r e v i e w s

"Pianist reaps thunderous applause

(...) Park already stands among the top virtuoso performers. This much is evident from his highly complex programme ranging from the Baroque suite to a brilliant series of 19th century Variations. Watching the German-Korean pianist's  facial expression as he gallops through this demanding soloistic course, the emotional adventures he must be enduring are barely perceptible. Park appears calm, concentrated, focussed on the essence of the music.

 

His performance blazes and glitters. With Beethoven's depression he falls and with Stravinsky (Petrushka Dances) he promenades magnificently through theatrical tableaux. The emotive scenes in Bach's French Suite No. 2, Ludwig van Beethoven's Sonata No. 7 op. 10/3, Stravinsky's Movements and Johannes Brahms' crowning Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel all arise from Park's affinity with both composer and composition. He refrains from interposing himself between the two as an interpreter, instead serving the piece. An impressive achievement.

 

Following six sparkling and enjoyable movements of Bach, he plunges into the depths of the fateful moments of Beethoven's biographical work, structuring the performance as a tragic call-and-response dialogue. His Stravinsky “dances” through the musical carnival and his Brahms demonstrates the fullest range of the grandiose Variations.

 

There was thunderous applause. Park, a student of the Russian and German schools, responded with a Beethoven movement. What an impressive performance!"

 

Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 23.05.2016, Hans-Jörg Loskill

Klavierfestival Ruhr

 

"Exceptional young pianist reaps bravos

 

(…) Christopher Park then presented the tumultuous and compositionally experimental one-movement Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat major by Sergei Prokofiev in his “wild youth”. Park's youthful freshness, paired with his mature and well-versed technical prowess, seemingly allowed him to approach these dizzying virtuosities with a mature outward calm.

 

Nonetheless, in places he turned up the tempi so high that conductor Ishii, soloist and orchestra had to focus on staying together. Park placed fascinating highlights, perfectly drew out marginal tones and figures, kept an eye on the poetic structure of the piece and created an improbably energetic pulling force. As the chords and octaves piled up, requiring the full breadth of the keyboard, Park himself had to shift up and down the piano stool.

 

There were prosaic cadences with many bold leaps. Time after time Park structured his performance with individual rubati, thus holding the tempo again. Never primitive or brash, his tone was convincing and melodic with sophisticated technique. Even the tiny island of intimate lyricism in the middle section lost nothing to the full percussive tone. The concert hall clamoured and celebrated with bravos and stamping applause.

 

The second half of the concert belonged to George Gershwin as Christopher Park here proved himself to be a suitably easy-going virtuoso with the Rhapsody in Blue for Piano and Orchestra. This jazzy symphonic number was opened there and then by the popular clarinet glissando, joined by the muted trumpets and the brass section before the soloist, confident in the style, gave free rein to his enjoyment performing in this orchestral urban jungle. The audience applauded him in an particularly animatedly fashion. He selected a slow movement from a Mozart Sonata as an encore, touching on the classical side once more. (…)"

 

Volksstimme, 15.06.2015, Ulrike Löhr

Theater Magdeburg

 

"A pianist like a thunderbolt

 

In concert with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, Christopher Park drew the audience under his spell with an intensely personal interpretation of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto.

 

He captivated the concert hall within the first few bars. Indeed, the powerful tones in the lowest registers, placed like hammer blows, are surely fitting at the beginning of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto. Yet beyond Park's pure dexterous force, it is immediately clear that what is about to follow is no conventional performance of late Romantic virtuoso repertoire. To the audience's surprise this young man with dark black hair, walking onto the stage and greeting the audience with such a friendly and humble smile, would over the course of the following 35 minutes produce a highly individual and enormously self-assured interpretation. The composition itself disappeared almost completely behind the pianist – Christopher Park's performance appeared invented, as though improvised in the joy of the moment.

 

As he drove fortissimo into the keys, the Steinway was never metallic, instead producing a pleasing and hugely convincing sound. And as he pulled back in the quiet passages, he became a piano-whisperer, turning up the intensity but never forfeiting that stupendous fullness and fascinating multicoloured tonal quality."

 

Tagesspiegel, 22.05.2015, Frederik Hanssen

Berliner Philharmonie

© 2015 by Christopher Park