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Reviews of Michael Arnowitt, Pianist

1. From the Washington Post review of a Michael Arnowitt concert at the National Gallery of Art

This was a special program performed in conjunction with the National Gallery’s exhibit “When Art Danced with Music: Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes.” Some excerpts from the all-positive review:

“A beautifully thought-out program ... He played with an exquisite sense of touch, color and musical imagination.”
“He doesn’t go for cheap effects. He listens intently ... three of Debussy’s Book 2 Preludes trickled off the keys with shadings of dynamics that were almost imperceptible but perfectly satisfying ... his music moves with tantalizing inevitability, and he produces the most rewardingly supple lines.”
“The concert’s smashing finale was a technically brilliant and musically convincing performance of Arnowitt’s arrangement of the first half of The Rite of Spring, an impressive tour de force ... the applause was loud and long.”

Click here to read the complete review of the concert on the Washington Post website

2. From the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs (London, England)

“...full of colour and atmosphere and rhythmically riveting ...”
“...a tour de force of brilliant pianism ... splendidly lucid and responsive performances”

Their complete review of Michael Arnowitt’s compact disc Constellation:

“Michael Arnowitt, the brilliantly talented young American pianist, is founder of the 'Ideational' school of music interpretation, where ‘the elusive search for the unitary, perfect, all-aspects-balanced, homogeneous performance is replaced by a more modest, pluralistic goal. Each performer will highlight a specific aspect of the composer’s craft; a listener will only attain a full understanding of the work by examining many recordings or live performances of the piece, each illuminating a new, previously hidden glory.’ Americans love to intellectualize, and there is a degree of truth here about almost all performances. But Arnowitt declines to practise what he preaches, for this fine music-making is nothing if not all-embracing.

“It was an ingenious idea to assemble a recital based on the fugue in its various forms, and the Bach and Shostakovich examples are given splendidly lucid and responsive performances. Mozart’s Jupiter finale, too, is strong in impetus but laid out clearly in front of the listener, who can certainly examine how it is structured. Milhaud’s ballet, like the Messiaen excerpt, deals with the subject of creation, and both employ a fugal treatment with the listener scarcely realizing it. Arnowitt’s transcription of the ballet sounds marvellous on the piano and his performance, full of colour and atmosphere and rhythmically riveting, is as fine as any orchestral version. The Messiaen too is a tour de force of brilliant pianism.”

[On a scale of one to three stars, the Penguin Guide gave “Constellation” its highest rating of three stars, defined in its legend as:
  ***  “An outstanding performance and recording in every way.”]

3. From a review by the Rheinische Post (Düsseldorf, Germany)

Review of a Michael Arnowitt live performance of the “Latin American Classics” program

“Arnowitt played with a striking virtuosity ... the pianist had deeply internalized the soul and spirit of Latin America, offering a comprehensive performance of the Spanish and Portuguese philosophy of life. From the vastness of the Argentine pampas to the soul of Brazil to the rich tradition of the tango, the passionate musician played with intense feeling ... Arnowitt told the story of a continent through words and music.”

For more information on “Latin American Classics,” click here.

4. From a newspaper article “Michael Arnowitt: Intriguingly Original” written by Joseph Marcello in the Greenfield Recorder (Massachusetts, USA)

“Gentle, almost hesitant of manner, one senses not so much the charisma of the virtuoso as the delicate intensity of a soul whose truest concern was neither himself nor his perceived persona, but the music itself. Michael Arnowitt is a rarity in today’s arts culture.”

5. From a review by Classical Voice of New England (USA)

Review by Paul Orgel of a Michael Arnowitt live performance of Ligeti piano études

“Michael Arnowitt deserves to be far better known. Nothing in his playing is casual; each note has a vibrant, purposeful sound and his extreme rhythmic steadiness, limitless technique, and prodigious explorations of huge portions of the piano literature bring to mind the best qualities of Glenn Gould and Sviatoslav Richter...

“... those who would discover little-known pianists of amazing stature should investigate the concerts and recordings of Michael Arnowitt ... he is the “real thing” and should be given the opportunity to play and record much more. His presence in Vermont (with performances such as the Ligeti études) helps to elevate our classical music scene.”

Testimonials for Michael Arnowitt, Pianist

1. Testimonial of Louis Moyse

(internationally-known flutist and composer; this statement was written when Mr. Moyse was in his nineties)

“During my long musical career, I have met few really great artists in the various disciplines of the field and I am very pleased to name Michael Arnowitt, pianist and musician as one of them.

“Michael combines all the necessary qualifications and qualities to express his art on the highest level. I have great respect for his technical skill, his interpretation and his way to communicate to any audience his feelings through his love for music.”

2. Testimonial of Scott Speck, internationally-known conductor

“Michael is – I can say this without a doubt – the purest musician I know.

“Michael is so much more than a world-class pianist. He’s a thoughtful writer, a fascinating composer, a dedicated community member, a great humanitarian and a supremely sensitive human being.”

3. Newspaper editorial about Michael Arnowitt, “Human Concern,” The Times-Argus (Vermont, USA)

“Not only do Vermonters care about distant places like Guatemala, East Timor and Tibet; they’re also ready to act on their human concern. That spirit of concern was much in evidence on Wednesday night in Montpelier, as concert pianist and social activist Michael Arnowitt organized and played at a benefit concert to aid the victims of the war in Kosovo. Arnowitt has shown once again that his conscience is every bit as impressive as his cadenzas.

“Not only was the concert packed, but the evening raised more than $10,000, and generated a profusion of emergency kits and clothing to help the Kosovo refugees. It’s good to know central Vermonters feel deeply about war and injustice. It’s even better that they can also take action to ease the world’s pain.”

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