Simon Trpceski

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Concert Reviews 2012


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Tchaikovsky Follow Up

Penn Square Post,

By Curtis Rittenhouse

We at the Post have learned that Simon Trpceski, the commanding soloist from The New York Philharmonic’s summer All Tchaikovsky concerts, will be recording the Tchaikovsky Second this September and has just committed the First Concerto which he played earlier in New York to record, hopefully for a Fall release. Both releases should be eagerly anticipated by anyone who loves this composer, and it is hoped the Third Piano Concerto, Concert Fantasia will be added at some future date…

… With a pianist like Trpceski whose technique and temperment are so aptly suited to this composer in the recording studio these days, it would be a great opportunity squandered not to have him record the Concert Fantasia and both Opus 75 and 79 so listeners and admirers of Tchaikovsky can judge for themselves. Avie or EMI, where are you?


Bramwell Tovey and the New York Philharmonic in Tchaikovsky Summer Classics

Bachtrack, July 12, 2012

by Alan Yu

… The lesser-known and quirky Piano Concerto no. 2 in G major was a special treat. It was clear from the beginning that Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski was an equal partner to the orchestra, confidently tackling the fiendishly difficult solo parts without being overwhelmed. He kept us on the edge of our seats with nerve-wracking intensity which was also highly sensitive in the right places.

For the slow movement (based on the edited version by Alexander Siloti) Associate Principal Cello Eileen Moon moved across to an empty seat left of stage in front of the conductor for the extended piano trio. The lulling tone brought out the best of the dreamy melody, suggesting parallels with Brahms’ double concerto. As the last notes in the vivacious final movement died down, a lady in the front row offered the soloist a red rose, in return for which we all benefited from an encore of Tchaikovsky’s Old French Song


Summering with Tchaikovsky

Penn Square Post,

By Curtis Rittenhouse

… Trpceski, one of the most impressive pianists before the public today, was all piston-like fingers and accuracy in the bravura second piano concerto, surely the center piece of the night. He tossed off the formidable challenges of this flashy and splashy solo part with just the right blend of showmanship and romantic ardor. The highlight of the piece is the chamber-like second movement with solo violinist and cello accompanying the piano soloist which Siloti shortened, no doubt to the relief of many piano virtuosos otherwise fond of the music. I have heard the original version  the composer wrote performed in concert by Steven Hough and, yes, in the middle movement, the soloist sits there like part of the audience admiring the lyric beauty of the solo string playing before entering the fray…


Tchaikovsky, Trpčeski, and the NYPhil

OPERA OBSESSION, July 11, 2012

By Lucy

Had it not been for the prospect of hearing Simon Trpčeski play Tchaikovsky's second piano concerto, I might have given the Philharmonic's last "summertime classics" concert a miss. As it was, I went, marveled at Trpčeski's performance…

… The second piano concerto made a welcome change to the abstract and virtuosic, and was given with no less gusto. (I sometimes forget Tchaikovsky's enthusiasm for noise.) After some opening remarks by Tovey on the piece's structure, they were launched and away, and it seemed that Trpčeski scarcely paused for breath during the first movement. After about five minutes, I found myself quite literally open-mouthed. Trpčeski's facility was astonishing; he not only dispatched credulity-defying runs, but created interesting variations in tone and dynamics while doing so. (At one point, with his hands positioned close together, his left seemed almost perpendicular to the Steinway's keys. Another point of interest to me was that Trpčeski often played from the first knuckle. Extraordinary.) The slow movement offered a welcome opportunity to savor more leisurely--and exquisitely beautiful--phrasing. Hearing how the orchestra and soloist brought together the themes of the concerto in the final movement was to me viscerally exciting…


The NY Philharmonic's Little Tchaikovsky Festival

By Arthur S. Leonard

… In last night's performance, pianist Simon Trpceski collaborated with Tovey on a very energetic reading of the outer movements and a raptly beautiful exploration of the foreshortened Andante non troppo.  (I'm not quite sure what "andante non troppo" means as a tempo indication; I hope Tchaikovsky left metronome indications.  This is about as puzzling as Schubert's indication of "Molto Moderato" on his B Minor Piano Sonata, an indication that has always struck me as so uninformative as to allow pianists to treat the movement in vastly different ways.)  Trpceski seemed to have matters well in hand in this notorious knuckle-buster, but I found the performance of the first movement to be almost too clinically clean in its approach.  The finale, on the other hand, really won me over with its uninhibited exhibitionism.  I hope Trpceski gets to record this piece some day.


No, Not That Concerto

New York Philharmonic Plays Tchaikovsky at Avery Fisher Hall

The New York Times, July 8, 2012

By Vivien Schweitzer
… The piano part is a strenuous workout for the soloist. Mr. Trpceski admirably conquered its myriad technical difficulties, which surpass those of the First Concerto. He played with virtuoso panache in the many bravura passages and with an elegant touch in more introverted moments. The orchestra performed with verve and a suitable sense of grandeur, but the piece, full of bombastic flourishes, lacks Tchaikovsky’s trademark melodic flair, and it sometimes sounded like much ado about nothing…


33-year-old native Macedonian Simon Trpčeski seemed made-to-order for this piece 

NUVO – Indy’s Alternative Voice, May 21, 2012

By Tom Aldridge

… Not only did his fingers sail through the intricately rapid passages of the first movement with aplomb, but he made the finale's headlong rush articulate, convincing - and brief. Conductor and soloist seemed of a mind, not only in these splashy movements but in the quite contrasting, rather unadorned slow movement that not only continues in a measured triple meter, but looks back, from the aging Ravel's perspective, to earlier times - and earlier slow movements…


Trpčeski gave a suitably virtuoso rendition of Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto

Seen and Heard International, May 8, 2012

By Geoff Diggines

… There were plenty of dramatic gestures and some effective rubato, totally in keeping with the work. But Trpčeski never indulged in the kind of over-pedalling we sometimes hear in Liszt. Jordan and the orchestra were on very good form and provided the pianist with convincing accompaniment. Indeed, at times there was  a real rapport between soloist and conductor, exceeding ‘mere’ accompaniment. The transition from the opening Adagio sostenuto assai, with its bass growlings and dotted rhythms was particularly arresting, as was the Allegro agitato, developing into a 6/8 gallop in E flat minor. The central and contrasting Allegro moderato, an idyllic nocturne evolving from the concerto’s opening theme, sounded particularly rapt and poignant. The Marziale un poco meno, with its stomping brass rhythms, had the right sense of developing from the brooding opening theme. And the Allegroanimato lead-up to the brilliant coda was executed with scintillating energy…


Philharmonia Orchestra – Simon Trpčeski plays Liszt

Classical source, May 3, 2012

By Douglas Cooksey

… Better was to come with the Liszt piano concerto. If one can’t have one of the really great Liszt interpreters of a past generation – such as Richter, Curzon or Arrau – then the personable Simon Trpčeski was in many ways the ideal man for the job. He relished the concerto’s technical demands, gloried in the music’s overt theatricality (extending its pauses to fine effect) and left us hanging on every note. The duet with cellist Timothy Walden had rare subtlety and finesse and the rambunctious sprint to the finishing line had real exhilaration and dash, although at this point the brass could have been more brazen. The unusual encore – a transcription of a Macedonian piece originally composed for the accordion – was shared with the Philharmonia’s excellent leader Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay…


Rollercoaster ride of colours and emotions

Gloucestershire Echo, May 03, 2012

Town Hall, Cheltenham

By Jill Bacon

… Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski gave an astounding performance of Liszt's Piano Concerto No 2. With Philippe Jordan at the helm a glittering and blazing partnership between pianist and orchestra wowed the concert-goers into stupefaction. Every nuance, octave and chordal scale passages, tempo and variations became pure magic at the fingers of this gifted soloist.

In response to deafening applause the generous and warm-hearted Simon shared his encore with the leader of the orchestra Zsolt-Tihamer Visontay.

Playing the jazzy/folk-infused Dancing Fantasy by Macedonian accordionist Kocho Petrovski arranged by Damir Imeri the violin and piano captured the spirit of this south Balkan region.

Jubilations indeed for audience and performers…


Susanna Mälkki Continues Seattle Survey of Dutilleux

Seen and Heard International, April 24, 2012

By Bernard Jacobson

… Even Ravel’s G-major Piano Concerto, by contrast with his dramatic and saturnine Left-Hand Concerto, is essentially entertainment music, and it entertained mightily in a fleet-fingered performance by soloist Simon Trpčeski. The young Macedonian’s pleasantly relaxed platform manner was matched by his musical acumen. Appropriately brilliant in the almost circussy outer movements, he phrased sensitively in the central Adagio assai, where Stefan Farkas also contributed a caressing english horn solo.

Before intermission, Trpčeski had also offered the U.S. premiere of a short piece by his compatriot Damir Imeri. The 51-year-old composer’s Fantasy on Two Folk Tunes proved to modestly charming listening. In terms of thematic material and formal design, it does not amount to much more than “one thing after another,” with the frequent intervention of stop-and-go pauses, and there is something of an emotional disconnect between its cavorting solo part and orchestral writing of a frequently darker hue. But the pianist obviously enjoyed playing the piece as much as the audience, to judge from an enthusiastic ovation, enjoyed listening to it…


Pianist Simon Trpceski, conductor Susanna Mälkki light up SSO

The Seattle Times, April 21, 2012

By Melinda Bargreen

… Pianist Simon Trpceski played Damir Imeri's "Fantasy on Two Folk Tunes" with obvious enjoyment Thursday, April 19, with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, led with grace and precision by guest conductor Susanna Mälkki.

It has been almost 10 years since the pianist Simon Trpceski made his Seattle Symphony (and U.S.) debut and catapulted into the top ranks of this city's favorite keyboard artists. Now an international star, Trpceski cheerily addressed Thursday night's Seattle Symphony audience from the stage, telling them how glad he was to return to Benaroya Hall.

The young Macedonian went on to introduce the U.S. premiere of the "Fantasy on Two Folk Tunes" (for piano solo and orchestra), by his countryman Damir Imeri. Seldom has a premiere been played with such obvious enjoyment: Trpceski sang along with one of the folk tunes as he played this dashing and colorful score.

That wasn't all: Trpceski also was the soloist in the Ravel G Major Piano Concerto, a jazzy and cheeky work that has all the insouciance of Paris in the late 1920s. He played with an almost explosive energy in the opening Allegramente movement, but the slower second movement emerged as a quietly private reverie — all graceful touch and wistful melody. (Stefan Farkas' English horn solo, which later took over the same melody, was remarkably good.) The finale went like a rocket, propelling Trpceski to his feet after the final chords.


A Bouquet of French Favorites at the Seattle Symphony

The Sun Break, April 21, 2012

By Dana Wen

… Brilliant pianist Simon Trpčeski, a perennial Seattle favorite, joined the orchestra for Ravel’s Piano Concerto and the U.S. premiere of a work based on folk tunes from Trpceski’s native Macedonia.

… Trpčeski took the stage to introduce “Fantasy on Two Folk Tunes”, a piece for piano and orchestra by Damir Imeri, a young Bosnian-Macedonian composer. Written just last year and dedicated to Trpčeski, this work incorporates the melodies of two traditional Macedonian folk songs. Reminiscent of the music of Béla Bartók, who also used folk tunes in his compositions, Imeri’s piece blends traditional melodies and rhythms with a contemporary orchestral sound. Despite the occasional schmaltzy moment in the string section, the work was a skillful weaving of piano virtuosity with orchestral color.

Full of smiles and boyish energy, Trpčeski returned to the stage for Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major, diving into the playful first movement with enthusiasm. The orchestra responded energetically with outstanding section and solo playing, including the jazziest bassoon I’ve ever heard, courtesy of principal Seth Krimsky. The contemplative second movement occasionally lagged in energy, but Trpčeski perked right up for the speedy final movement, creating a sparking tone even in the most rapid and difficult passages.


St Peterburg Philharmonic Orchestra, at Symphony Hall

Birmingham Post, Mar 30 2012

By David Hart

… Simon Trpceski certainly made one wake up and listen in the concerto – both to his glittering passagework with every note focused in high definition relief, and his finely sculpted cantabile, which alternated between glowing richness and rippling delicacy.

Indeed, it was a performance full of contrasting mood and colours (such dark-hued strings at the start, and a Finale that unfolded in a wait-and-see fashion before ending with all guns blazing), where soloist and conductor often exchanged smiles, and in the Adagio Trpceski quietly accompanied the fabulous woodwind solos before taking over when it was his turn…


Macedonian Pianist Provides High Voltage Saint-Saëns

Seen and Heard International, March 28, 2012

By Michael Cookson

… Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski, a regular collaborator with Petrenko, was on fine form entertaining the audience with a high-voltage performance and a touch of swagger too. Trpčeski was authoritative right from the opening cadenza of the weighty first movement, and the entrance of the orchestra was striking. In total command Trpčeski told a passionate story with such expressive playing. Lyrical and good humoured the inventive central Scherzo sounded marvellous and was marred only by a couple of untidy moments of indecision between soloist and orchestra. Vivaciously up-beat the carnival-likefinale with its tarantella rhythms was a splendid showpiece for the Macedonian’s brilliant if rather showy technique. How the audience loved Trpčeski’s performance and they were treated to an encore for piano, violin and cello called Dancing Fantasy (I think!). Jaunty and unsophisticated this arrangement of an accordion piece included shouting and stamping which only added to the fun.


Heavens in harmony with sublime playing

The Daily Telegraph, March 26, 2012

… So what a treat it was the other day to attend a magnificent piano recital held in our parish church in Claygate, Surrey, just a five-minute walk from home. The local music society had achieved the astonishing coup of luring the hot young Macedonian pianist Simon Trpcˇeski to perform the same recital he was to play the following day at the Wigmore Hall. The Telegraph’s own Geoffrey Norris has praised this pianist to the skies: “It is not simply that Simon Trpc˘eski has a phenomenal technique. Crucially he has the musical intelligence to know how to apply it and at the same time can convey such joy in doing so.”

All these qualities were in evidence at Holy Trinity Church, and the audience was spellbound by his programme of Schubert, Bach and Liszt. There is nothing show-offy about Trpc˘eski’s modest platform manner, just a sense of complete command, understanding and enjoyment.

Listening to him I was reminded of a wonderful remark by Alfred Brendel. “What is piano playing of genius?” he asked. “Playing that is at once correct and bold. Its correctness tells us that’s how it has to be. Its boldness presents us with a surprising and overwhelming realisation: what we had thought impossible becomes true.”


Simon Trpčeski Returns to Wigmore Hall

Seen and Heard International, March 25, 2012

By Colin Clarke

Back in 2001, my colleague Marc Bridle described Simon Trpčeski’s Wigmore debut with enthusiasm. Much water – and many concerts – has gone under the bridge since then, and Trpčeski has created a major international career for himself. The present recital will be released in the Wigmore Live series on CD (presumably with a small amount of touching up – the occasional note in the Schubert did not speak, for example).

Still, the recital began happily enough with Schubert’s delightful D783 set of German Dances (1823/4). Limpid minore playing contrasted with delightful flourishes. A perfect hors d’oeuvres before the main course of the first half, the ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy, given one of the most intelligent performances I have ever heard live. The slow two-in-a-bar for the opening enabled the semiquavers to speak, and Trpčeski’s clear intention to let Schubert’s counterpoint blossom was a revelation. Trpčeski clearly speaks Schubert’s language – the desolation of the Adagio was palpable, its underlying unrest perfectly projected and all the more disturbing for being held in the background. Speed characterized the final two movements. No problems of technique here, and yet the pyrotechnics never sounded un-Schubertian. Superb.

Initially the Bach/Liszt Prelude and Fugue was to end the first half; Trpčeski changed this so that the second half was all Liszt in some form or other. The grandeur of the Prelude to the A minor Fugue was palpable; alas, textures could tend towards overload in the fugue. Intelligent programming, too – the move to pure Liszt brought two more reflective pieces pitted against the extravaganza of theHungarian Rhapsody. The eloquence of the lines of the Petrarch Sonnet and the superbly even, tonally beautiful playing of Les Jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este were much more than a warm-up, reminding us of Liszt’s depths (much as Pollini tends to schedule late Liszt immediately preceding his performances of the B minor Sonata). Trpčeski gave the music plenty of space to speak before delivering a Second Hungarian Rhapsody that was the very antithesis of Lang Lang’s glittery way with this piece. Not for one second was Trpčeski hackneyed, and not for one second was there a hint of this being an inferior piece, a mere pot-boiler.

Encores were fairly brief and included the last of Chopin’s Op. 24 Preludes. A memorable evening.


Hearty homecoming

The Bay Area Reporter, March 01, 2012

by Philip Campbell

The pianist supplied all the showmanship required to sell the composer's challenging score. The Macedonian virtuoso also gave an encore, prepared with concertmaster Alexander Barantschik, Dancing Fantasy by Koco Petrovski, arranged by Damir Imeri. Trpceski introduced the American premiere with an acknowledgement of his love for accordion music and a shout-out to the Romanian girls he has met in San Francisco. It was unexpected but thoroughly amusing…


Simon Trpčeski plays Liszt & Schubert in Zankel Hall

Classical source, February 27, 2012 

By Lewis M. Smoley

Trpčeski’s musicianship combines dazzling technique with delicate expressivity. He plays challenging pyrotechnical passages aggressively and with flaming intensity, imbues powerful themes with granite-like monumentality, and permeates lyrical melodies with warmth and charm. The first half was devoted to Liszt, beginning with his transcription of Bach. A straightforward opening of the Prelude became increasingly free flowing and demonstrative, and clarity of line and aggressive force dominated the Fugue, leading to a deluge of complex rhythmic figuration rushing onward like a tidal wave. Trpčeski began ‘Petrarch Sonnet 104’ rather stiffly, but he swept through the closing section with vibrant fervor and impressive dexterity, although not always note-perfect. His graceful treatment of the charmingcantabile theme was captivating.


Trpčeski brings thrilling bravura and intellectual depth to Liszt and Schubert

South Florida Classical Review, February 26, 2012

By David Fleshler

Two days before his Carnegie Hall debut, the remarkable Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski previewed that program at the University of Miami’s Gusman Hall, an event presented by Sunday Afternoons of Music.

His choice of works Saturday night consisted entirely of Liszt and Schubert, two composers as far apart as you could get in musical sensibilities: one the dashing Mephistopheles of the piano whose recitals inspired women throughout Europe to faint, the other the honest musical artist who poured forth a stream of masterpieces from his modest rooms in Vienna.

At a time when a new virtuoso of the decade seems to emerge every season, Trpčeski is a genuinely unusual talent. His tone at the keyboard is uniquely his own, assured and articulate, yet with a velvety touch that takes on the most difficult, rapid flights of virtuosity without a trace of brittleness. His technique was top-notch, effortless yet without the feeling of detachment that comes from some performers who have mastered their instrument.


Trpceski evokes high spirits

SF Gate, San Francisco Chronicle, February 18, 2012

There was a lot to savor in Thursday afternoon's wonderfully engaging concert by the San Francisco Symphony, but just for kicks let's begin with the Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski, who followed up his performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 4 with one of the classiest encores of recent memory.

Instead of moving into the spotlight alone with a bit of Chopin or Bach, the way pianists usually do in these situations, Trpceski enlisted concertmaster Alexander Barantschik to join him for the American premiere of "Dancing Fantasy," a jaunty, rhythmically beguiling accordion ditty by Koco Petrovski arranged for the occasion by Damir Imeri.

The joyful energy of the music - and the astonishing fact that Barantschik had worked it up on short order just in case it was called for - only contributed to the high spirits that attended most of the afternoon's proceedings…


Simon Trpceski may be vowel challenged, but he sure can play the piano

SFist, San Francisco, February 20, 2012

By Cedric

He turned in a dry rendition of Rachmaninoff's 4th piano concerto, and we mean dry in a good way: Rachmaninoff can be so gooey in lesser hands. The Fourth concerto avoids the most mawkish tropes of the composer, and Trpceski just found the proper restraint, never engaging in over-the-top lurid lyricism, but always bringing out the appropriate color. Muti-like, in some way. For an encore, he teamed up with Sasha for a lively dance-full duet, Igraorna Fantazija(Dancing Fantasy) by Koco Petrovski (originally written for accordion) and arranged by Damir Imeri for violin and piano, both Macedonian like Trpceski. We needed another new back-to-back-to-back premiere, didn't we…