piano | Worldwide
Acclaim

The Jupiter String Quartet gave an exciting concert of chamber music on Nov. 30 in the Foellinger Great Hall. The quartet members, Nelson Lee and Meg Freivogel, violins, Liz Freivogel, viola, and Daniel McDonough, cello, were joined by pianist Michael Brown, who is also currently composer in residence with the New Haven Symphony in Connecticut.

Read More...
John Frayne, The News-Gazette (Urbana, Illinois)

Mr. Brown's playing was so clear and thoughtful in the sad and somewhat hesitant piano solo that begins the Andante sostenuto. ... The final movement begins agitato, with Mr. Brown running off a jaunty piano bit before all join in. The piano is in fact quite prominent throughout this Allegro con brio: from a quaint tune to an almost "toy" piano moment, Mr. Brown has it all superbly in hand. 

Read More...
Oberon, Oberon's Grove

Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano...feels inevitably masculine, with a slow build and ultimate denouement that has Beethoven written all over it. But in Michael Brown, Elena Urioste, and Nick Canellakis’s careful hands, the piece became one of humor and intense, witty repartee. An electric, wild flirtation flew through the air between violin and cello for all three movements, drawing a few smiles and wide eyes ...

Read More...
Lucy Gelman, The Arts Paper (New Haven)

Michael Brown at the Steinway played with thrilling verve and clarity [in Prokofiev's D-Major Sonata for Violin and Piano] ... Kristin Lee, a beauty in black, was so impressive in her technical command, with Mr. Brown an ideal colleague in both the passion and beauty of his playing. As the duo embraced at the end of their superb performance, the audience lavished well-deserved cheers upon them.

Read More...
Oberon, Oberon's Grove
Brown's "Folk Variations": Authentic American work from a refined pianist-composer

In the July/August 2017 edition of International Piano, Benjamin Ivry considers the work of Michael Brown in the context of pianist-composers from the time of Clara Schumann to the present. Brown’s Folk Variations, Ivry writes, "is an authentic major work, in which close listening, especially to silence, is treasured. In theme-and-variations form, based around the tune Yankee Doodle, it has the added complexity of not actually including the melody of Yankee Doodle in its thematic section. Instead, Brown explains, Folk Variations ‘rather uses [the song’s] pitches rearranged and stacked vertically to create a more modern “American” sonority.’ One of the most refined of all pianist-composers, Brown may, like Samuil Feinberg, eventually be promoted to the status of composer-pianist." 

Benjamin Ivry, International Piano

Pianists Gilles Vonsattel and Michael Brown played superbly [in Barber's Souvenirs], the opening mark in a concert in which all the performances were at the highest level.

Read More...
George Grella, New York Classical Review

Mr. Brown devised an intriguing program juxtaposing the rarely performed Mendelssohn Preludes and Fugues op. 35 with contemporary works (his own and that of Leonard Bernstein). The underlying theme was, as we heard, that of fugue and variation: a very clever concept representing a thinking pianist rather than the more typical Juilliard-graduate-virtuoso.

Read More...
Roman Markowicz, ConcertoNet.com

An interview / feature on Michael Brown that addresses his background and future as a pianist/composer. 

Read More...
Catherine Yang, The Epoch Times

Violinist Elena Urioste and pianist Michael Brown...are polished, immensely self-assured prizewinners who come from prestigious musical backgrounds...Urioste produces her full-bodied, slightly grainy, always pleasing sound with a physical ease that reflects her long-standing interest in yoga. She is capable of the most exquisitely hushed soft playing, the kind that grabs the heart and holds on to it. Brown, who is also a composer, is an intelligent and musical pianist. 

Read More...
Patrick Rucker, The Washington Post

A large audience in Great Barrington’s Mahaiwe Theater braved the snow and cold for a warm, heartfelt, and satisfying chamber concert on March 18...The young virtuoso pianist, Michael Brown, took Beethoven’s role at the piano in all three works, engaging more and more deeply as the evening proceeded, the house warmed up, and the musicians sorted out the intimate communications which these challenging works require.

Read More...
Carolyn and Eli Newberger, Berkshire Edge
From left, Daniel Müller-Schott and Michael Brown performed Franck’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in A as part of a Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presentation.

Classical musicians face enormous expectations when they play a standard repertory work. Listeners have strong feelings about favorite pieces, even when they are open to fresh interpretive approaches...Franck’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in A [received] an ardent, bold performance by Mr. Müller-Schott and the formidable pianist Michael Brown...The program ended with Dvorak’s Piano Quartet in D (Op. 23), with the violist Paul Neubauer joining Mr. Sussmann, Mr. Müller-Schott and Mr. Brown. It was a lively, dynamic performance. 

Read More...
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

The three young soloists were outstanding — Elena Urioste, violin, Nicholas Canellakis, cello (and the brother of the conductor) and Michael Brown, piano. They played with great familiarity with each other's technique, the cellist being the strongest of the three. Canellakis was, in fact, outstanding in his playing, with a sweet tone and vivacious accuracy. 

The most interesting music was with the soloists, whose intricate melodies blended so well, while the orchestra mainly was accompaniment, except at crucial loud tutti sections.

Read More...
Priscilla McLean, Times Union

There were grooves galore in Brown’s Sonata-Fantasy for Two Pianos, performed with verve by the generation-skipping duo of Brown and Kalish. Errol Garner met Darius Milhaud in the first movement, as ever-shifting rhythms and robust two-piano sonority kept the ear amused...

Read More...
David Wright, New York Classical Review

Providing an even more significant contribution to the performance was gifted pianist-composer and rising star Michael Brown. Notwithstanding the technical demands and often-ferocious difficulties in the piano writing, Brown played glitteringly and with dazzling proficiency, demonstrating a keen understanding of the contemporary idiom that he undoubtedly utilizes as a composer.

Read More...
Erica Miner, bachtrack

They gave a show that anyone, regardless of musical taste or knowledge would have enjoyed. Together they were enthralling and entertaining, and as individuals they were both fascinating in their own way.

Read More...
Leslie Sarinana, The Prospector

The only truly substantial offering came last, when Mr. Brown, Ms. Keefe and Mr. Marica gave a stunning performance of Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor (representing France). Here, finally, was a wealth of delicate surprises, especially in the fascinating array of colors the players produced, from the monastic severity of the deep piano ruminations in the Passacaille to the iridescent halo created by the strings’s harmonics in the Finale.

Read More...
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times

Michael Brown's wonderfully attentive and polished playing of the Steinway [set] the pace

Read More...
Oberon's Grove

The centerpiece of the [Ravel] concerto, a languid, meditative, and lengthy discourse in slow triple meter, requires a different manner of control in order to maintain the listener’s attention, and Mr. Brown masterfully achieved this in his sensitive rendition.

Read More...
Charles Spining, Arizona Daily Sun

One of the two pianists of the evening, Michael Brown, an Avery Fisher Grant recipient and the festival’s commissioned composer, scampered and pounded through the thorny, difficult score with, of all things, a true collaborator’s modesty.

Along with a lucid tone guided by a structurally intelligent mind, Brown brought the same professionalism to the hot, yet crystalline “Trois Chansons de Bilitis” of Debussy with mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, who, along with Phillips, filled out the center of the program with song.

Read More...
Arts Bham

Half the battle with Gottschalk is playing him with utter conviction. Brown won that battle, and brought a light touch to its lyrical moments and beautifully shaded pedaling to its more rambunctious outer sections.

Read More...
John Y Lawrence, Chicago Classical Review

The concert opened with a confident and glittering rendition of Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s “The Union, Concert Paraphrase on National Airs” by the pianist Michael Brown.

Read More...
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times

Michael Brown displayed a virtuosity one could only dream of, turning the Steinway piano into a one-piece marching band complete with trumpet calls and realistic sounding drum rolls with the left hand attacking keys in the bass while playing “Hail, Columbia” with his right hand. More trumpet, more octaves, and a triumphant finish left the audience only wanting for a fireworks reprise.

Read More...
Paul Riegler, Frequent Business Traveler

The work's virtuoso demands were a stroll in the park for Mr. Brown, who simply rippled off the composer's flourishing flights and furbelows with sprightly brilliance.

Read More...
Oberon's Grove

In his short, alluring composition, Mr. Brown wanted to represent the similarities between the four paintings, expanding and reusing motifs throughout the four movements. An enigmatic melody was woven through the transparent first movement. Vivacious flourishes dominated the energetic, denser second section; in the third movement, stark chords rang out with bell-like clarity in the upper register of the piano over insistent lower chords. The opening theme reappeared in the finale, hushed this time.

Read More...
Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times

No single performer with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center had more work cut out for him in the society’s season opener than pianist Michael Brown. The young keyboardist was onstage for four of the six pieces presented at New York’s Kaplan Penthouse on Thursday night, and all complex, demanding compositions, many in the category of 12-tone music.

So it was a relief, and an exhilaration, to see and hear Brown ably run a gantlet of modern classical taskmasters, in order: George Perle, Jonathan Harvey, Andrew Norman and Friedrich Cerha.

 

Read More...
Sean Piccoli, New York Classical Review

In full command of the virtuosic piano part, Brown sparked vigorous yet elegant exchanges with his colleagues.

Read More...
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

In his first concert with CMS, pianist Michael Brown's rippling enticements and poised lyricism in the earlier movements gave way to thrilling virtuosity in the concluding Allegro vivace.

This final movement, taken at an exhilaratingly speedy pace, found all the players reveling in the dancing spirit of the work. A sudden change of pace and mood brought out some of Mr. Brown's most fabulous playing, and then the work sailed on to its invigorating end. The audience's spontaneous reaction and their embrace of the players during the ensuing applause was both joyous and heartfelt.

Read More...
Oberon's Grove

Grieg’s Piano Concerto is a work full of distinct, memorable melodic ideas, and soloist Michael Brown walked a fine line between bombast and sensitivity, displaying the latter especially in his completely solo moments, which had an intimacy to them even in the sometimes-unflattering echoing acoustic of Woolsey Hall. Brown seemed to be having fun spurring the orchestra on, particularly in the third movement, in which the piano’s melodic lines are loaded with the ornamentation of Norwegian fiddle music. 

Read More...
Adam Matlock, New Haven Independent

Trimpin’s piece was paired with three works by American composer George Perle (1915-2009) in Benaroya’s main hall. Morlot, who worked with Perle in the last decade of his life, described his music as “a very beautiful jigsaw puzzle.” That came through in the measured melancholy of “Molto Adagio” for string quartet, the intricate miniatures “Critical Moments” for piano, percussion and chamber players, and Perle’s alternately witty and dreamy small-scale piano concerto, “Serenade No. 3.” Perle’s widow, Shirley Perle, graced the evening with some droll, insightful comments on what makes his music tick.
The pianist was Michael Brown, a champion of Perle’s work. The jaunty precision he and Morlot brought to the music – especially in passages where Brown and percussionist Michael A. Werner had to keep in playful but fiendishly tricky unison – made a cool, clean case for a Perle revival.

Read More...
Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times

These were rewarding performances. The first featured some quite lovely playing, with a flowing gentleness of touch. The second involved a good deal of playing at fast tempos, with a good rhythmic feel and no compromise with dynamics. Its final movement came across with a great deal of energy, which earned Mr. Brown a rare, post-first-set, standing ovation.

Read More...
HARRY SCHROEDER, Konk Life
Total: 48 (Viewing: 1–30)