Critical Acclaim [PDF]

Gramophone, January 2024
International Piano, March 2020 Issue
American Record Guide, Jan-Feb 2019 Issue
American Record Guide, March/April 2018 Issue
Fanfare, November/December 2017
Gramophone, June 2017
Gramophone, 2017
The Strad, February 2017
Fanfare, November/December 2016
BBC Music Magazine, September 2016
Gramophone, August 2016
Classical Music, July 2016 [PNG]
The Wall Street Journal‎, December 2014
International Piano, March 2013
San Francisco Chronicle Interview 2013
Gramophone, October 2010

Diabelli Variations, Beethoven — Shai Rosner (Onyx)
"[Wosner's] considerable pianistic and interpretive gifts deserve to be evaluated in world-class company. For as this excellently engineered release makes perfectly clear, Shai Wosner has a great Diabelli Variations in him, and I hope he'll continue to live with this work and record it anew down the line."
Gramophone, January 2024 Issue
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Diabelli Variations, Beethoven — Shai Rosner (Onyx)
"Wosner’s impressive recording is moving throughout. His playing is full of exuberance and introspection, rhythmic clarity, and nuanced reflections. Each variation creates a world of its own… This CD, in addition to his Schubert recordings, will only enhance Wosner’s growing reputation as a pianist with whom to seriously reckon."
The Arts Fuse, December 1, 2023
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Princeton Symphony Orchestra Returns to McCarter Theatre for Live Performance
"Wosner displayed a light touch on the piano from the outset, with crisp unisons in tandem with the orchestra. Wosner kept the ornamental figures clean (especially an extended trill and playful cadenza) and played in a detached style to match the resonance of the hall. Milanov led the second movement “Andante” in a courtly and refined style, as Wosner provided a flowing piano part with even arpeggios. Mozart considered this Concerto to be one of his more difficult, and the solo keyboard part of the third movement was certainly a reason why. Wosner maneuvered easily through quick scale passages, fast chords up and down the keyboard and tricky hand-crossing demands. He also demonstrated a particularly fast right hand in the first “episode” of this final “Allegro,” maintaining lightness and clarity."
Town Topics, November 10, 2021
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Hadelich’s miraculous Bach tops a week of fine recitals at the festival in rainy Aspen
"Pinchas Zukerman’s carefully shaped violin playing and ardent work from his wife, cellist Amanda Forsyth, benefited the proceedings, but the revelation was pianist Shai Wosner. Playing with fluidity, he paid particularly careful attention to the shadings the other musicians applied to their lines. Everything he played fit beautifully with their work."
THE ASPEN TIMES, August 21, 2021
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Fond Farewells and New Revelations at This Year’s Concluding Naumburg Bandshell Concert
"The big hits with the crowd were Mozart favorites, which Wosner played from memory with exceptional attunement to underlying emotion. His approach to both the Piano Concerto No. 114 in E flat and No. 12 in A was unhurried, and spacious, and insightful to the nth degree: he’s really gone under the hood with this material."
NEW YORK MUSIC DAILY, August 5, 2021
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ChamberFest Cleveland — Luscious Soundscapes
"Throughout, Wosner played with crisp, clean articulations, tight trills (in the Scarlattis) and solid, rhythmic drive. He also had a wizardly way of making Rzewski’s music evolve out of Scarlatti’s."
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ChamberFest Cleveland: Opening Concert — “Legends”
"The concert began with clarinetist Franklin Cohen, violist Dimitri Murrath, and pianist Shai Wosner playing Wosner’s arrangement of Dvořák’s Legends. Wosner mentioned in the program notes that he wrote the arrangement during the pandemic “as I missed so much playing with other people.” This love of communal music making was evident in the rich beauty of the delightfully complementary instruments. Out of the blended harmonies flew exquisite arches of sound from the clarinet and viola.
Violinist Itamar Zorman joined Fung and Wosner in Schubert’s Trio No. 2 in E-flat to conclude the program. As they journeyed through Schubert’s world of emotions ranging from despair to triumph, the three musicians produced a collective sound with clarity in each part, allowing the audience to witness the electrifying group dynamic that in-person performance offers."
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ChamberFest Cleveland — Together Again
"Ernő Dohnányi’s haunting Piano Quintet No. 2 in e-flat served as the perfect closer for the evening. From start to finish, pianist Shai Wosner, violinists Itamar Zorman and Diana Cohen, violist Dimitri Murrath, and cellist Zlatomir Fung played with a unified, intense musical mind. The opening “Allegro non troppo” was defined by sustained chords in the strings, highlighted by twinkling notes in the piano’s upper register. The “Intermezzo” was tossed off with aplomb, and the work’s serene, peaceful ending left one in a state of awe."
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Imagination and virtuosity in Shai Wosner’s Philadelphia recital
"... this Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital coupled the deep musical understanding I have always found in the playing of this Israeli-born pianist, now in his mid-40s, with a perfectly dazzling keyboard mastery. These virtues were deployed in the service of a program that combined ample variety of style with a less obvious cohesion of musical content."
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Classical Music Album Review: Two Scintillating Israeli Pianists
"Wosner has lived with these sonatas, and thought them through from every angle, musically and intellectually. The result is revelatory, from the craftily executed quicksilver changes of mood, the sprawling range of dynamic, and the many stunning ways he executes the staccatos. We have, in Wosner’s Schubert, despair intermingled with euphoria, resignation interlaced with fleeting moments of rapture. A heartrending integration of light and dark."
THE ARTS FUSE, February 18, 2021
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Shai Wosner Curates and Performs in Virtual Schubertiade On Composer's Birthday
"Pianist Shai Wosner, 'a Schubertian of unfaltering authority and character' (Gramophone), takes the tradition of the Schubertiade online, curating a four-concert virtual chamber music series that launches with Parts I and II presented by Peoples' Symphony Concerts the weekend of Schubert's birthday-Saturday, January 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET and Sunday, January 31 at 2:00 p.m. ET. A co-production of Bard College, where Mr. Wosner is on faculty, and Peoples' Symphony Concerts, where he is Resident Artist, these virtual programs pair the music of Schubert with works by composers of the 20th and 21st centuries, linking them through common threads of mood and theme that cast each in a new light."
BROADWAY WORLD, January 4, 2021
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“The People’s Symphony Concerts has long been known for the rare combination of bargain-basement ticket prices and high-quality performances,” writes Nicholas Beard in Tuesday’s (11/10) Musical America (subscription required). “Founded in 1900, managed by Frank Solomon for the last half-century or so, PSC like the rest of the presenting world was hit mid-season by Covid-19 last March and forced to move its concerts online. The new, 120th, season launches November 15 with a virtual performance by the outgoing and incoming resident artists. The latter, having recently signed a three-year agreement, is pianist Shai Wosner; the former, having come to the end of their contract, is the Dover Quartet…. Wosner, who has performed with most major orchestras as a soloist, from the Vienna Philharmonic to the Philadelphia Orchestra, will as resident artist be obligated to a minimum of two concerts a season, as well as a number of educational and outreach activities…. Wosner said, ‘This quintessential NYC institution has been there through the Spanish flu and two World Wars, and I love everything it has stood for and can’t wait to be part of it … to make music accessible to New Yorkers from all walks of life.’”
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"In this final episode, Rei Hotoda leads us in an exploration of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations and the Piano Concerto No.5, the "Emperor." Pianist Shai Wosner joins us from his piano and shares fascinating insights into the "fun" Beethoven, as well as the deep, serious Beethoven. We'll hear Shai Wosner perform the the Piano Concerto No.5 with the Fresno Philharmonic."
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"Pianist Shai Wosner commences his three-year term as Resident Artist of Peoples’ Symphony Concerts (PSC) on Sunday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET, the opening concert of PSC’s virtual 120th anniversary season. This program serves as a passing of the baton from 2017–20 Resident Ensemble the Dover String Quartet to Mr. Wosner, who joins the ensemble in a performance of Dvořák’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81. He also performs Brahms’s Intermezzo Op. 116, No. 2...."
COLIN'S COLUMN, November 4, 2020
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"Shai Wosner and Bruce Aldophe have known each other since their time performing at the Lincoln Center in New York City. On Oct. 20 these two will sit down for the second conversation in the Virtual Virtuosos series. Prominent artists from around the world are joining Off the Hook Arts and Virtual Virtuosos to bring Colorado music fans important conversations about the lives of musicians during the COVID-19 pandemic. These Zoom conversations are open to the public; the $20 tickets can be purchased on the Off The Hook Arts website."
THE NEW SCENE WEEKLY, October 17, 2020
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NEW: Shai Wosner’s Diabelli Variations Project
Starting Tuesday, September 8, Shai Wosner begins on a month-long journey through Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. Beginning with the work’s famous theme—a waltz by Anton Diabelli—Wosner performs and provides insight into one variation per day until he has completed all 33. Learn more HERE
MUSICAL AMERICA, September 7, 2020
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The pianist’s heartfelt, communicative artistry is that of a born Schubertian.
CLASSICS TODAY, August 2, 2020
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American-Israeli pianist Shai Wosner is a champion of the music of Franz Schubert, who was indeed a little man, not even five feet tall. He was not the first of the 19th century Romantics, but as Harold Schonberg once said, Schubert was "the first lyric poet of the music." Shai Wosner's latest recording features the late Piano sonatas, which are more accurately Schubert's mature sonatas, since he lived to be just 31 years old...
CLASSICAL MPR, July 15, 2020
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New York Phil Clarinetist Launches #TakeTwoKnees Musical Challenge For Racial Justice
New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill has this week announced the launch of his new #TakeTwoKnees social challenge – aimed to shine a light on his African American communities’ struggle for racial justice..... Musicians, including violinists VC Artist Noah Bendix-Balgley, Elena Bianca and Melissa White, opera singer Lawrence Brownlee, flutist Demarre McGill and pianist Shai Wosner have joined Anthony in his #TakeTwoKnees online movement...
VIOLIN CHANNEL, June 1, 2020
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Weekly Magazine
SHAI WOSNER, frequently acclaimed a “Schubertian,” adds yet another new release for Onyx, adding to several other Schubert CDs (not to mention a recorded repertoire that ranges from Haydn to Ligeti to Gershwin to Missy Mazzoli.) This latest in his Schubert series consists of four four-movement ‘late’ sonatas that fill up two CDs. As Wosner opens his deeply researched and considered program notes....
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Symphony Hall from Home with Shai Wosner
John Clare checks in with pianist Shai Wosner. An exclusive performance and interview about the late Schubert sonatas from Shai's latest release!
SIRIUSXM, May 20, 2020
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Schubert CD Review
...this release can only underscore Wosner's fully justified reputation as one of the more remarkable Schubert pianists of our day.
GRAMOPHONE, June, 2020
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Pianist Shai Wosner
Pianist Shai Wosner speaks with us about life as a performing artist in this new COVID-19 reality, and his new recording of late Sonatas of Franz Schubert, works he calls “thick novels, rich with insight about the human condition.”
WMHT, May 18, 2020
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Kaufman Music Center's DAY OF MUSICAL ACTION
...The 6 - 8 pm hours of the event feature performances by celebrity guests, including violinist Joshua Bell, Broadway stars Nikki Renée Daniels and Jeff Kready, Broadway composer Alan Menken, conductor David Robertson (performing Steve Reich's Clapping Music with his twin sons), pianist Orli Shaham, composer/violinist/vocalist Caroline Shaw, flutist Carol Wincenc, legendary songwriter Paul Williams, pianist Shai Wosner and others to be announced, along with Kaufman Music Center Artists-in-Residence JACK Quartet, composer/flutist/vocalist Nathalie Joachim, and composer/educator Rob Kapilow. Also appearing will be pianist Emanuel Ax, flutist Sir James Galway, composer Missy Mazzoli, and broadcasters Terrance McKnight and John Schaefer...
Broadway World, May 13, 2020
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Schubert Album Review
...I love Wosner's sound, the manipulation of colours and his control over the smallest of details. Equally convincing in lyrical language as he is in bold, fiery passages, Wosner brings in wholesome devotion to this remarkable music.
The Whole Note, May/June, 2020
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Classical Music News of the Week
Pianist Shai Wosner has been named to the piano faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he will teach a piano studio and coach chamber music starting in fall 2020. He will balance these activities with a busy concert schedule of recitals, orchestral engagements, and chamber collaborations around the world each season, as well as with his work as a recording artist for Onyx Classics.
Classical Candor, May 2, 2020
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Schubert CD Review
"...Wosner has played these four sonatas in concert a good deal, and he has a kind of flexibility in them that makes his readings feel slightly improvisatory; he can pursue a point of interest at the local level and work his diversion back into the larger structure. The most distinctive feature of his readings overall is their quietness, their spirituality.... This is wonderful, subtle Schubert, recorded by Onyx at the superbly appropriate American Academy of Arts and Letters."
ALL MUSIC, April 27, 2020
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A Look Inside: Streaming from Home is Giving Us A Peek at Musicians’ True Selves
"..Musicians who have often seemed far, far away — viewed from the Carnegie Hall balconies and distant realms of the Metropolitan Opera — are starting to seem like my new best friends. Without the steep ticket prices of not so long ago, performers are now appearing on our home computer screens in remarkably unguarded close-ups, coming from inside their homes... Seemingly everywhere else online, musicians are readily revealing what’s going on inside right now. “This is the loneliest chamber music I’ve ever played,” said pianist Orion Weiss, in an unusually candid moment on Music Mondays. He was introducing a two-piano version of Bach’s “Little Fugue” in G Minor, BWV 578, played with Shai Wosner, each of them in separate states (hence, the nickname “Interstate Fugue”)...."
WQXR, April 19, 2020
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Schubert Album Review
"..When compared to some of the old-school readings from the past, his approach almost seems cold and austere. But therein lies the sleight of hand, because when the music calls for more emotive weight, or mood shifts, or wide dynamic swings, Shai Wosner has plenty of room to manoeuvre and many dramatic avenues to choose from... Shai Wosner comes at it from so many different perspectives along the way that you can't help but follow along on the journey. And I've never heard the sublime slow movement of the D960 sound so crystal clear and translucent, and yet so profound. Unassuming and yet remarkable piano playing!"
Classical Music Sentinel, April 7, 2020
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Lockdown Listening
Shai Wosner’s latest album for Onyx, of Schubert’s Piano Sonatas D845, D894, D958 & D960, was released on March 20. He has just announced that he will be joining the faculty of Bard College Conservatory of Music, New York State.
GRAMOPHONE, April 2, 2020
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New Releases with Lisa Flynn
"Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity, and creative insight. He has established a reputation as one of the world’s great Schubert interpreters, with his earlier recordings praised by critics worldwide. This release completes his survey of the late sonatas. 'There is no composer who binds the intimate and the grand so inextricably as Franz Schubert,' writes Wosner in the essay for his latest album."
WFMT, March 23, 2020
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Home listening: in stormy times, Schubert is balm for the soul Two new piano recordings, by Duo Pleyel and Shai Wosner, provide complementary consolation on period and modern instruments
...These works are the glorious flowering of Schubert’s impossibly abundant, impossibly brief career. They recast our sense of time. Here, as in Lebensstürme, sudden silences halt the flow. Seemingly endless phrases, suspended in reverie, or at times nightmare, evoke mystery, anguish, longing. Each sonata, like life itself, is a restless tussle between continuity and fracture. We hear this, above all, in Schubert’s last major work, the Sonata in B flat, D960. It glimpses heaven, touches the void and ends, against the odds, in triumph...
The Guardian, March 21, 2020
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Classical Up Close: Steven Isserlis
On February 28, 2020 British cellist Steven Isserlis came to The Greene Space in New York for an up close evening of music and conversation. He was joined by pianist Shai Wosner in a program of works by Beethoven, Janacek, and Prokofiev.
THE STRAD, March 11, 2020
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Q&A with Shai Wosner
"I like to pair together composers from very different periods in ways that, hopefully, bring out certain things they have in common in spite of the differences.
Perhaps it is a way of looking for the underlying principles that make music work, for the ideas that go beyond styles and time periods and that stimulate composers across centuries.
In the case of Scarlatti and Rzewski, it is the extreme conciseness of their sonatas and also their almost impulsive kind of writing with ideas and twists and turns kept unpredictably spontaneous, almost in the style of stream-of-consciousness."
The Well-Tempered Ear, February 18, 2020
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"Off the Hook Arts finalized their last event of WinterFest 2020 with the powerful sound of honoring Ludwig Van Beethoven. ...Wosner, Kenney, and Requiro did a fantastic job recreating his pieces while giving the audience a taste of the ambiance Beethoven’s work portrays. ...While mastering Beethoven is not easy, the trio pairing perfectly together, created a performance of ambient sound, consistently bouncing back and forth from one another."
Off The Hook Arts, February 12, 2020
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Sitting in stunned silence, concert-goers held their breath as they waited in eager anticipation to hear where Shai Wosner would take them next.
World-renowned Israeli pianist Wosner performed his famous solo repertoire for a full crowd Feb. 7 in the historic Grace Presbyterian Church , as one of the last events of Off the Hook Arts’ WinterFest 2020.
With his professionalism and passion for piano, Wosner took the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions with his playing, body movements and facial expressions. A hunch over the piano for anger and intensity; a lean away for quiet and calm; and a raised finger with a pause for playful patience.
...Wosner’s performance will remain a WinterFest highlight for years to come.
Off The Hook Arts, February 8, 2020
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Tributes pour in for the late Peter Serkin
Pianist Shai Wosner:
"Who on earth ends (!) a recital with the Schoenberg Suite Op. 25? And what an ending it was. Only Peter Serkin could take this piece of perhaps the worst reputation in all of piano music – and bring it across like a rock star. I was screaming bravo at the top of my lungs after that Gigue not only because I knew it could not be played better but also because, still a student, I knew that this was an altering experience which showed that if you play the music you truly believe in you can make an audience go with you no matter how cuckoo they might find this music otherwise. In his hands Schoenberg was alive and well – not academic and dour but subversive and witty and infectiously exciting. That is only one of many memories of his playing that etched themselves already in my student concert-going days. There was a Brahms D Minor with the New York Philharmonic that I will never, ever forget. And a Brahms B-flat encountered on YouTube which had me glued to my computer like a child. Or a recital at Carnegie Hall ending with an almost blindingly luminous Beethoven 'Les Adieux'. How poignant that title is today."
Slipped Disc, February 2, 2020
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...Wosner, Thayer and Zhao performed the C minor Trio with elegant nuances, the piano coming to the fore in solos, yet allowing the strings to project even in the most delicate passages. The performance was a model of musicality, with dramatic contrasts and excellent ensemble. The first movement was propelled by the driving first theme. The second movement’s variations were beautifully delineated. The descending pearly piano runs in the Minuetto were executed with ease by Wosner, whose New York teacher, Emanuel Ax, was the San Diego Symphony’s soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #1 the previous weekend. The Finale dashed headlong to its surprise quiet ending. For the Pastoral Piano Sonata, the second work on the program, Wosner again displayed his formidable artistry....
San Diego Jewish World, January 20, 2020
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...Mozart’s Piano Concerto # 21 in C Major, the “Elvira Madigan,” opened the concert in a glorious and elegant performance by pianist Shai Wosner. Wosner possesses more than ample technical skill, yet his phrasing is both tasteful and very musical. I have a feeling that he had some hand in composing the cadenzas in both the first and third movements, since each one ended with a not-too-subtle quote from “The Marriage of Figaro” and “The Magic Flute,” adding a note of humor. Sloane and the orchestra provided a wonderful accompaniment, again with utmost clarity and musicality. We are indeed fortunate in having this great orchestra in Sarasota, and should do all we can to keep it as one of the jewels in Sarasota’s cultural crown.
Your Observer, January 19, 2020
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...As the soloist, Wosner exuded a sense of calm confidence, a pairing that works well with the delicacy of this concerto. Demanding runs that require technical fluency, not bravado, mark the outer movements. Wosner balanced the energy of flair with just the right amount of elegance to make this concerto sparkle.
The Herald-Tribune, January 18, 2020
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...Certainly, there were also some excellent piano-concerto performances: the one that gave me the most pleasure was Shai Wosner’s of Mozart’s Concerto No.14 in E flat major, K.449, with ECCO (the enterprising East Coast Chamber Orchestra)....
Seen and Heard International, December 29, 2019
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Our superb Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, after highly acclaimed presentations of Puccini’s beloved opera, “La bohème” with Opera Ithaca, and an exceptional concert of music for strings, now provides the chance to hear pianist Shai Wosner, recognized worldwide for his brilliance and inventive pairings of classical and modern masters, performing two concertos. The program comprises two Mozart masterpieces, both in C major, serving as book-ends to two contemporary works, “out of the box,” as the conductor says.
Ithaca Times, November 21, 2019
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I was convinced that it would be hard to find a pianist more effective and successful in bringing off this work, than Mr. Wosner. He is one of those rare musicians who shows his passion for new music, is eager to exploit it and thrives presenting new works regularly. He is often imaginative and audacious in choosing repertory –as his Bridge-to-Beethoven project demonstrated a few years ago – and in new compositions always shows understanding of what this music is about.
Concerto Net, November 11, 2019
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...the orchestra’s eloquent interaction with Shai Wosner’s immaculate and unfailingly perceptive rendering of the solo part [in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 14] produced a sound-picture luxuriant enough to make it easy, on this occasion, to forget about those oboe and horn tones that I love so much. No less impressive was the spine-tingling hush that they achieved and maintained in their shared encore — a performance of the finale of the composer’s 12th Piano Concerto that brought an evening of pleasurable artistic illumination to a worthy close.
Seen and Heard International, November 6, 2019
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Wosner’s mastery of the keyboard is extraordinary in this fascinating work [Cerrone's The Air Suspended], creating a rumbling in the lower register at the beginning and flying between high and low notes with precision and responsiveness to the sea of strings around him. ... The program ended with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major, K. 449. Here Wosner offered a bold, clean, and expressive reading, clearly articulating the many lovely, yet complex melodies that weave through the work’s three movements.
Broad Street Review, October 28, 2019
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“The idea for this project came about when I heard Christopher Cerrone’s ‘High Windows,’ which is a piece for string orchestra – a marvelous piece,” said Wosner, during a phone interview last week from his home in New York. “He writes so well for strings. It’s nice to have a piece for piano and strings."
Unionville Times, October 24, 2019
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...Weiss and Wosner play with telepathic coordination and manage to conjure up torrents of tone with little apparent physical effort. Their journey through the Brahms was varied and eventful, and they saved just enough excitement to make the composer’s final statements ring out over his numerous false endings....
Cleveland Classical, September 17, 2019
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The final event in the Cleveland International Piano Competition’s 2019 Concert Series will feature the duo-piano team of Orion Weiss and Shai Wosner in music by Schubert, Brahms, and David Lang on Saturday, September 14 at 8:00 pm in Reinberger Chamber Hall at Severance Hall. The recital reunites two longtime friends and colleagues and introduces the Israeli-born Wosner to Cleveland (Weiss, born in Gates Mills, is well-known in these parts). I caught up with Shai Wosner by telephone earlier this month and began by asking whether he and Weiss have played this particular program before.
Cleveland Classical, September 10, 2019
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Combine two of the world's greatest concert pianists and two incredible Steinway pianos (one on loan, with thanks, from the Steinway company) and you have an evening of unparalleled music. Pianist 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" (NPR's All Things Considered).
Los Alamos Daily Post, August 30, 2019
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Concertos for piano four-hands aren’t exactly common. That Weiss and Wosner performed as a unit and never let slip a hint of strain or stress even as they practically bumped elbows is nothing short of amazing. What’s more, they didn’t just execute a digital feat. They made real, energizing music. No amount of applause could have flattered them enough.
The Chautauquan Daily, August 3, 2019
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[Translated from German] Shai Wosner plays the music very clearly... The 43-year-old interpreter has been able to present his view of Schubert on two evenings of the Berlin Piano Festival, and his approach is round and interesting, without being revolutionary - which indeed suits Schubert. He discovers him as a composer with a sovereign disposition and an original artist of expression, but also as an obsessive composer.
Berliner Zeitung, May 27, 2019
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[Translated from German] You can not imagine a better Schubert set: always simple, everything coming from within, and deeply touching... The listener actually experiences all this wealth with Shai Wosner. A great Schubertian pianist.
Hundert 11, May 27, 2019
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The brilliant pianist Shai Wosner joined the orchestra next for W.A. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467. Wosner was in his TSO début, but has worked with the evening’s conductor having recorded with him previously. Born in Israel, he completed his education at Juilliard with Emmanual Ax and lives in the US. His performance in the concerto was true to Mozart, never overdone, shimmering in the lyrical passages and clean in the virtuosic moments. There was a wonderful balance between orchestra and soloist, something not always achieved at RTH. I hope Toronto audiences get a chance to hear more of him soon.
Toronto Concert Reviews, May 12, 2019
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The piano duo on Saturday will be Orion Weiss and Shai Wosner. Their program features two masterpieces, Schubert’s Sonata in C Major for Piano Four Hands and Brahms’s Sonata in F Minor for Two Pianos. The latter is an earlier version of the better-known Piano Quintet and is not often heard in this form. These two sonatas will be interspersed with two contemporary works by David Lang, one of the most frequently performed living American composers, the intriguingly titled “gravity” (2005) and “after gravity” (2008).
East Hampton Star, March 21, 2019
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...there’s a ‘rush’ that comes with losing yourself in an improvisation, says Wosner, ‘the liberating feeling you get when that thing you were making up on the spot seems to take on a life of its own’. And that is how his playing comes over. Schubert’s F minor Impromptu becomes a dreamlike flow, as its initial grandeur dissolves into lyrical sweetness, and then into a mist out of which wisps of melody seem to float; its loose rondo form becomes a pretext for emotional excursions... Wosner’s magic touch creates a unity out of these very disparate works... this CD is bewitching.
BBC Music Magazine Online, March 19, 2019
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Wosner and Weiss take on this demanding program with artistry, creativity and impeccable technique honed through acclaimed individual careers as well as more than 15 years performing together. Both are alumni of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Bowers Program and former students of Emanuel Ax.
The Laurel of Asheville, March 5, 2019
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Playing to a packed house, the duo offered a serious program, making no concessions to facile effects or crowd-pleasing selections. The pianists program reflected a seriousness and musical intelligence almost old-fashioned and the result was satisfying to listeners with the most discriminating tastes. Take for instance, their opening number, David Lang's "Gravity."... It was performed with the utmost attention to detail and connected seamlessly with the next work in the program."
Palm Beach Daily News, February 22, 2019
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The violinist Jennifer Koh and the pianist Shai Wosner are moderating a conversation across the centuries between Beethoven and today's composers.... New music may struggle to fill concert halls as readily as Beethoven still does nearly 200 years after his death. But Koh and Wosner believe that contemporary composers can find audiences if the work is excellent and is placed in the right context. Wosner noted that placing new music alongside Beethoven can open people's minds to it, paraphrasing the pianist and author Charles Rosen saying "music is only difficult if you are listening for something that is not there."
Aspen Times, February 6, 2019
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Pianist Shai Wosner is in love with the music of Schubert: "Despite the dark streaks in Schubert … precious moments of consolation and the most touching sense of hope almost always follow." Wosner performs the Schubert Impromptu No. 4 from a November Frederic Chopin Society recital. If you weren't already a believer in the emotional power of Schubert's music, Wosner's performance will make you a believer.
Classical Minnesota Public Radio, January 3, 2019
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Through a combination of canny programming and powerful, illuminating keyboard work, the young Israeli virtuoso shed new light — both direct and reflected — on the composer’s entire piano legacy.
San Francisco Chronicle, December 3, 2018
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Classical pianist Shaw Wosner joined FM89's David Aus to talk about his upcoming concert in Fresno for the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concert Series, featuring the music of Chopin and Schubert.
Valley Public Radio, November 29, 2018
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It’s been more than five years that the resourceful Israeli pianist Shai Wosner has been fixated on the piano music of Schubert, both on its own and in relation to that of other composers. He’s assembled programs that put Schubert in the context of his contemporaries, and ones that feature modern-day composers’ reactions to his work. Now Wosner is going to apply his considerable technical and interpretive resources single-mindedly to the source. His Berkeley recital this weekend, Dec. 2, plans to feature nothing but Schubert sonatas — not the famous last three as you might expect, but Nos. 16-18.
San Francisco Chronicle, November 29, 2018
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The eminent pianist Shai Wosner is no stranger to Fresno. He’s performed here several times with the Fresno Philharmonic and the Philip Lorenz International Keyboard Concerts series. Now he’s returning for his latest appearance with the Keyboard series. Here’s a rundown...
Munro Review, November 28, 2018
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The Bay Area has heard a wealth of sublime piano performance this fall, but Schubert’s piano sonatas seem to have been in short supply. That’s about to change, as Israeli pianist Shai Wosner arrives at Cal Performances to play three of the composer’s middle-period sonatas: the expansive Sonata No. 16 in A minor, the mercurial No. 17 in D Major, “Gasteiner,” and the serene No. 18 in G Major, “Fantasie.” Wosner, who hasn’t appeared in Berkeley since 2013, should prove an outstanding interpreter of this music.
The Mercury News, November 27, 2018
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Celebrating 100 years of the Cleveland Orchestra. Shai Wosner performs, Franz Schubert: Six Moments Musicaux, D. 780: Movement 4 Moderato. The Frederic Chopin Society, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN
Performance Today, November 13, 2018
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"Israeli-born pianist Shai Wosner joined the Emerson for the first half of the concert. This Mozart piano quartet, the second of two, gives all four players a chance to shine, which they certainly did. Mr. Wosner's clean articulation of rapid runs, unblurred by the pedal, was a delight to hear. ... [In Bolcom's Quintet No. 1] Mr. Wosner handled the fiendishly difficult piano part with finesse, and cellist Paul Watkins could be seen smiling from time to time."
Broadway World, October 26, 2018
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"Wosner’s touch led the way, sitting at a precise and ideal spot where his superb articulation met the sonic possibilities of the modern piano, a virtual definition of “sparkling.”"
New York Classical Review, October 22, 2018
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"The quartet will be joined by Shai Wosner on piano while in Athens. “I’ve never been to Athens before, I hear wonderful things about the [Chamber Music] series,” Wosner said. “For me it will be a first time, so I’m always excited to meet new audiences and new venues and ... new pianos."
WUGA, October 22, 2018
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"In chamber music, I would say there is a very intimate connection that you have with the artist, in a way that you don’t have if you go to an arena for a rock concert,” Wosner said.
THE RED & BLACK, October 21, 2018
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"Joined by the acclaimed pianist Shai Wosner, the Quartet performs Bolcom's Piano Quintet No. 1. Composed in commemoration of the 80th birthday of the legendary violinist Isaac Stern, the piece was premiered in 2001 by Stern and members of the Emerson Quartet (Philip Setzer, violin, Lawrence Dutton, viola, David Finckel, cello) along with pianist Jonathan Biss at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C."
Classical Candor, October 6, 2018
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"I often try to create dialogues between pieces ... It's important to me to pick pieces that are quite well-known and put them side-by-side with pieces that are not quite as known in a way that would hopefully illuminate them in a different way, and also to create a dynamic between pieces that you might not necessarily associate."
WCNY, October 5, 2018
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"Shai Wosner is an exciting and profound musician," says [Symphoria Music Director Lawrence] Loh. "I came to know him a when we shared in an electric performance of Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto, and I am eager to hear what he brings to the Schumann Piano Concerto with our fine orchestra!", September 29, 2018
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"The concert will feature the Emerson String Quartet and pianist Shai Wosner performing Mozart’s Quartet in E-flat Major for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello and William Bolcom’s Quintet No. 1 for Piano, Two Violins, Viola and Cello. The program concludes with Dvořák’s final quartet, the Quartet in G Major for Strings.”(Chicago Sun Times).
UGA Today, September 25, 2018
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"Born in Israel and a protégé of the great Emanuel Ax, Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity, and creative insight. Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Development Award and a champion of works ranging from Beethoven and Schubert to Ligeti and the music of today, he is praised for his “keen musical mind and deep musical soul” (NPR’s All Things Considered) and for exemplifying a “remarkable blend of the intellectual, physical, and even devilish sides of performance”(Chicago Sun Times)."
Fresno State (Blog), September 5, 2018
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"[T]his season, New Yorkers have the opportunity to experience [Shai Wosner's] passion for chamber music over several different programs, all within a short window of time this fall and winter. The music of Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) is featured most prominently, including works written for duo, trio, quartet, and quintet ensembles. Additional composers on the programs are Cécile Chaminade, Schumann, Mozart, and contemporary American composer William Bolcom, who this year celebrates his 80th birthday."
Broadway World, September 5, 2018
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"While attending a concert by pianist Shai Wosner in Nelson Music Room, Walther discovered the musician had arranged the space with the audience encircling him. “It was a very powerful performance in a very intimate space,” said Walther, Duke professor of the practice of Germanic languages and literature."
DUKE Today, August 29, 2018
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"Shai Wosner, pianist: It was the Vienna Philharmonic's historic visit to Israel. Leonard Bernstein was conducting Mahler’s 6th Symphony. I was a 12-year-old Mahler nut, sitting with the score in a state of total rapture. This was like the second coming of Gustav, if not Jesus. Naturally, I snuck backstage, to get the Mahler Messiah's autograph. I got there so fast he hadn't even come off stage yet. I was waiting anxiously when I suddenly heard a "shalom" in a deep, raspy voice from around the corner. I told Bernstein that the Mahler was amazing (which it was) and proudly handed my little pocket score for him to sign — cigarette in his mouth the whole time, of course. Amid the smoke, I tried to come up with something smart to say while he was signing, but all I could think of was, "You know, you really should quit smoking ..." I think his reply was, "Ah, well ..."
LA Times, August 27, 2018
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"Beaver, Kim, and Wosner are not a self-standing, ongoing ensemble, but their performance exceeded what one usually hears when individual players happen to intersect on a given concert night at the festival. Obviously, they had spent time practicing together, thinking seriously about this piece and working out possibilities. But we also have underlying musicianship to thank. ... [Wosner] showed a soloist’s forwardness when appropriate, but he also adapted comfortably to the ideals of ensemble-playing, minimizing the gaps inherent in how sounds are created on the piano as compared to on bowed strings, discreetly adding to the momentum through niceties of rhythmic shading."
Santa Fe New Mexican, August 24, 2018
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"Anthony McGill, principle clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic, violinist Paul Huang and pianist Shai Wosner supplied an appropriately jazzy interpretation in a witty virtuosic romp that might have made Benny Goodman a touch jealous."
Broadway World, August 7, 2018
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"Shai Wosner was a sensitive pianist who gave his partners lots of room. When it was time for Wosner to come forward, his part was precisely and tastefully executed...Pianists Wosner and Joyce Yang played in sync as if telepaths."
The San Diego Union-Tribune, August 4, 2018
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"Wosner’s numerous sensitive Schubert performances, and his highly insightful stage persona complete with nickel-framed glasses giving him that touch of an intellectual gaze, have moved critics to call on his likeness to Schubert; he has been described by Gramophone as a “Schuberterian of unfaltering authority and character,” and has performed Schubert’s last six piano sonatas on multiple programs in New York and throughout the United States and Japan."
GetClassical, July 29, 2018
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"For Wosner ... it’s the music itself that makes Beethoven worthy of such high praise. If the music wasn’t so compelling on its own, he said, listeners probably wouldn’t care about the context or the composer’s life as much.'The vast majority of his pieces are so sincere and always in search of this ultimate musical truth. You just feel that every note is set in stone, and it just has to be that way. You believe every note that he writes. It’s the most amazing thing.' –Shai Wosner, Pianist"
The Chautauquan Daily, July 21, 2018
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[Translated]: "[Wosner's playing] stood out for its clear and precise pulsation at all times (something essential when it comes to playing Mozart's music today) and for its great dose of delicacy when facing certain passages"
La Nueva España, June 2, 2018
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"Shai Wosner offers a “jam session” of diverse improvisations by composers whose keyboard mastery shines through each selection...Wosner manages both a lyrical and declamatory performance of this ambitious moment of Beethoven’s potent improvisational capacities—its only rival the opening sequence from the contemporary Choral-Fantasy, Op. 80—subjecting us to the battle between G minor and A-flat before the B-flat section in 6/8... As a Chopin interpreter, Wosner certainly fulfills his task in a clean, polished style that well captures the breezy French salon atmosphere that occasionally swells into surpassing lyricism of the Bellini bel-canto arioso. The combination of passing grace notes and tempo rubato proves alluring."
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"Mr. Wosner’s playing exemplified the more joyous elements of these sonatas while making Schubert’s link to Beethoven explicit... [Wosner] gave beautifully rendered straightforward accounts. It was wonderful hearing this nearly symphonic works in such an intimate space – really how Schubert’s music would have been presented in his own time...Mr. Wosner pulled me into Schubert’s world, which is both much more ethereal and human. A place where the listener can drift."
Oberon's Grove, May 12, 2018
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"One of the salient features of all of [Wosner's] interpretations [of Schubert] is masterful playing with silence. If I were to pick just one of Wosner’s most important characteristics as a player it would be this. He deftly avoids the trap so many pianists (and not only pianists) fall into by slowing down the pace when it strips the music of tension and drama...Other features which I greatly admire in Shai Wosner’s playing are his sense of rhythm and use of the left hand. He is one of those rare pianists I don’t classify as right-handed. He clearly listens to the harmony and knows the importance of the left hand in marking out the bass line."
ConcertoNet, April 30, 2018
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"The pianist Shai Wosner might be tempted to relive a formative childhood experience this weekend as the New York Philharmonic plays along to screenings of “Amadeus.” As a boy of 8 or so in Israel, he was captivated by that 1984 film about Mozart, seeing it three times in the movie theater in quick succession."
New York Times, April 12, 2018
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"It is a work where occasional shadows are cast on the blazing primary colours of A major, and Aurora and Wosner did much to draw out these tonal and dynamic nuances.... This was a performance that buzzed with nervous energy and luminous lyricism."
Bachtrack, February 12, 2018
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"Bringing back István Várdai for the Jan. 21 Los Alamos Concert Association's cello concert with pianist Shai Wosner provided the audience with a thrilling afternoon. Their choice of works gave us the opportunity to hear wonderful compostitions that are rarely heard."
Los Alamos Daily Post, January 30, 2018
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"An interesting piano duo recital by Shai Wosner and Orion Weiss in a piano duo recital, featuring two recent works by David Lang, Gravity and After Gravity."
Washington Classical Review, January 30, 2018
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"Wosner is a superb pianist, who plays without any mooning or showboating, only tightly focused concentration. He eschews my most hated Schubert affect, that of pulling back the tempo when the music goes into remote keys, and in the opening movement of the D. 894 sonata, he counted carefully during the long notes, the languid rhythms retaining their shape and momentum. The whirlwind triplets in the first movement of the D. 850 sonata, and the rapid double thirds in the D. 894 finale were impeccable."
The Washington Post, January 29, 2018
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"As his fingers began to slide and glide on the piano, I slowly fell into a reverie. Wosner’s renditions of Schubert’s piano sonatas are consecutively violent and delicate, loud and soft, and exaggerate both aspects. The fingers came down hard on the keys, and the pianist’s body mirrored the aggression of the louder parts. These powerful and passionate sections often took us by surprise, as a result of Wosner’s deliberate decision to enhance the contrast. Wosner was at his best, however, when the piece got softer, subtler, faster. Then his fingers would glide and upon closing your eyes you really would be transported to the fantastic, the ethereal. Then the piano would sing, and you could dance."
The Middlebury Campus, January 17, 2018
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"Putting aside the contemporary for a moment, the afternoon showcased early Beethoven, much of it on the scale and style of Mozart. Koh and Wosner performed beautifully together, offering a lean sound that was often consoling and always lovely."
Times Union, January 15, 2018
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"Israeli-American pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry and creative insight. In addition to his frequent solo appearances with orchestras here and abroad he is widely sought after by colleagues for his versatility and collaborative spirit."
Los Alamos Daily Post, January 7, 2018
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"Wosner’s concert program will include opuses 42, 51 and 78, the “Fantasie.” These late sonatas are not only the culmination of Schubert’s piano works, but also some of the most profound essays in all of music... Known as an interpreter of the works of Franz Schubert, Wosner will treat audiences to an all-Schubert program at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12."
Rutland Herald, January 6, 2018
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"Born in Israel and educated at Juilliard, pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition. Known as an interpreter of the works of Franz Schubert, Wosner will treat audiences to an all-Schubert program at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12. Wosner’s concert program will include opuses 42, 51 and 78, the “Fantasie.” These late sonatas are not only the culmination of Schubert’s piano works, but also some of the most profound essays in all of music. “We have certainly heard late Schubert sonatas performed before on the Robison stage,” Coyne Carroll, series director, said, “but the works are often a revelation in the hands of a different pianist, especially one as exceptional and insightful as Shai.” “The pianist Shai Wosner again proves himself a fine Schubertian with a gorgeously phrased and soulful interpretation,” reported The New York Times."
Rutland Herald, December 30, 2017
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"Cellist Antonio Lysy and fortepianist Tom Beghin try to capture real Beethoven" Kirshbaum’s set, with pianist Shai Wosner, is the ideal of modern Beethoven. Beautifully recorded, it boasts Beethoven as we imagine him today. Cello and piano are perfectly balanced. Both musicians have big, involving tones that pick every Beethovenian nuance. The performances are straightforward to the point of being all Beethoven, all the time. How in the world could the Grammys have missed this one in its recent chamber music nominations?"
LA Times, December 18, 2017
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"Princeton Symphony Orchestra will present an all-Mozart program Nov. 12 at Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus. The concert will feature pianist Shai Wosner performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12, K. 414... [Wosner] says the 12th concerto is one of the first Mozart wrote for himself to perform after moving to Vienna. “[It’s] one in a string of concerto masterpieces that would cement his place in music history..."
Timeoff Entertainment (, Novemebr 3, 2017
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"Shai Wosner is an award-winning pianist who 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” (NPR’s All Things Considered). This season he launches a new recital series, Schubert: The Great Sonatas, and he is performing works from his latest solo recording, Impromptu (Onyx Classics)."
NEW JERSEY Stage, October 23, 2017
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Shai Wosner Performs Impromptus Recital on 10/14 to Launch Peoples' Symphony Concerts Season
"Throughout his career, Mr. Wosner has explored subtle connections between works of contrasting styles and time periods, and this recital features an eclectic program of improvisationally inspired works by an unlikely grouping of composers."
BWW News Desk, September 6, 2017
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"Wosner’s trills were marvelously executed, every single note articulated in precise rhythm. However, these were no gears purring away, but rather a clockwork bird’s song magically imbued with life. The variations gave Wosner the opportunity to display a gorgeous cantabile tone, a fine partner to Koh’s silky caress of the theme."
San Diego Union-Tribune, August 17, 2017
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"Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his insightful performances and recordings of a broad repertoire -- from Beethoven and Schubert to the music of today. In his latest release “Impromptu,” Shai pairs works by seven different composers focusing on the theme of improvisation...I recently had an enlightening discussion with Shai about the works on this recording. I hope you enjoy these excerpts!"
Community Idea Stations, WCVE, July 14, 2017
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"His most recent album uses Franz Schubert’s second set of Impromptus and three similar works by Frédéric Chopin as the basis for an imaginative program in which he stitches together a group of seemingly unconnected pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven, George Gershwin, and Charles Ives... Shai Wosner joined Chris Johnson last week on Rideshare for a conversation about his latest album 'Impromptu.'"
KMFA.ORG, July 12, 2017
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"All are played with a combination of brilliance and focused personality, where rubato is distinctive but never overdone, and where you feel the pianist has truly entered the zone of each piece...Wosner relishes the moment, as he does in rewarding and relatively unfamiliar pieces by Dvořák, Gershwin and Liszt. Excellent sound serves as icing on a significantly nourishing cake."
Classical Ear, July 5, 2017
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"Improvising, says Shai Wosner implies a state of mind: its results are informal though not necessarily formless, a quality exemplified by impromptus despite their being fully written-out...And if Wosner's magic touch creates a unity out of these very disparate works, it's slightly at the expense of their character, as the brief storms which intermittently blow up are not allowed to distort the serene onward momentum. No matter: this CD is bewitching."
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"A conversation with Shai Wosner"
What would happen if we get together Schubert, Chopin, Beethoven, Liszt, Dvorak, Gershwin, and Ives for a posthumous jam session?...That's the question posed by pianist Shai Wosner with his latest recording "Impromptu," our Recording of the Week. Mr. Wosner spoke with WCLV's Angela Mitchell from a studio in New York.
WCLV IDEASTREAM, June 29, 2017
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"What would happen if we get together Schubert, Chopin, Beethoven, Liszt, Dvorak, Gershwin, and Ives for a posthumous jam session?". Such a concept forms the root of this program of (mostly) impromptus. That it all works is a testament to both the quality of the music and the excellence of the playing."
American Record Guide, July/August 2017
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"The young soloist, Shai Wosner, sat alone at the Steinway grand piano on the stage of the quaint auditorium of Jerusalem’s YMCA communing with Schubert and his music as we, the audience, listened in rapt attention to his phenomenal and sensitive playing. Schubert’s last six sonatas constitute the summation of his approach to music and the world, expressing raw emotion and deep philosophical thinking, as well as intimacy and far-sightedness, and all this enclosed in tuneful melodies that take the listener to heights of rapture and depths of sorrow."
From Dorothea's Desktop, June 2, 2017
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"The set of impromptus assembled for this disc by pianist Shai Wosner is delightful. Nineteenth and 20th century composers sit comfortably side by side, in no small part due to Wosner’s masterful playing. He is commanding but also relaxed enough to embody the spirit of improvisation that links these compositions. The sequencing of pieces leads to unexpected juxtapositions, with the final trio as an excellent illustration. The unexpected success of having a Charles Ives improvisation serve as the bridge between impromptus by Chopin and Schubert is a testament to Wosner’s imagination and insight as a performer."
Colorado Public Radio, June 1, 2017
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"Overall it’s this intimacy which makes for such a convincing argument that these impromptus could originally have been improvisations. Wosner makes them powerfully introspective and somewhat mystical. His playing is subtly hesitant and exploratory, creating the feeling that he’s never been here before, that this is in fact the moment of birth."
The Wholenote, May 30, 2017
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"Spivey Hall’s Steinway & Sons concert grand piano, “Clara,” is making its international debut through the recent commercially released album Impromptu. Israeli-born pianist Shai Wosner recorded a mix of classical pieces from Dvorak, Chopin, Beethoven and Gershwin during recording sessions at Spivey Hall in May 2016...Wosner was particularly taken by the sound he could create with “Clara” in the Hall’s super acoustics, Dixon says...“We're delighted by the increasing interest of classical musicians to record in Spivey Hall, and hope to welcome more artists and companies to make recordings in Spivey Hall in our coming seasons,” he added."
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"Shai Wosner isn’t just a pianist of agility and insight, though obviously that’s nothing to sneeze at. But he has also embarked on a series of witty and engagingly structured recording projects that draw intriguing connections among various slices of the keyboard repertoire. Fresh on the heels of his exploration of the comic angles of Haydn and Ligeti comes “Impromptu,” a baker’s dozen of quasi-improvisatory pieces dispatched with Wosner’s characteristic combination of dexterity and interpretive subtlety."
The San Francisco Chronicle, May 24, 2017
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"Wosner’s abandonment of the still prevalent lexigraphic programming practices of so many classical recordings is laudable. It demonstrates that, along with fresh perspectives, unusual juxtapositions, effected with intelligence and taste, may yield a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Don’t miss this satisfying listen!"
Gramophone, June 2017
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"The imagination, humour and whimsy of both composers make them happy companions in the sparkling musicianship of Shai Wosner and Nicholas Collon...Wosner’s notes describe these composers’ use of humour as ‘like two distant relatives sharing an old family joke’.", May 15, 2017
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"The soloist, Shai Wosner, tripped through its pleasures fluently enough, with blissfully clear and bouncy accompaniment from a string quartet rather than Mozart’s original band of strings and winds. Yet memory of the concerto faded the moment Wosner tumbled into Ligeti’s vortex of jagged fortissimos, crazed polyrhythms and flying melodic debris, laid out before him in a crinkly, giant-sized score."
THE TIMES, May 10, 2017
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"For most pianists, playing the Ligeti Piano Concerto would be enough exertion for one night, to be followed by a stiff drink and some down time. Not for the tireless Shai Wosner at Kings Place last night. By the time the Ligeti came along, not only had he already played a Mozart concerto, he then went on to appear in every remaining item in the programme. It was exhausting just to watch – but also exhilarating."
THE ARTS DESK, May 6, 2017
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"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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