Reviews

Violinist Benjamin Beilman Brings Joy to Berkeley Symphony Season Opener

The centerpiece of the program — and the part that will linger longest in a listener’s memory — was Jennifer Higdon’s wonderful Violin Concerto, with the talented young American violinist Benjamin Beilman as the soloist. This was a seemingly perfect combination of material and performers.

Joshua KosmanSan Francisco Chronicle

Review: Man-Made and Natural Music Merge on a Steamy Sunday

Benjamin Beilman was the soloist in an exciting performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Playing with rich sound and plenty of brilliance, Mr. Beilman conveyed both dreamy lyricism and heated intensity.

Anthony TommasiniNew York Times

Pictures at an Exhibition (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

Arguably the finest performance was that of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Violin Concerto by the American composer Jennifer Higdon…Above all, the concerto is a virtuoso showpiece, and proved a magnificent vehicle for the young American violinist Benjamin Beilman. His playing was accurate (in the many difficult fast passages), exciting, astonishing in fact, deeply affecting in the second movement, Chaconni, and exhilarating in the moto perpetuo finale, Fly Forward. It is rare for me to feel the urge to hear the same program for a second time, but I would in this case. Beilman is a star and we will hear more from him.

Phillip ScottLimelight Magazine

Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Benjamin Beilman

There were high expectations for the young US violin wunderkind Benjamin Beilman, one of the classical world’s most rapidly rising stars, making his debut with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. And what he delivered was a simply breathtaking account of Barber’s Violin Concerto.

Technically he seemed to revel in his own immaculate, strongly projected playing, with articulation so sharply etched it was uncanny, especially in the fiendish figurations of the Concerto’s fiery finale. But it was the sophistication of his insights into Barber’s Concerto that impressed the most: he dug deep into the troubled first movement, for example, to convey unflinchingly its turbulent drama and melancholy.

His vibrato was exceptionally wide and pronounced, especially in a slow movement of otherwise noble restraint, but that was in keeping with the Concerto’s golden age origins – and entirely absent from the lightly tripping, period-flavoured Bach Gavotte that he played as a forcefully demanded encore.

David KettleThe Scotsman

Ripples of Laughter at Perelman

He has become an artist of firm ideas expressed with great polish.

Peter DobrinThe Philadelphia Inquirer

Beilman & Tyson (Musica Viva)

Beilman & Tyson is chamber music at its finest: two soloists with unique personalities coming together in performances in which neither voice is subordinate to the other. And yet despite the vibrant strength of each of their musical personalities, the pair play with remarkable synchronicity, joining together to create a vivid and musically exciting performance.

Angus McPhersonLimelight Magazine

Beilman and Tyson Make a Dynamic Duo for Musica Viva

Beilman and Tyson combine beautifully. Their interplay is tight, precise and full of subtlety and like all top-class musical partnerships each seems able to second guess the other...

Steve MoffatThe Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

Benjamin Beilman, jeune violoniste prodigieux

Translation From French: He is a prodigious artist, who combines the gift of utmost sound perfection and a deep, delicate, intense, simmering sensitivity.

Pure and valiant, his performance of Beethoven’s second sonata op. 12, no. 2 is ruthless and impassioned from beginning to end. It’s not so much his superior bowing technique, his laser-like precision, or the breadth of his color palette, but what is most striking is the height of his interpretation, his haughty and unfazed command of the music, his deeply moving sensibility.

With the face of a wise child, the affectations of a well-raised boy, Benjamin Beilman could simply play like an angel. But that would not do justice to his innate primal instinct, this vital urgency that spreads through the finest or most charming sounds and brings a smile to the lips or tears to the eyes.

Marie-Aude RouxLe Monde

Young but Willing to Take On a Challenge

The brilliant young violinist Benjamin Beilman was the excellent soloist in Barber’s ravishing, Neo-Romantic 1939 Violin Concerto. He brought dark chocolate sound and lyricism to his rhapsodic playing and compellingly dispatched the breathless, perpetual-motion finale.

Anthony TommasiniThe New York Times

Some Fresh Faces Add New Energy to Bach

Mr. Beilman was especially impressive, with blazing fiddle solos in the Fourth Concerto and strong playing elsewhere on both violin and viola.

James R. OestreichThe New York Times

From Mystical Bells to a Hungarian Folk Duo, the Joys of the Unfamiliar

But the surprise highlight of the evening came when Mr. Beilman and Mr. Thedeen paired up for a superlative performance of Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello. Here was that elusive unknown unknown: a work that at first glance appeared to be no more than an academic exercise in folk-music transcription yet turned into a riveting drama.

Mr. Beilman’s sound is muscular with a glint of violence; whenever his statements were echoed in Mr. Thedeen’s rich, patrician tone, there were echoes of the archetypal conflict between youth and experience. Other exchanges proceeded in whispers, punctuated by long silences that never got in the way of the urgent, intensely suspenseful narrative drive. In this performance, Kodaly’s Duo revealed itself — who knew? — as a masterpiece of 20th-century chamber music.

Corinna da Fonseca-WollheimThe New York Times

Legendary Conductor Herbig Makes the Most of a Rare Piece

Beilman is a rare and wonderful violinist. He has a quiet singing tone that brought out the graces of the temperamental instrument that had just been placed in his hands. It suited the delicate nature of this concerto, with all its quicksilver, scampering melodies. Beilman also plays with guts, though, when the situation requires it. In the clear acoustics of Kleinhans you could feel the bow dancing across the strings and hear the occasional scrape. It made things thrilling.

Mary Kunz GoldmanThe Buffalo News

Chamber Music Society Magic

They began with Beethoven’s Sonata in D Major, Op. 12, No. 1, in a spirited performance that well-displayed the musical artistry and impeccable technique of both. Beilman draws a deep, velvety tone from his instrument, his vibrato unobtrusive but varied according to the need of the music.Mr. Beilman’s sound is muscular with a glint of violence; whenever his statements were echoed in Mr. Thedeen’s rich, patrician tone, there were echoes of the archetypal conflict between youth and experience. Other exchanges proceeded in whispers, punctuated by long silences that never got in the way of the urgent, intensely suspenseful narrative drive. In this performance, Kodaly’s Duo revealed itself — who knew? — as a masterpiece of 20th-century chamber music.

Philippa KiralyThe Seattle Times

A Romantic Evening

Mr. Beilman, a passionate performer with a deep, rich tone, played the opening melody beautifully as it unfolded over the enigmatic piano motifs.

Mr. Beilman’s bold sound and Mr. Sunwoo’s characterful playing were heard to fine effect throughout the work.

Mr. Beilman sounded in his element during Tchaikovsky’s Valse-Scherzo (Op. 34), nimbly mastering the double stops and other bravura challenges.

The mood turned stormier during Brahms’s Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, given a passionate and expressive performance, with the turbulent outbursts balanced with introspective poise by this youthful, but musically mature, duo.

Vivien SchweitzerThe New York Times

Saying Hello With Youthful Exuberance

Mr. Beilman’s handsome technique, burnished sound and quiet confidence in Mozart’s Sonata in E flat (K. 302) showed why he has come so far so fast.

Unaccompanied, and playing from memory with vigor and unfussy precision, Mr. Beilman brought out rusticity and nostalgia in Prokofiev’s imaginative late Sonata for Solo Violin. Rejoined by Mr. Sunwoo, he closed the concert with another autumnal work, Kreisler’s sumptuous ‘Viennese Rhapsodic Fantasietta,’ providing an affectionate account of Kreisler’s “Liebeslied” as an encore after a robust, prolonged ovation.

Steve SmithThe New York Times

Young Musicians Shine at Terrace Theatre Recital

Thursday’s Young Concert Artists Series recital at the Terrace Theatre introduced a local audience to the latest in this spawn of violin phenoms, the 21-year-old Benjamin Beilman, whose sweet, warm, slightly throaty tone gave considerable pleasure in sonatas by Mozart and Richard Strauss. The illusion of tossed-off ease Beilman created in Prokofiev’s daunting Op 115 Sonata for Violin Solo was mightily impressive — why isn’t this enthralling work programmed more often? — and he found just the right balance of virtuosity, elegance and schmaltz in a pair of Fritz Kreisler bonbons.

Joe BannoThe Washington Post

Young Astral Stars Impress

Beilman played the well-circulated Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in heroically broad strokes…the brain behind the sound burst with ideas, so much that even the most functional passage work was never merely repetitive…The orchestra matched his energy level every step of the way. What a compelling performance.

David Patrick StearnsThe Philadelphia Inquirer

Judging the Winners in a Splendid City

Right off the bat, he played with the first violins [in Haydn’s Violin Concerto No. 1]. He exuded authority with his clean terraced arpeggios, firm flow, depth of expression, and a fabulous Beethovenesque cadenza. His flowing rubato in the Adagio’s elegant Vivaldi-like theme was so natural that Wong didn’t even conduct the pizzicato strings. And his incisive rhythms and pulse in the finale spelled style, style, style. Beilman was clearly having huge fun (the opposite of nerves).

Atmosphere, chilling and gripping, is the quality that Benjamin Beilman conveyed from his opening note in the Sibelius. He also knew how to aim the work; he had a full grasp of his work’s form and forward-moving drama. His rubato had a magical flow. His use of vibrato was varied and deliberate… And, above all, his rhythms and pulse were so absolutely secure that he was the only finalist Wong seemed to connect with… Based just on the finals, I’d have awarded Beilman first prize…

Gil FrenchAmerican Record Guide

Young Violinist Proves a Talent Far Beyond His Age

And what a remarkable sound it was from violinist Beilman. His tone is robust and gutsy, even (I’m not hesitant to say) Heifetzlike, yet his high pianissimos were as fluid as pouring oil. He performed the highly idiosyncratic and demanding concerto with the potency and musical understanding of a veteran.

The slow Adagio di molto glowed with a radiant sheen, while the vigorous final Allegro marched headlong with a frenzied vitality. From what was heard Friday night in Popejoy Hall this young man is truly phenomenal, and given proper promotion (sadly, no “given” in this business), he should go on to a brilliant career. The concert’s title, “Violin Prodigy,” seemed most apropos. Overwhelming applause brought him back to the stage to play the devilishly difficult Paganini Caprice No. 24.

D. S. CraftsThe Albuquerque Journal

Musicians from Marlboro Sails…

By the time the Dvorak E-flat Quintet rolled around, however, the imbalances had been attended to… Beilman, now as first violinist, rose to the occasion and the group offered a reading of this big, luscious piece that was as compelling in its lyricism as it was in its rhythmic incisiveness. The hair-trigger timing of the last movement’s interplay between violin and violas was terrific, with never a hitch in its momentum.

Joan ReinthalerThe Washington Post

Big Win From Curtis in Young Concert Artists Competition

…a poised and monstrously talented 20-year-old violinist…

Peter DobrinThe Philadelphia Inquirer

Performance Marked by Brilliance

Violinist Benjamin Beilman, just 20, walked out onto the stage of the Mary Seaton Room by himself after Sunday’s intermission and really came into his own with a superb performance of Prokofiev’s Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 115.

Beilman’s performance brimmed with warmth and breadth, and did not try to make the music any more profound than it was. The result was a minor triumph.

He was then rejoined by pianist Anna Polonsky in the Wilhelm transcription of Wagner’s seldom-played 1861 “Albumblatt.” Sweet and sentimental, with a mildly agitated midsection, it was superbly played by the duo.

[Hubay’s Carmen Fantasie] is an episodic work that allowed each Bizet theme to have its unadorned moment in the spotlight, then garnished them with rapid spiccato passages, fiendishly difficult string crossings, upper register pyrotechnics, slippery glissando and other technical challenges, all dispatched by Beilman with both ease and finesse. The large audience exploded with applause, shouts and cheers.

Herman TrotterThe Buffalo News

Beethoven at the Mann Center

Every phrase that came from violinist Benjamin Beilman in [Beethoven’s] Romance No. 2 was purposefully molded…Repeated descents into the lower strings not only revealed a distinctive, full-bodied sound but also carried emotional weight…

David Patrick StearnsThe Philadelphia Inquirer

It’s Coming Down to Nuances for Violin Finalists

Benjamin Beilman…made the strongest impression…Haydn’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in C Major showed Beilman’s fitness in a very early manifestation of classical-period writing…The second movement was the high point, as his soaring line was steadily poised…Beilman showed a special feeling for this composer…He did so especially in the first-movement cadenza – a little bit rustic, leavened by an urbane wit typical of Haydn…his sense of style was thoroughly winning.

Jay HarveyThe Indianapolis Star

Violin Prize to American

Beilman’s sleek and elegant Sibelius began as if in another world -mysterious, ethereal, magical -and never descended into cliched gestures or exaggerated displays of power.

Robert MarkowThe Montreal Gazette

The Closest of Calls

It was a performance brimming with imaginative touches and exquisite control of the softer end of the dynamic spectrum. The slow movement [of the Sibelius Concerto] was pure poetry.

Robert MarkowThe Strad Magazine

Beaucoup Plus Qu’un Concours

Translation from French: …there is the promise of a great future for Benjamin ‘beloved-of-the- gods’ Beilman.

Christophe HussLe Devoir

Un Concours d’Envergure

Translation from French: Artist and violin came together in the amazing 20-year-old American, Benjamin Beilman, a sort of spiritual son of Gil Shaham (who share the same pianissimo!)

Christophe HussLe Devoir

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