Critical Acclaim [PDF]

Gramophone, 2017 [PDF]
The Strad, February 2017 [PDF]
Fanfare, November/December 2016 [PDF]
BBC Music Magazine, September 2016 [PDF]
Gramophone, August 2016 [PDF]
Classical Music, July 2016 [PNG]
The Wall Street Journal‎, December 2014 [PDF]
International Piano, March 2013 [PDF]
San Francisco Chronicle Interview 2013 [PDF]
Gramophone, October 2010 [PDF]


"Performed by cellist Ralph Kirshbaum and pianist Shai Wosner, the recording was BBC Music Magazine Chamber Choice in the April Issue. 'These remarkable accounts are sometimes like listening to two people excitedly bouncing ideas off each other,' writes Stephen Johnson."
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE, April 25, 2017
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"Shai Wosner has received accolades for his Schubert. Taking all four impromptus together, I can see why. He has a sure command of the flow of these pieces, an immaculate tone favoring the quiet, and an articulation that is in a class by itself. He takes great relish in the locked-hands staccatos and, in general, likes sharp edges and velocity."
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"This spring, pianist Shai Wosner's latest solo album, Impromptu, is released on Onyx Classics. The recording, which features improvisationally inspired works by seven different composers, marks Mr. Wosner's fourth solo recital recording for Onyx and his sixth recording for the label overall."
BROADWAY WORLD, April 19, 2017
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"The technically superlative Wosner’s intelligent playing made for an engaging pair with Koh."
art blog, March 30, 2017
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"Guest pianist Shai Wosner played less of a role here than in a traditional concerto, but watching him still revealed plenty of moments. The third movement found him playing dry chords with the left hand and dainty, staccato notes with the right, such that it seemed like two pianos. Wosner meshed well with the others in creating color, especially with the xylophone at the end."
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"Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity, and creative insight. His performances of a broad range of repertoire — from Beethoven and Schubert to Ligeti and the music of today — reflect a degree of virtuosity and intellectual curiosity that has made him a favorite among audiences and critics, who note his 'keen musical mind and deep musical soul'"
KUDOS AZ, February 27, 2017
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"But what is sometimes obscured is an underlying sense of journeying that comes from a regular pulse; Shai Wosner's recent account (Onyx, 1/15) is impressive in this regard... And in the peace-shattering outburst, Douglas doesn't reach the same degree of intensity as Wosner."
Gramophone, March, 2017

"Pianist Wosner is an artist who, like all the finest, embodies equal parts head and heart. His opening solo episode in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21, K. 467 was a sparkling display of flawless technique that shimmered with the nuance of moonlight on a rippling lake."
The Columbus Dispatch, February 18, 2017
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According to Wosner, Mozart wrote piano concertos during lulls in his opera career. ". . . (Operas were) the kind of stuff he wanted to do because it was more lucrative and also fit his style dramatically," Wosner said. "Yet, in periods where theaters were closed because of religious reasons around the holidays, he had to come up with an alternative source of income." The result was a set of pieces, Wosner said, "that perfected the piano-concerto genre."
The Columbus Dispatch, February 16, 2017
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"The two Beethoven Sonatas surrounding the Bridgetower Fantasy were played exquisitely by both artists. Wosner's fleet fingers were undaunted by the passagework in either Op. 12 or Op. 47, and his effort to keep the massive sound of the wide-open 9-foot Steinway under control in the dense accompaniment of the later piece was heroically successful."
MASS LIVE, February 5, 2017
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"Wosner injected a furious momentum into the wave-like arpeggios at the start, and played with a thoughtful and sensitive touch during the adagio."
FEAST OF MUSIC, January 20, 2017
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"It’s worth taking time to listen to Beethoven’s five Cello Sonatas in a single sitting, an opportunity this double-CD set by cellist Ralph Kirshbaum and pianist Shai Wosner offers. The playing is probing yet unaffected, thoughtful yet delivered with a simplicity that lets Beethoven’s lyrical succinctness shine through the maelstrom of emotions that flavour the sonatas’ expressive twists and turns. Kirshbaum brings effortless maturity to all these works, supported by the poetic solidity of Wosner’s pianism."
THE SCOTSMAN, January 10, 2017
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"Wosner is an imaginative and often inventive interpreter (he signaled a vein of irreverence right out of the gate by rolling the concerto’s opening chord), and his playing moved with forceful assurance through the finale."
San Francisco Chronicle, December 9, 2016
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"The Israeli pianist Shai Wosner brings his fierce wit and improvisatory spirit to this unusual pairing of Haydn and Ligeti capriccios and concertos. Matched by the equally dexterous playing of Nicholas Collon and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, this record has consistently amused and gratified our staff since it was released in June. Those daunted by the connotation of Ligeti with Kubrick’s psychedelic rendering of space-time may find his playful Piano Concerto a more welcoming introduction."
WQXR, December 1, 2016
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"Wosner is first and foremost an excellent pianist and exceptional musician. By that I mean he offers his own view of even well-known works of music (such as Schubert Piano Sonatas) and presents them in a sometimes provocative yet credible manner... I had a feeling – as I do sometimes when witnessing superb music-making – that I was being led by an excellent and enthusiastic guide who would not only describe to me a picture or sculpture, but would also reveal the hidden details, which otherwise would escape my notice.", October 15, 2016
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"Wosner and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra under Nicholas Collon execute impeccably and with absolutely all the waggishness and spunk and elegance that is required."
Forbes, September 28, 2016
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"It’s the intelligence, perception and dazzling energy of Wosner’s playing that makes all this possible and vivid. A Barenboim protégé, he responds to every twist and turn with a sense of great immediacy as well as an airy, high-stepping poise and unerring pointing-up of Ligeti’s deliciously unpredictable rhythms."
BBC Music Magazine, September Issue, 2016
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"Wosner's performance of Ligeti's Piano Concerto is a wowzer. You ideally need two brains and three hands to play this piece well. Wosner makes it sound easy, the rattling cross rhythms effortless, the sheer musicality drawing you in. Ligeti's spooky second movement contains one of his blackest jokes. Which I won't spoil for those who haven't experienced it, apart from recommending that you crank the volume up and lower the lights.", July 16, 2016
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Pianist Shai Wosner has gained international recognition for his creative insight and broad range of repertoire, ranging from Beethoven and Mozart to Schoenberg and Ligeti. I recently had the chance to talk with him about his new recording (released June 3), which pairs concertos and solo pieces by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and György Ligeti (1923-2006). He is joined on the recording by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, lead by conductor Nicholas Collon.

Take a listen as Shai discusses the challenges of tying together compositions from different centuries, as well as his affinity for the music of Franz Schubert.
Interview with Mike Goldberg (WCVE), June 9, 2016
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"Wosner emphasizes the music’s elegance, recalling the concerto’s Mozartean roots. ...The Jacksonville Symphony provides most of the muscle and Wosner most of the grace. The faux fugue entry of the rondo theme in the strings was a little fuzzy while Wosner’s crystal-like runs are striking. This is great Beethoven playing.", April 23, 2016
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“[Wosner’s] account of the Sonata is magnificent. He responds intensely to the poetry and terror of this extraordinary work, which he allows to speak with all its hesitations, false steps and crazy outbursts.”
BBC Music Magazine, March 2015

“Under Wosner’s impeccable fingers at the command of a supremely musical mind, one can take a classical journey down a road less traveled, without ever wishing for what we are not getting.”
Madison Magazine, Classically Speaking, February 23, 2015
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“Wosner's straightforward playing dispelled any misgivings: He played without anachronistic exaggerations, and with exemplary clarity and precision.”

“Wosner has been winning particular acclaim lately for his performances of Schubert. His encore was a short, late piece by Schubert called ‘Hungarian Melody.’ Wosner caressed his instrument with the most tender and subtle nuancing, demonstrating his integrity in distinguishing between the very different stylistic worlds of Haydn and Schubert. This was a standout case of a concert encore presented with delicacy and truly moving beauty.”
Isthmus, February 21, 2015
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"[The sonata theme quoted in Isabelle Eberhardt] set a tone of concentrated listening that Mr. Wosner sustained beautifully throughout the sonata itself."

"Mr. Wosner’s … achievements [were] transcendent."
The New York Times, January 30, 2015
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“Wosner’s interpretations draw you ineluctably into his own vision … Slightly steadier than the songful Lupu, [Wosner] nevertheless proves himself a Schubertian of real stature.”
Gramophone, January 2015, p. 59

“The pianist Shai Wosner again proves himself a fine Schubertian with a gorgeously phrased and soulful interpretation of the ‘Moments Musicaux’ (D. 780) that traverses the full palette of intimacy and power. He brings similarly vivid contrasts to his elegant, wholly satisfying performance of Schubert’s Piano Sonata No. 20 in A (D. 959), enhanced by his beautifully warm touch.”
The New York Times, January 7, 2015
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“Proven Schubert exponent Shai Wosner extends his credentials in the composer’s intimate and expansive keyboard works.”
Audiophile Audition, December 29, 2014
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“Touch is everything in Schubert. All it takes is the opening phrase of the slightest of his piano pieces to separate the general run of pianists from the truly outstanding. This release from Shai Wosner places the New York-based Israeli pianist indisputably in the second category.”

“Hard to remember when a pianist on record last gave Schubert such personal expression.”
Sinfini Music, December 15, 2014
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“Shai Wosner displayed a glowing touch and spacious phrasing at the piano.”
New York Classical Review, October 22, 2014
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"With the equally impressive Wosner, the ensemble put together a fantastic performance of the piece, full of great dynamic contrast, precision, and tasteful variation in timing and mood, never letting the piece grow dull in repeats"

"Wosner was likewise stunning in the gentler sections, displaying a lovely touch that echoed the candlelight in the room."
Zumic, August 7, 2014
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"In the radiant second movement, they allowed the sound to open up, with Mr. Frost producing a velvet, plush tone over Mr. Wosner’s soft-pawed accompaniment."
The New York Times, August 5, 2014
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"Wosner showed us a gorgeous variety of subtly nuanced touches and timbres in this movement and his articulation was superb."
Seen and Heard International, June 30, 2014
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Shai Wosner was "impressive in an elegant, polished performance of the [Mozart No. 20] concerto."

"Wosner’s playing sounded effortless, and his approach so convincing it seemed inevitable."
The San Diego Union-Tribune, June 22, 2014
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"Wosner gave full voice to the Schubertian world - in particular his elastic sense of time, in which simple musical ideas can balloon to take up vast spaces without losing their identity."

He performed with a "practically flawless balance of clarity and urgency, revealing all the emotional heft that lurks within the music's limpid harmonies."
San Francisco Chronicle, November 20, 2013
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"Pianist Shai Wosner will be bringing a concert of music by (and inspired by) Franz Schubert to Cal Performances this Sunday afternoon. Wosner says he's fascinated by the composer's sense of time, and the way he was able to achieve both intimacy and depth in his works."
Classical KDFC, November 2013
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"The Consolations of a Schubert Sonata Surplus"
The New York Times Arts Beat blog, July 31, 2013
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“[Wosner] plays with lively and wise musicality and achieved a very clean sound on the Steinway piano. Wosner has commanding solo presence but accompanies uncommonly well too. In the slow movement [of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 15] he gave arresting contours to a swirling accompaniment figure, balancing perfectly when he accompanied the strings, had the melody in his right hand in chords, and was accompanying the winds in the tune while the strings played pizzicato.”
Pittsburgh Tribune, March 2013
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“Wosner…is a highly intelligent player in his prime…His feel for keyboard color and voicing is wonderful. The immense dynamic range he displayed in Debussy’s La Cathedrale engloutie” and the sharply etched virtuosity of “Mouvement” (from Debussy’s “Images”) and in two of Beethoven’s Op. 33 Bagatelles will remain in the memory for some time.”
The Washington Post, December 2012
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“In Schubert, Mr. Wosner is not afraid to employ an enormous dynamic range. His pianissimos are uncommonly delicate and beautiful. But when the music moves him, his fortissimos can be steely and terrifying.”
The New York Times, August 2012
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“Wosner brings an uncommonly thoughtful style to this recital of Schubert works that, he point out in well-written liner notes, had their origins in the composer’s rare forays away from his hometown of Vienna. Wosner combines great sound with an incisive grasp of musical architecture in pillars of the Schubert piano repertoire…”
Tampa Bay Times, May 13, 2012
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 “The Six German Dances and Hungarian Melody…are simply delightful: lilting, energetic, and with a sense of intimacy.”
International Piano, January/February 2012

“Wosner voices his own formidably assured and trenchant voice. Whether fiercely energized in the first movement’s propulsion, keeping everything smartly on the move in the second movement…or locating every subtlety beneath the finale’s outwardly innocent sing-a-song-of-sixpence surface, Wosner rivets your attention at every point.”
Gramophone, January 2012
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“…this new [Schubert CD] puts him straight into the front rank of the Schubertians…this music comes across as absolutely freshly conceived as do his evocative liner notes…

“His playing of the German Dances has muscularity and a lovely transparency, while the Hungarian Melody has exquisite songfulness. But what strikes the listener from the first few bars of the Sonata which opens this recording…is the aristocratic grace of Wosner’s tone, and his expressive shades of staccato.”
BBC Music Magazine, December 2011
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“Then Wosner and the orchestra offered a version of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto that was disarmingly intimate. The pianist portrayed the composer as a divided soul, prone to whispers one moment, rumbles of thunder the next, outrage and calm acceptance squeezed beside one another.”
Saint Paul Pioneer Press, May 2011
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“Brahms’ Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel…is a showcase for Wosner’s variety of touch at the keyboard, and for the different musical worlds he creates. It’s more than touch, of course, that makes Wosner so impressive. ”
NPR All Things Considered, December 2010
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This is pianism of the very highest order, involving and full-blooded, with such burnished passion from Wosner that it is a surprise that these are not live performances…In short, a fascinating disc: this is a pianist to watch.
International Piano, November/December 2010
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"This is an inventively conceived and impressive recording.”
The New York Times, October 2010
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"Mr. Wosner gave a lively and sensitive account of the demanding Schubert sonata... Though he took a brisk tempo, his playing was lithe and articulate. The breathless energy of his conception was captivating... The second movement is marked Con Moto (With Motion), and Mr. Wosner played it that way: though he was always sensitive to passages of harmonic and expressive intensity, his ambling pace never allowed the poignancy to take over. He deftly dispatched the feisty scherzo and ended with a supple account of the dancing rondo, played with impressive lightness and clarity."
The New York Times, September 2010
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"In the first movement's big piano solo [Concerto No. 22 K. 482] - meant by Mozart to be improvised by the pianist - guest soloist Shai Wosner slipped in a bit of Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro." Maybe there was some power of suggestion in that, because the whole performance had a tinge of the theater's liveliness. It came through in the first movement's ring and vitality, the second movement's brooding lyricism and the finale's dash. Wosner filled the piano part with light and shade that made everything vivid."
Steven Brown, The Charlotte Observer, March 2010

"In his overdue CSO subscription debut, Wosner showed a remarkable blend of the intellectual, physical and even devilish sides of performance that could lead to great accomplishment. Complexity clearly attracts him, but so does its translation into apparent ease in performing. The ingredients that were in the young Rudolf Serkin are all here. Let's hear him more."
Chicago Sun-Times, February 2010
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"Mozart's poised ambiguity was from another world... the changing moods of the second movement Romance, with added decoration by the soloist, were eloquently sustained, and Wosner's own final movement cadenza was lively and intelligent."
The Guardian, August 2009
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"The pianist Shai Wosner was introduced to the Prommers in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor. Runnicles set a nicely edgy pace for his slimmed down band, nudging every nerve of Mozart's uneasy and unsettled opening. Wosner picked up the inner tension, playing as a miniaturist and with a silvery clarity."
The Times (London), August 2009

"Runnicles brought out the operatic menace as well as the ineffable sadness [of Mozart's D Minor Concerto K. 466], while soloist Shai Wosner, at the beginning of his career, showed that he is already his own man in terms of phrasing, emphasis and occasional decoration."
The Evening Standard (London), August 2009

“Wosner proved the star of the evening as solo protagonist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21…Wosner's quicksilver articulation was a pleasure throughout, and he brought a youthful vivacity perfectly suited to this most joyous of Mozart keyboard concertos. In the famous Andante, Wosner's poise and refinement were on the same level as the [Cleveland Orchestra]'s tonal elegance, which is saying a lot.  The soloist also brought a subtle, slightly quirky element with some steep dynamic drops and hair-trigger color changes. Likewise his own pseudo-Rococo cadenzas stayed within Classical parameters -- just -- while adding a smart, subversive quality to his witty, delightful performance.”
Miami Herald, March 2008

“The unassuming pianist gave a winning performance of the monster hit [Grieg Piano Concerto], with each movement more engaging than the one before. He offered tasteful drama in the thundering first-movement cadenza, understated lyricism in the slow movement and nimbly dancing runs in the finale.”
The Salt Lake Tribune, February 2008
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“…nimble technique and dry wit… His mastery of Chopin’s passagework was flawless, and he lavished plenty of elegance on the score’s less glittery sections… A return visit is clearly in order.”
The San Francisco Chronicle, February 2005
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“…many musical works flourish better when players forget the flash and approach them with plain-spoken, intelligent ideas, as pianist Shai Wosner so satisfyingly did… His lively playing made the outer movements sparkle—crisp articulation and hints of rhythmic swagger created delightful vitality…”
The Houston Chronicle, June 2004

“…[Wosner] chose an ambitious and well-conceived program… The Bach was delivered crisply, and with a brisk propulsive energy…The Schoenberg also had an impressive sweep as well as a vivid vocabulary of gestures…”
The New York Times, February 2004
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