ACCOLADES

Praise for Frederic Chiu, live in concert and on recordings

Scherzo.es, Spain

"Chiu concluyó aquí su espléndido recital, en el que virtuosismo y sentido se dieron una vez más la mano. Como sucede con los mejores pianistas cuando abordan los mejores repertorios. Inmejorable segunda jornada de las cuatro de este ciclo Prokofiev de la Fundación March.”

New York Newsday, NY, NY

“Every detail - thought through, internalized and spun into golden sound - matters.

 

Evening Standard, London, England

“Call of the Wild Genius – Clearly he has a career as more than a mere concert pianist.”

 

Des Moines Register, Des Moines, IA

“Sold out weeks in advance…Fans cheer return visit by masterful pianist Chiu”

 

Houston Chronicle, Houston, TX

“Chiu consistently sweeps away listeners with his performances of the music of Sergei Prokofiev…His performance was white-hot, both technically and musically.”

 

Danbury News-Times, Danbury, CT

“He is more than a pianist, more than a player of music. Chiu achieved some of the most exquisite pianissimos I’ve heard from any pianist – ever!…Chiu is a distinctive and bright light on the piano scene.”

 

Deseret News, Salt Lake City, UT

“He didn't just play this music; he made it come alive… Chiu made his fingers do the impossible on the keyboard and brought spine-tingling excitement to this piece.”

 

Portland Tribune, Portland, OR

“Chiu puts the focus on the music, not himself… a pianist of uncommon intelligence and dexterity… Chiu's percussive touch turned the piano into a virtual war machine.”

 

Ouest France, Rennes, France

“Chiu is a physical pianist, with colossal energy. Power under control, balanced with an agile flexibility in his playing… Not a minute goes by without something interesting.”

 

Cortez Journal, Cortez, CO

“Chiu leaves crowd spellbound, receives standing ovation”

 

Daily Herald, Elgin, IL

“The concerto demands technical brilliance throughout, but especially in the third movement, performed at a blazing tempo that left the audience breathless at its conclusion.”

 

Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY

“an original player like Chiu can be jarring…He basically nailed it…There was a real sense of freedom and spontaneity in his playing.”

New York Newsday

“[Joshua] Bell and Chiu launched into the familiar Beethoven "Spring" Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano in F Major, Op. 24. No matter how many "definitive" interpretations you may have heard, this one turned each phrase, each note, with the kind of fresh, crisp elegance that might have even gotten attention from the irascible composer himself.

Their kind of music-making, not flashy or precious but oh-so virtuosic, grips the ear with its clarity. Every detail - thought through, internalized and spun into golden sound - matters to them. This small venue captured a chamber-music spirit, that too-often elusive exchange between musicians and listeners.

 

Fans cheer return visit by masterful pianist Chiu

Des Moines Register

"When it was learned that pianist Frederic Chiu would return in February for his third appearance in Des Moines, the Art Center's Levitt Auditorium was sold out weeks in advance. Saturday night's intelligent, intense and spectacularly played recital thoroughly fulfilled all the eager anticipation."

 

Pianist Chiu again proves a Prokofiev master

Houston Chronicle

American pianist Frederic Chiu consistently sweeps away listeners with his performances of the music of Sergei Prokofiev. It was no different at his recital Monday for the University of Houston Moores International Piano Festival Series.…

In the Seventh Sonata, Chiu similarly subordinated instrument and technique to music-making. Many pianists bludgeon the outer movements, especially the Precipitato that concludes the blazing work, but Chiu didn't. His performance was white-hot, both technically and musically.

 

A different sort of pianist

Danbury News-Times

As one who plays the piano, let us say he is more than a pianist, more than a player of music. Chiu is a musician’s pianist.

 

Chiu's recital nothing short of brilliant

Deseret News, Salt Lake City

With a program that can best be described as demanding and innovative, pianist Frederic Chiu made his Salt Lake debut Tuesday evening in the Jeanne Wagner Theatre. Performing only two works — Liszt's "Annees de pelerinage, Deuxieme Annee: Italie" and Chopin's Etudes, op. 10 — Chiu showed his incomparable pianism in a style refreshingly free of theatricality. 

 

Pianist Chiu puts the focus on the music, not himself

Portland Tribune, OR - 01/08/02

Chiu gave a performance on Portland State University's Piano Recital Series Sunday that showed he is a pianist of uncommon intelligence and dexterity. He addresses the piano quietly, preferring a high-backed chair to the usual bench, and he uses few extraneous movements. Chiu has an understated efficiency that focuses attention on the music, not the performer, a difficult and admirable task for a "reinterpreter" of art.

 

Frederic Chiu, pianist of determination

Ouest France

Before taking off for their tour of the United States, the Orchestra of Brittany invited Frederic Chiu to play at The Triangle [in Rennes, France]. Frederic Chiu seems so young, almost fragile, when he slips between the stands of the string players towards the piano! Settled back in his chair, the French-American takes off in the cadenza of the Saint-Saens concerto in G minor. And the lean silhouette suddenly takes on an astonishing density. An introduction like an operatic overture, which sets the scene just before the curtain rises. The orchestra has to be ready at a moment's notice... and fall in step with the soloist. Which is what it did. The most well-known of the five concertos by this French composer has the power, in the hands of Frederic Chiu, to take the breath away from an audience under its spell. Chiu is a physical pianist, with colossal energy. Power under control, balanced with an agile flexibility in his playing. His body serves as launching pad for his interpretation. Each phrase by Chiu is a decision, a choice. The almost euphoric refrains of Saint-Saens' are followed by darkly colored rhythms. Not a minute goes by without something interesting. Frederic Chiu, comfortable in his chair, gives life to a work overflowing with a variety of materials, of forms, in his manner, following his inspiration, all extremely full of life...

 

Chiu leaves crowd spellbound, receives standing ovation

Cortez Journal, CO

…Chiu displayed his virtuosity of both as he moved from the tender heartbreaking melodies that Chopin is famous for to the technical wizardry of rapid-fire octave runs, impossibly fast arpeggios, seamless scales and a fiery brilliance that was able to wake even the soporific 12-year-old seated next to me.

The second half of the evening’s program began with two pieces by impressionistic composer, Maurice Ravel, “Boat on the Ocean” and “Morning Song of the Jester.” Here Chiu wove a spell over his breathless audience with his exquisite use of the damper and soft pedals to paint a palette of tonal colors. Chiu’s fingers flitted like butterfly wings across the surface of the keyboard creating an ephemeral quality of tone that positively shimmered.

 

ESO, Chiu simply wonderful
Daily Herald, Elgin, IL 10/6/03

A commanding artist -- whose fingers were a blur racing up and down the keyboard -- Chiu also proved a fine accompanist, especially in the delicate second movement.

The concerto demands technical brilliance throughout, but especially in the third movement, performed at a blazing tempo that left the audience breathless at its conclusion.

 

Pianist Chiu plays Saint-Saens piece bracingly

Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY

There was also a real sense of freedom and spontaneity in his playing. He can be subjective, and there were times when he seemed to be making the music up as he went along. To some, this may seem inherently erratic and unpredictable. Perhaps - but it was never boring.

Praise for Frederic Chiu on CD

 

In Fanfare

          “This CD is the best of its kind in the repertoire… This is simply playing on an exalted level. (Schubert-Liszt)”

 

In Gramophone

          “Brahms in the Grand Manner”

 

In BBC Music Magazine

          “Chiu is a stunningly virtuosic pianist with a dynamic range that almost defies the capabilities of modern recording techniques…Chiu’s playing is remarkable not only for its dazzling pianism but for the independent and penetrating quality of the mind behind it, though there’s nothing arid or “intellectual” about it. Indeed, its sense of spontaneity is often incandescent…The display of sustained pianistic brilliance explains not only why many performers avoid these pieces, but also why they are perfect material for this remarkable, thinking virtuoso.”

 

In Classic CD

          “Chiu...finds more music in these works than most of his rivals seem even to search for.”

 

In Le Monde

          “One cannot imagine playing more elegant, more refined, more spiritual than Chiu’s.”

 

In Stereo Review

          “Best of the Year”

 

In Le Monde de la Musique

          “Frederic Chiu gives a dazzling lesson in piano playing.”

 

In Le Figaro

          “…incandescent poetry. Frederic Chiu belongs to an extremely rare species, able to fill silence with music”

 

 

In American Record Guide

          "This [volume] must surpass the others. It is inspired programming. Chiu plays with genuine sympathy and a blistering technique when required. The recording is near demonstration quality. This disc I have been replaying for pleasure since finishing the review. What more needs be said." -

 

In the San Francisco Chronicle

          “Chiu makes it clear that the difficulties of replicating an orchestra with only 10 fingers aren't going to daunt him at all.”

 

In The New Yorker

          “Best Classical Albums of 2001”

Chopin – 12 Etudes op. 25, 3 Nouvelles Etudes, Berceuse, Barcarolle, Polonaise Fantaisie – HMU 907282

          “In his sensual, shimmering account of Chopin's Op. 25 Etudes, Frederic Chiu reminds us that while the action of a piano may be percussive, it is at its core a stringed instrument. Phrases are stroked and strummed. Melodic lines sing out as if bowed.” – San Francisco Chronicle

 

Liszt – Années de Pélérinage, Italie - HMU 907623

      “Best Classical Albums of 2001 – The playing of Chiu, a young American pianist long resident in France, is a winning combination of textural clarity, glowing color, and bravura technique.” – The New Yorker

          “Chiu is a fascinating player who consistently delivers even as he promises greater things. The accumulation of detail, wrought by an astounding variety of touch and carried with unflagging élan, flares into radiance.” - Fanfare

          “Chiu gives a sense of sweeping, terrible grandeur that is far more powerful and moving than other, more plainly violent interpretations.” – Barnes & Noble

          “A pianist of Chiu’s talent creates a seamless fabric, letting listeners perceive the full range of the composer’s effects and the inevitability of every note and phrase.” – CNNfn.com

         “I think the piano sound is stunning there…listening to that I felt he was playing just for me, which is exactly what I want from a piano recording…My strongest impression is one of reverence - here's a musician who really respects the spiritual and visionary aspects of Liszt and has the technique to communicate it…For such a young player he has immense powers of concentration, so that even in long phrases like those we've just heard, he maintains a sense of direction…Frederic Chiu - how does he do it? …A very fine disc indeed, full price and well worth it" – CD Review, BBC Radio 3

 

Chopin - Mazurkas - HMU 907247.48

          “Nobody’s else’s mazurkas dance this magically” - Dallas Morning News

          “The Mazurkas sparkle with infectious rhythm. An irresistible album that makes new these works we have often heard before.” - The Commercial Appeal, Memphis

 

Schubert/Liszt - Schwanengesang - HMU 907191

          “The display of sustained pianistic brilliance explains not only why many performers avoid these pieces, but also why they are perfect material for this remarkable, thinking virtuoso.” - BBC Music Magazine

          “This CD is the best of its kind in the repertoire” - Fanfare

          “As a delightful appetizer, Mr. Chiu plays “Die Forelle” vividly conjuring both the feisty fish and its watery home with his fleet touch.” - New York Times

          “For the first time, I didn’t feel “What are these doing, when I can listen to them being sung?” In the case of one or two of them I might even say that I was more moved than I ever have been listening to them being sung.”- Classic CD

 

Chopin - 12 Etudes op.10, 4 Rondos opp. 1, 5, 16, 73 - HMU 907201

          “Like it or not..., this is a disc from which anyone seriously interested in piano-playing could learn. Chiu...finds more music in these works than most of his rivals seem even to search for. He is a lyricist at heart, with an instinct for melodic inflection from which many singers could pick up some valuable tips.” - Classic CD

 

 

Bach/Busoni, Strauss/Schulz-Evler, Wagner/Liszt and other transcriptions - HMU 907054

          “One cannot imagine playing more elegant, more refined, more spiritual than Chiu’s.  In [Schulz-Evler’s Arabeques on the Blue Danube] he plays with more charm, more cunning, more finesse than [Joseph Lhevine and Jorge Bolet].” - Le Monde

 

Mendelssohn - Three Sonatas opus 6, 105 and 106, Rondo Capriccioso - HMU 907117

          “Piano recordings with truly superlative sound are still extremely rare; this is one of the very good ones. Everything is laid out in front of us - Chiu’s exquisitely graded dynamics, his feathery staccatos, his sumptuous legatos, and his fierce, unbroken attention to expressive details.  Disc of the Month”- CD Review

          “I cannot imagine more effective advocacy for any of these works. Chiu makes his enthusiasm for them brilliantly evident in his absolutely wonderful playing, which is instinctively elegant, charged with exhilarating vitality and at the same time unfailingly tasteful.  This is the way to play this music.  Best of the Year” - Stereo Review

 

Rossini - Sins of Old Age, Rossini/Liszt - William Tell Overture - HMU 907102

          “Frederic Chiu gives a dazzling lesson in piano playing.  At once alert and biting, dreamy and poetic, the American pianist finds each time the right tone riding between lordly distinction and elegant salon-style grace.  The William Tell Overture is literally “Toscaninian” in its inspired virtuosity.  Choc ” - Monde de la Musique

 

Reflections - Ravel Miroirs - Decaux Clairs de Lune - Schoenberg Drei Klavierstücke Op. 11  - HMU 907166

          “Chiu is a master of this music, his touch fluid and light, his phrasing articulate, his range of expression incredible in its effortless shifts of dynamics and tempo. This is a rare treat - a program that stands both on the strength of its musical works and on the music’s deeper, inner connectedness.” - CD Review

          “He brings to timbral and articulative counterpoint the same sort of ear and sensitivity of touch that Glenn Gould brought to traditional Bachian counterpoint. Chiu’s Ravel is a miracle and joy to hear…one of the most intriguing American pianists of his generation. Highly recommended.” - Fanfare

          “Chiu is a stunningly virtuosic pianist with a dynamic range that almost defies the capabilities of modern recording techniques…” - BBC Music Magazine

 

Brahms – The 3 Sonatas (with violinist Pierre Amoyal) – HMU 907972

          “The finest French violinist since Jacques Thibaud...sheer tonal enchantment…, partnered in terms of thrilling equality by pianist Frederic Chiu.” – Fanfare

          “Brahms in the Grand Manner” – Gramophone

 

Grieg - 3 Violin Sonatas (with violinist Pierre Amoyal) - HMU 907256

          “This is Grieg at his best. Chiu [is] rapidly becoming one of the finest pianists on the scene today in a variety of repertory.” - CD Now

 

 

PROKOFIEV Complete works for solo piano in nine volumes

(Now available in a special 10-CD package)

 

       “* * * * *  - Chiu’s playing is remarkable not only for its dazzling pianism but for the independent and penetrating quality of the mind behind it, though there’s nothing arid or “intellectual” about it. Indeed, its sense of spontaneity is often incandescent. This is a man who knows exactly where he’s going – and more to the point, where the music is going. The pianism is both breathtaking and extraordinarily subtle, the rhythms buoyant, driving and caressing by turns, but ultimately it’s the particular blend of characterization and structure which lifts most of these performances so far out of the ordinary. The playing lacks nothing in the way of motoric excitement but in many ways it’s far more sophisticated and refined than Prokofiev’s own playing. ” – BBC Music Magazine

 

Volume I - Sonatas 1-4; Volume II - Sonatas 5-7; Volume III - Sonata 8 & 9

          HMU 907197    HMU 907198 HMU 970199

Nine Sonatas for Piano (complete), Prokofiev/Chiu - Lieutenant Kijé - HMU 907086.88

          “Chiu makes the most of Prokofiev’s lyrical muse with his liquid phrasing, his supple rubato, and his rare appreciation of color and dynamics.  A major release.” - Fanfare

          “Diapason d’or”

          “ffff” - Télérama

 

Volume IV - Romeo & Juliet, Cinderella - HMU 907150

          “these clean-lined but highly characterized performances are notable for their unpretentious integrity, for their pure colors, their sensitive dynamics...recommended” - Fanfare

 

Volume V - Sarcasms, Fugitive Visions, Toccata, etc - HMU907169

          “Indeed, much as I’ve admired the earlier installments of this series, nothing in them quite prepared me for the level of invention in his iconoclastic Visions fugitives. A winner.” - Fanfare

          “…incandescent poetry. Frederic Chiu belongs to an extremely rare species, able to fill silence with music…This sovereign balance between intention and realization is a pure delight; it is a rarity for will-power to integrate to such an extent with ingenuity. What results is an tremendous sense of freedom, that of a bird and of youth.” - Le Figaro

 

Volume VI - 6 Pieces Opus 52, Sonatinas Opus 54, 3 Pieces Opus 59 - HMU907189

          “A distinguished addition to an increasingly distinguished series. This is, quite simply, playing on an exalted level.” - Fanfare

 

Volume VII - Tales of an Old Grandmother, Music for Children, Opus 12, Juvenilia - HMU 907190

          "This [volume] must surpass the others. It is inspired programming. Chiu plays with genuine sympathy and a blistering technique when required. The recording is near demonstration quality. This disc I have been replaying for pleasure since finishing the review. What more needs be said." - American Record Guide

 

Vol VIII - Four Etudes op. 2, Four pieces op. 32, Choses en soi op. 45, Pensées op. 62 - HMU 907191

          “Chiu plays everything with considered sensitivity, pushing nothing, not even the most aggressive music, too hard, and with a satin quality to his tone” - **** - BBC Music Magazine

 

Vol IX - Six pieces from Cinderella op. 102, Hamlet op. 77 bis (gavotte nº4), March and scherzo from Love for three oranges op. 33ter, Buxtehude: prelude and fugue, Divertissement op. 43 bis, Lieutenant Kije Suite, transcription F. Chiu, Waltzes of Schubert - HMU 907195

          "exhilarating Prokofiev series...the superior spring of the playing, dynamic nuance and subtle toying with rhythms are obvious. The rest is sheer élan, especially in the brilliantly adapted sisters' quarrels from Cinderella and Chiu's own intelligent homage to Lieutenant Kijé, with superb pianistic handling of the balalaika-thrumming in the famous 'Troika'.” - BBC Music magazine

          “Chiu makes it clear that the difficulties of replicating an orchestra with only 10 fingers aren't going to daunt him at all. But just as impressive is the skill with which he packs the emotional and interpretive qualities of the music into his renditions. The ``Lieutenant Kije'' transcription shows Chiu to be an arranger as resourceful and stylistically attuned as Prokofiev. Best of all are the six pieces from “Cinderella,'' done with lush elegance and the grace of a dancer.” - San Francisco Chronicle

Prokofiev Violin Sonatas (with violinist Pierre Amoyal)

2 Violin Sonatas, 5 Melodies Opus 35bis, March from Love for Three Oranges (arr. Heifetz)

          “The warm, soft-throated lyricism of Pierre Amoyal’s approach is reminiscent of Perlman’s recordings, with the same generosity of tone. Amoyal’s sparkling effervescence [is] laced with a songful purity of tone. Frederic Chiu partners him with great sensitivity, his delicacy of touch apparent throughout. [He] creates a blurred, impressionistic sound-world which does add to its air of exquisite stillness.” - * * * * * - BBC Music Magazine