Bryan Wallick
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Bryan Wallick

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
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"Pianist Bryan Wallick Earns Whistles of Approval at Friends of Music Concert"

A virtuoso pianist has remarkable pulling power in the world of music, and a large crowd turned up at the Durban Jewish Centre for this Friends of Music recital by Bryan Wallick , a young American who is now based in Pretoria and who has built a big international career on the concert platform.

Apart from the regulars, there were many new faces in the audience, and Dr Vera Dubin, the chairman of the Friends of Music, tells me that she has signed up many new members this year. All most encouraging for the future of classical music in Durban.

Bryan Wallick has played in Durban before, and obviously his reputation had preceded him. He presented a virtuoso programme that greatly appealed to the audience. He is a tall, lean man with an admirably natural and unaffected keyboard manner, and he delivered a very taxing programme with aplomb and exceptional skills.

Some experts in the audience thought he had a rather hard tone and that his playing was rather loud. Maybe, but these are characteristics of many virtuoso pianists, and the fact is that the concert was a great success. Not many soloists earn whistles of approval, as Bryan Wallick did.

He opened with Haydn’s English Sonata, in C major, Hob. 16.50, a work that, like most of this composer’s music, is polished, bright and cheerful. It was a delight to listen to, and one wonders why music by this great master is not played more often at concerts and recitals.

This was followed by Schumann’s Etudes Symphoniques, Symphonic Studies, one of the most difficult works in the repertory. Bryan Wallick played this dense, complex music with power, resonance and authority. I liked best the quiet, reflective variation just before the brilliant finale. Debussy’s three Estampes (“prints”) were a strong contrast. They are based on impressions from the Orient, Spain and France, and they displayed the pianist’s skills in quieter music.

The full virtuoso treatment returned in Liszt’s transcriptions of two well-known Schubert songs, Ave Maria and the thunderous Erlkonig, and in Vladimir Horowitz’s arrangement of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15, the one with the Rakoczy March. It appears to be even more difficult than the original and has many “modern” touches.

For encores we had Schumann’s Traumerie (Dreaming), the only really gentle music in the recital, and a whirlwind arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee.

- Artsmart

"Bryan Wallick and the BSO"

Just returned home from listening to Bryan Wallick perform a masterful Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #3 with the Brevard Symphony Orchestra.

The audience applauded his virtuoso piano so intensely and for so long that he relented and served up a little dessert -- a wicked "Flight of the Bumblebee." So fast, his hands were blurs over the keys.

To add to it all, the BSO and conductor Christopher Confessore were in top form as well. Maestro Confessore was pretty happy backstage during intermission. He had just finished their pristine performance of John Adams' "The Chairman Dances." The Maestro told me he had always wanted to perform that work.

What a treat. For audience and performers. - Extreme Culture

"Liberation: Symphony program hails creative freedom"

When it comes to programming, Robert Moody certainly isn't afraid of contrasts.

Take "Shostakovich and All That Jazz," which the Winston-Salem Symphony will present tonight at the Stevens Center after offering it there Sunday afternoon. Moody, the symphony's music director, has paired Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10 in E Minor with Gershwin's Concerto in F, having engaged Bryan Wallick, a stellar pianist, as the soloist in the latter. I can't think of two pieces that sound less alike.

Shostakovich's symphony ends in an optimistic manner -- but only after giving us measure after measure of dark, serious, innovative and sometimes brutal sounds. It was premiered by the Leningrad Philharmonic in 1953, shortly after Stalin's death; it thus reflects the fact that "a slight liberality (had) ensued" among the Soviet censors, David Levy writes in program notes. Moody, in remarks to the audience before Sunday's performance, said that we can feel "the maniacal manner" in which Shostakovich is letting go of limitations imposed on him.

The Gershwin concerto, on the other hand, seems to abound in nothing but optimism. It affirms the idea that jazz can find a home in any environment of its choosing, and it invites us to relish everything from toe-tapping rhythm to the most haunting of blues sounds.

So what is one to make of what Moody called this exploration of creative freedom? I think it's that creative freedom takes many different forms. When it's allowed to flourish, we should embrace the results, particularly when they're expressed with the kind of musicianship on display Sunday afternoon.

Wallick owned the Gersh­win, investing every bar of it with just the right feel of verve and spontaneity. He and Moody inspired the orchestra to swing joyfully along -- which seemed only natural, given how many players are also proficient in jazz. Trumpeter Anita Cirba shone during the extended bluesy introduction of the middle movement.

The finale emerged with uncommon drive and energy.

As for Shostakovich's symphony, the orchestra's highly focused performance revealed a sound world that both roused us with its grandeur and impressed us with highly creative combinations of instruments.

- Winston-Salem Journal

"Philharmonic Pianist Stellar on Brahms Piano Concerto"

I am not a pianist, and I am unqualified to discuss the fine points of virtuoso piano technique. I only can describe what I see and hear, and what I saw and heard at Saturday evening's concert by the Evansville Philharmonic was impressive indeed.

Brahms and Wallick

Pianist Bryan Wallick brought both an impressive resume and a simply stunning performance of Brahms' First Piano Concerto to The Victory and brought the crowd to its feet.

(Of course, the Evansville standing ovation is routinely given to every performance of everything, but Wallick DESERVED it!)

This has never been a favorite piece of mine, but I may have been converted.

Not usually a big enthusiast for concertos of any kind, this was really the first good listening I have given this piece as an adult, and Wallick's playing was a revelation.

Very often compared to a symphony, the soloist, until the third movement, is virtually part of the orchestra. It's only in the last movement that Brahms gives the soloist the kind of pyrotechnics you expect in a Romantic concerto.

Wallick made the most of the third movement with astonishing fluency and power, but more pleasing was his flawless integration of his playing with the orchestra's.

If you have read any of my other reviews, you know I dislike hearing the soloist swamped by the orchestra — this was different.

This was a seamless fabric of sound.

Wallick has synesthesia — he sees colors when he hears music — and I would love to know what he saw Saturday evening.

I'm sure it was rich and deep.

- Evansville Courier and Press


Bryan Wallick Plays Haydn, Schumann, Debussy and Liszt (2010)



Bryan Wallick is gaining recognition as one of the great American virtuoso pianists of his generation. Gold medalist of the 1997 Vladimir Horowitz International Piano Competition in Kiev, he has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and South Africa.

Mr. Wallick made his New York recital debut in 1998 at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and made his Wigmore Hall recital debut in London in 2003. He has also performed at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall with the London Sinfonietta and at the St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church with the London Soloist’s Chamber Orchestra.

In recent seasons, Mr. Wallick has performed in the United States with Cincinnati Pops, Evansville Philharmonic, Illinois Philharmonic, Kentucky Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, and the Winston-Salem Symphony; and collaborated with Erich Kunzel, Marvin Hamlisch, Yasuo Shinozaki, Vladimir Verbitsky, Leslie Dunner, Robert Moody, Alfred Savia, and Carmon Deleon among others. Mr. Wallick has performed recitals at the Chateau Differdange in Luxembourg, on the Tivoli Artists Series in Copenhagen, Ravina's Rising Star Series, Xavier Piano Series (Cincinnati), Phoenix Steinway Society Series, Sanibel Music Festival, and the Classics in the Atrium Series in the British Virgin Islands. In March 2002, Mr. Wallick played two solo performances at Ledreborg Palace for HRH Princess Marie Gabrielle Luxembourg, and HRH Prince Philip Bourbon de Parme.

Mr. Wallick’s 2009-10 highlights included performances with the Arizona Musicfest “All Star” Orchestra, Boise Philharmonic, Durban Philharmonic, Johannesburg Philharmonic, and the Winston-Salem Symphony and recitals on the Johannesburg Music Series and the Capetown Music Series. In 2010-11 Mr. Wallick will be performing with the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, Johannesburg Philharmonic, Durban Philharmonic, Capetown Philharmonic, and will play recitals throughout South Africa.

Mr. Wallick has performed on National Ukrainian Television and Radio, on Danish National Radio, on Chicago’s WFMT Fazioli Series, on BBC's radio show "In Tune," and on NPR's "Performance Today." He was recently given a grant by the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts to explore his synesthetic realities in a multimedia project that allows the audience to see the colors he experiences while performing. Synesthesia is the ability to experience two or more sensory experiences with one stimulus. Bryan Wallick sees colors with each musical pitch and has created a computer program that projects images of his colored visions to the audience.

Mr. Wallick studied with Jerome Lowenthal in New York City where he was the first Juilliard School graduate to receive both an undergraduate Honors Diploma (2000) and an accelerated Master's Degree (2001). He continued his studies with Christopher Elton in London at the Royal Academy of Music where he was the recipient of the Associated Board International Scholarship, receiving a Post-graduate Diploma with Distinction, and previously studied with Eugene and Elizabeth Pridonoff at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. George Plimpton's feature article on Bryan Wallick appears in the March 2002 edition of Contents magazine. Mr. Wallick currently lives overseas with his wife and two children.