piano and orchestra, Hamelin exhibited spectacular touch, crisp but blooming, tossing off glittering flourishes with ease as well as care. His softer playing was tender, and his phrasing was made supple by tasteful rubato."
– Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review