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Scott Watkins: PRESS

"The uncommon talent of this young pianist is beyond all doubt."
Neue Kronen-Zeitung, Vienna
"A colossal performance, impeccably played, with instances of delicate lyricism."
La Nacion, Buenos Aires
"Praiseworthy was the crystal clarity which he gave to the works - a verve that Bach himself would have undoubtedly appreciated."
The Chicago Tribune
"He is a performer of mature expression and approaches each work with versatility - with renewed vision."
El Mercurio, Santiago, Chile
"Preludes by Debussy found in Watkins a versatile interpreter with ethereal and delicate touches of color."
Die Welt, Frankfurt
"Scott Watkins has the ideal sound for this piece (Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, KV 453) which is so much in the spirit of chamber music. His musicality gave the Andante a very poetic fluidity and the initial Allegro a limpid unity of structure. His most colorful pieces were the final variations, where he allowed the sharpness of his creativity to shine. He has a genuine, measured grace not frequently found in musicians from the United States."
El Pais, Montevideo, Uruguay
" ... a commanding performance ... Watkins deserves a great deal of credit for the new life he breathed into Tchaikovsky's much-performed work (Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Opus 23). Opting for high drama over the syrupy sentimentality with which Tchaikovsky is too often played, his interpretation was fresh, forceful and exciting."
The Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee, Florida
"Watkins impressed us with technical mastery and impeccable execution ... knows how to use the slightest resource to give us a set of pure, clear, perfect creations ... always seeks to penetrate the depths of the music."
La Hora, Quito, Ecuador
"Watkins' driving rhythms generated an electric atmosphere which kept the spectators enthralled right up to the very end."
El Siglo, Caracas, Venezuela
"The audience was enraptured by an exciting performance of Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto. Watkins played with a great deal of confidence, displaying dexterity and sensitivity. The melancholy first movement was played with an underlying lyricism. The second movement's hauntingly holy sound was intriguing ... the third movement was bright and lively, bringing the work to a soaring finale."
The Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee, Florida
"... forcefully dramatic, yet expressively melodic ... His control of the tonal qualities of the instrument was outstanding as he played the sharply accented sounds and often somewhat odd and surprising Debussy Preludes, Book II."
The Daily Jeffersonian, Cambridge, Ohio
"Watkins keeps one ear open at all times for the composer's voice. I marveled more at his outrageously powerful, inexhaustible playing. There are times when it is just plain fun to hear athletically astounding playing."
Rita Landrum - Tryon Daily Bulletin, Tryon, North Carolina
?" ... a remarkably sophisticated program that attracted an enthusiastic audience ... Watkins gave a poised performance of Debussy's L'Isle joyeuse, and got a good deal of mileage out of Norman Dello Joio's breezy Suite for Piano."
The Sun-Sentintal, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
" ... a rousing, virtuosic performance ... excitingly played with finesse and spirit. This was, in sum, a performance of distinction."
William Starr - The State, Columbia, South Carolina
" ... a sparkling performance, from the flourishes of the passage work of the opening section to the finely articulated voicing of the fugue (Bach Toccata in C minor, BWV 911) to the full, lush sound of romanticism (Liszt Sonetto del Petrarca No. 104) ... a splendid performance."
The Press Journal, Vero Beach, Florida
" ... rare enough to be called singular. The Impromptu in A flat major, DV 899, No. 4, was nearly perfect in every way. Never had I heard the important musical lines so beautifully presented in this frequently programmed work. I don't often find myself sitting through a concert having more thoughts about the composer than about the performer, yet this is an easy and honest way to determine the integrity of a musician. What a noble, novel thing it is ..."
Rita Landrum - Tryon Daily Bulletin, Tryon, North Carolina
"Watkins' playing is beyond reproach. He is a polished player in his prime."
Jeff Grove - Folio Weekly
Watkins’ performance exemplified the fact that
he possess a great deal of intellect, diligence and
talent. He was most certainly a worthy ambassador
to celebrate the 250th birth date of Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart. I was especially impressed by the manner in
which Scott performed Mozart. Mozart’s music
is very difficult to play because of its clarity and
simplicity. Every scale pattern, arpeggio and
chord must be played evenly with absolute accuracy
or it will be easily noticed by even
untrained ears. Scott was able to perform this
music so that it was appealing, interesting and
entertaining to the audience. Scott’s ability to
maintain a definite sense of timing was obvious
throughout the performance. The many moments
of silence were always of the correct length. His
performance of the slower movements of the
sonatas was special because of his artistic shaping
of the phrases and the control of the softer
dynamics. The broad range of dynamics was definitely
a positive characteristic of the performance.
The loud dynamics were solid and powerful,
while the soft dynamics were delicate and
controlled. The entire
performance was a real musical pleasure for the
many people who were in attendance.
Max Treier, Adjudications Coordinator, Ohio Music Educators Assoc. - The Daily Jeffersonian, Cambridge, Ohio (Mar 1, 2006)
"The audience rose to a standing ovation for the Tchaikovsky Grand Sonata in G major [which] had been played with power, insight and clarity..."
Albert Chappelear - The Daily Jeffersonian, Cambridge, Ohio (Oct 11, 2000)
Watkins plays this music “splendidly, bringing a fine balance of colorful tonality and elegance” to the works.
Peter Burwasser - Fanfare Magazine (Jan 15, 2015)
"Watkins offers an enterprising triptych of formally traditional but stylistically varied sonatas spanning seven decades. He plays authoritatively and expressively."
Scott Cantrell - The Dallas Morning News (Jan 16, 2015)
"American pianist Scott Watkins performed music of Bartók, Hanson, and Debussy last weekend, in a program that was well suited to his particular pianistic and musical gifts. A keen intellect was immediately apparent in his opener, the Piano Sonata Sz. 80 (1926) by Béla Bartók (1881-1945), which drew upon his laser-like focus, faultless memory, and considerable analytic grasp. It was bold and bracing in its relentless rhythms without ever devolving into the earsplitting harshness that one so often hears in this piece."

"The rest of the first half consisted of a remarkable discovery (or rediscovery), the Piano Sonata in A Minor, Op. 11 (1918), by the prominent American composer Howard Hanson (1896-1981) in its first New York City performance. Mr. Watkins [played] with excellent attention to detail and respect for the score ... [and] with the fidelity of a music historian."

"Debussy’s Préludes Book II were a good match for Mr. Watkins’ gifts. Despite the tendency of many pianists to use the excuse of “impressionism” to run wild and drown some of these twelve pieces in pedal, we know that Debussy was against such abuse, and Mr. Watkins gets it right. He plays with the requisite clarity, but with great sweeps and washes of sound when required. These were excellent performances."

"There was delicacy in Bruyères and a haunting quality in Feuilles mortes. Mr. Watkins' “straight man” approach enhanced the fun of “Général Lavine” – eccentric and Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq., P. P. M. P. C. Les tierces alternées (No. 11) was also a highlight. Mr. Watkins was extremely impressive in his handling of its exposed technical challenges. While it is not this listener’s favorite Prélude, it took a prize for sheer digital prowess. Feux d’artifice (No. 12) was a brilliant close, played with vivid imagination and fire. All in all, it was a highly praiseworthy concert – a fulfilling musical evening."