REVIEWS

Roberto Plano: Franz Liszt Harmonies Poétiques et religieuses, by Michael Straeter - The Italian pianist Roberto Plano has recorded  Liszt's cycle Harmonies poétiques et religieuses (1853 version, S 173) for the Decca label. This cycle with its long and complicated history... Read More

Roberto Plano: Franz Liszt Harmonies Poétiques et religieuses, by Michael Straeter

– The Italian pianist Roberto Plano has recorded  Liszt’s cycle Harmonies poétiques et religieuses (1853 version, S 173) for the Decca label. This cycle with its long and complicated history of origin and change, whose best known piece – and probably most clearly outstanding in the the cycle’s context  –  would probably be Funérailles, stands alone in Liszt’s creation. His versions (and the many versions of its parts) characterize not only Liszt’s lifelong search for the  musical expression of his religiosity and religious aesthetic, but they are also the seeds of crystallization in his development as composer and artist.

Complete recordings, especially of earlier versions of the cycle, like that of 1847, are unfortunately rare. Roberto Plano, who likewise decided on the currently best known version, the printed edition of 1853, has achieved great success with this recording. Because at every moment he is able to  devote himself to the entire complexity of expression of the cycle, to immerse himself in the cycle without letting himself be swept away, without giving preference to any single musical thought in the face of the great dominant attitude. Silent prayer, sorrow bordering on growing silent, hymnic pathos, visionary ecstasy, religious (and erotic) yearning – this and still other colors may be found in the spectrum of the cycle. Plano doesn’t smudge them, and doesn’t apply them with a wide brush. At times his presentation even has the courage to attend the fragmentary, that which isolates the detail.  Plano succeeds so to speak in shining light  into the tiniest corner of the score and brings many a jewel to light. His playing exudes great maturity, calm, and mastery and never seems forced.  There seems to be no limit to his pianistic expressiveness and – what is more — it stands totally in the service of the composition being played.

Plano does not rely on traditional interpretation patterns and showmanship,  he has convincingly developed  his own interpretation, to be taken quite seriously, whose interpretive and musical beauties cannot be recounted here in detail. And so it must be seen as logical that he also deviated from the usual in his choice of instrument and selected the F278 Fazioli concert piano, called »Mago Merlino« – an instrument one must kneel to, whose beauty of sound in this significant recording with Roberto Plano one can hardly get enough of.

Michael Straeter

DEUTSCHE LISZT-GESELLSCHAFT

Piano from a lofty Plano, by Elisa Birdseye

THE BOSTON MUSICAL INTELLINGENCER

It's a beautiful day for a concert, let's hear two, by Greg Hettmansberger

GREG HETTMANSBERGER, WhatGregSays

Roberto Plano appeared last season in a four-piano concert in the Salon Piano Series at Farley’s House of Pianos. This year, to open the 2017-18 season in the same series on last Sunday afternoon, the Boston-based pianist brought along his pianist... Read More

Roberto Plano appeared last season in a four-piano concert in the Salon Piano Series at Farley’s House of Pianos. This year, to open the 2017-18 season in the same series on last Sunday afternoon, the Boston-based pianist brought along his pianist wife, Paola Del Negro, for a duo program of utter fascination

Read the full article clicking on the link below

Classical music: Farley’s underappreciated Salon Piano Series shines again with duo-pianists Robert Plano and Paola Del Negro

JACOB STOCKINGER, The Well-Tempered Ear

Plano Debut Lifts Gloom by Michael Johnson

THE BOSTON MUSICAL INTELLIGENCER

"Symphony review: Sounds of Europe is an infectious triumph", by R. F. Yeager

PENSACOLA JOURNAL

Roberto Plano’s broadly conceived, brilliantly executed recital Thursday at Brock Recital Hall was a reminder that virtuosity is not limited to flashy showmanship; it is a union of mind and heart. In Birmingham to judge Samford University’s Morris Piano Festival... Read More

Roberto Plano’s broadly conceived, brilliantly executed recital Thursday at Brock Recital Hall was a reminder that virtuosity is not limited to flashy showmanship; it is a union of mind and heart.

In Birmingham to judge Samford University’s Morris Piano Festival and Competition and to conduct master classes, the Italian pianist delivered a wide-ranging program that spanned two centuries. Most remarkable was the opening set of five seemingly disparate works, performed without pause, that Plano molded into a cohesive whole.

The simplicity of Andrea Luchesi’s Andante in F major, played with transparency and delight, began the set. A champion of this lesser-known 18th century composer, Plano has recorded several works by him, in the process unearthing a cadenza for a Mozart concerto that Luchesi penned. From there, Plano unhesitatingly time-traveled to the 20th century for Luciano Berio’s “Wasserklavier” and “Luftklavier” before retreating to a sonata by Domenico Cimarosa, a contemporary of Luchesi and Mozart. He ended in 1997 Turkey with Fazil Say’s “Black Earth,” a folk-driven score inspired by a song by Turkish poet and songwriter Aşık Veysel.

Connections were seamless and remarkably lucid, Plano tying each final note to a new beginning. The music he chose mattered, but so did his execution.

Three Preludes by Claude Debussy, each capturing a different aspect of Impressionism, followed. The Spanish rhythms and bluesy harmonies of “La Puerta del vino” led to the cloudy whole-tone evocations of “Voiles” and vivid urgency of “Ce qu’a vu le vent d’Ouest.”

Two works from Franz Liszt’s “Harmonies poetiques et réligieuses” bridged the intermission, Plano tapping into the sweep, grandeur and introspection of “Invocation” and “Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude.” Brahms’ Theme and Variations in D minor further affirmed Plano’s wide expressive palette, the work’s powerful runs and brooding temperament coalescing into poetic majesty.

Alberto Ginastera’s five-movement “Suite de danzas criollas” brought out the pianist’s jazzier side with its slow, yearning harmonies and plaintive melodies, ending with a show of pianistic strength in the muscular finale. Plano took it a notch further in the encore, Friedrich Gulda’s “Play Piano Play” No. 6, a technical tour de force of jazz rides and impossibly fast repeated notes and scales.

ARTS BHAM

NBSO season off to a spellbinding start, by Laurie Robertson-Laurant

THE STANDARD TIMES

MUSIC REVIEW: Plano Recital - pianist makes stunning local debut at Auer Hall, by Peter Jacobi When one thinks about it, there must be an awful large number of good pianists around the world today, maybe an over population. They... Read More

MUSIC REVIEW: Plano Recital – pianist makes stunning local debut at Auer Hall, by Peter Jacobi

When one thinks about it, there must be an awful large number of good pianists around the world today, maybe an over population. They just keep coming along, new talents introduced on recordings or making debuts in one or another concert hall or winning a prestigious competition, new and younger talents still working at their craft in schools and conservatories but already showing their promise. We’ve heard more than a handful of pianists during the past month, visitors who came because of the Edward Auer Piano Workshop or the Summer Piano Academy, visitors with names familiar and not so. The name Roberto Plano was among those barely known to me, even though he offers a biography already laden with achievements. Just read his bio in the Summer Music program and be amazed. Fortunately, his prowess was better known to Karen Taylor, the highly knowledgeable director of the Piano Academy, who wisely enticed him to come here. On Tuesday evening in Auer Hall, Roberto Plano made his local debut. It was nothing less than stunning. This fellow truly commands the piano, lovingly but with absolute control. There were moments, extended moments, when he was accomplishing feats not meant to be accomplished. Granted, I’ve felt that way from time to time about others during my decades of listening. But I’m going to be following Signor Plano’s career more carefully. He is most assuredly a technical wizard, fun to watch and listen to. Fortunately, he’s more than that. In a recital of unusual selections, he proved his innate musicality. There were no sonatas on his program; that’s a departure from the norm. But he chose repertoire definitely worthy of his attention and ours. How could he fail to win favor with music of Bedrich Smetana to open: “Sketches,” four of them with a lyricism to melt the heart, and short sound paintings called “Characteristic Pieces,” a flamboyant one “To Robert Schumann,” an outdoors “Wayfarer’s Song,” and a topsy-turvy “It boils and it roars.” Plano gave Smetana’s very Czech music almost an improvisatory feel, fresh and free, and yet also the clarity that comes from careful preparation. From the wide swath of keyboard material that Alexander Scriabin left, Plano first took the Prelude and Nocturne for the Left Hand, display items requiring control and sensitivity; the Nocturne proved particularly radiant. To the composer’s Two Impromptus, Opus 14, he awarded color while highlighting their unusual sonorities, bridging Romanticism and Modernity. Scriabin’s “Vers la flamme,” (“Toward the Flame”) is a showpiece that increasingly dazzles and contains an almost uncontainable climax, of which the pianist made the most. Dealing with Debussy means, as a given, that the pianist must conquer technical mountains, which Plano did in three of the Preludes. To the technical conquest he added the other must: mood. “Voiles” (“Sails”) made one feel the wind and water. “La Puerto del Vino: Mouvements de Habanera” (“The Door to the Vineyard: in the Motion of a Habanera”) was thrillingly Spanish in essence. “La cathedrale engloutie” (“The Sunken Cathedral”) is a sonic marvel deeply suggestive of the title, and Plano fully caught its mystery. “Sursum Corda” (“Lift Up Your Hearts”) from Franz Liszt’s “Annees de Pelerinage,” his reflections on travels made, was realized up to its mighty climax and served as pathway to one of the composer’s most interesting and demanding operatic paraphrases, “Reminiscences de Norma,” built on themes from Bellini’s “Norma.” The technical demands here are superhuman. Plano more than met them. His performance was absolutely breathtaking. 12/07/2014

HERALD TIMES

Review: Roberto Plano balances brain and brawn, by Adam Parker In an eclectic program Tuesday night at the Sottile Theatre, pianist Roberto Plano offered a fine balance of braininess and passion. No matter what he played, whether Scarlatti, Smetana or... Read More

Review: Roberto Plano balances brain and brawn, by Adam Parker

In an eclectic program Tuesday night at the Sottile Theatre, pianist Roberto Plano offered a fine balance of braininess and passion. No matter what he played, whether Scarlatti, Smetana or Liszt, the young Italian carried it off with a relaxed technique and demeanor that betrayed little ego. Plano’s evident goal was to do justice to the music. Plano’s recital was part of the College of Charleston’s International Piano Series, one of four offered this school year. The first half of his program was an experiment. Plano decided to inject short ballades by the contemporary Turkish pianist-composer Fazil Say between works by Italian composers working primarily in the 18th century. The best of the first half was the pair of sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, played with flair and feeling. The rarely heard sonatas in the Classical style by Galuppi, Luchesi and Cimarosa were perfectly articulated, with great care given to the voicing. Plano had a way of letting the melodies played by the right hand ring out strongly while the left hand provided harmony and texture that was itself distinct even if played more softly. The fireworks came in the second half, first with a pair of short, lovely Impromptus (op. 14) by Alexander Scriabin. For all of Plano’s apparent interest in the Classical repertoire, he played this late-Romantic work with an extra degree of love and admiration. The braininess and passion still mixed in equal proportion, but the result – that gush of sound – was much more invigorating. Smetana followed Scriabin: Sketches, op. 4. This was a set of four short pieces, “Prelude,” “Idyll,” “Memory” and “Persistent Endeavor,” which Plano delivered in a way that satisfied the part of the brain that controls basic emotions, I think it’s called the amygdala, while at the same time feeding the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which controls executive functions and abstract reasoning. That’s the particular magic of Plano: he gets you to feel and think simultaneously. The concert ended with a truly sensational interpretation of Liszt’s piano transcriptions of Isolde’s Liebestod from Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” and the Miserere from Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.” Here, all of Plano’s skills – his excellent technique, braininess, self-effacement and soul-stirring expressivity – reached their apex. The Liebestod was especially moving, with its tremolos and bittersweet melody; the Miserere was a feat only the finest of pianists can pull off. Besides being big and loud, it covers the full range of the keyboard and embeds the melody in the middle voice while both hands are playing fast arpeggios. Plano, despite the speed at which his fingers flew, made every note clear and brought forth the melody for all to hear. It was a stunning performance. He returned to the stage to play a short encore by the 20th century Austrian pianist-composer Friedrich Gulda, and pushed the Steinway to its limit with fast, staccato, two-handed rhythmic flurries that combined classical and jazz styles. It was a show piece, and great fun. Plano’s hands were a blur. 23/01/2014

THE POST AND COURIER

Andrea Luchesi - Sonates et rondos pour piano - Roberto Plano, piano, di Pierre Vassal

CLIC MUSIQUE

La Printomnale d'Intermezzo: un concert plain de folie, de gaieté et de tendresse - Un quatour de pianistes se dispute un clavier, pour le meilleure et pour le rire. Vittorio Forte, Paola Del Negro, Roberto Plano et Ines Maleviolles étaient... Read More

La Printomnale d’Intermezzo: un concert plain de folie, de gaieté et de tendresse – Un quatour de pianistes se dispute un clavier, pour le meilleure et pour le rire. Vittorio Forte, Paola Del Negro, Roberto Plano et Ines Maleviolles étaient déchainés, entre virtuosité et gags
by Catherine Poncet

LE DAUPHINE' LIBERE'

Memorable kickoff to 2012-13 Tupelo Symphony season by Robert Bruce Smith TUPELO – Area music lovers are in for a real treat if the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra’s new 2012-13 season lives up to its fine opening performance at Link Centre... Read More

Memorable kickoff to 2012-13 Tupelo Symphony season by Robert Bruce Smith

TUPELO – Area music lovers are in for a real treat if the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra’s new 2012-13 season lives up to its fine opening performance at Link Centre Concert Hall on Saturday, Oct. 20.
Madly frolicking Ukrainian witches, sensuous Oriental dances, plus the incredible Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 – music director Steven Byess and his energized TSO musicians pulled out all the stops to give their packed-house audience an extraordinary evening of Russian-themed sonic brilliance.
Things quickly got underway with 19th-century Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s seasonally-appropriate dance of spooky horror, “Night on Bald Mountain.” Neglected during the composer’s lifetime, it was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (another Russian musical great) who ultimately turned Mussorgsky’s macabre tone poem into the spectacular orchestral showpiece we usually hear today. In 1940, Walt Disney featured its wildly colorfully music in his beloved film classic, “Fantasia.”
Depicting witches ceremonially cavorting on an eerie Ukrainian mountaintop at midnight, “Bald Mountain’s” wild musical mayhem received a stellar performance in Tupelo. Obviously determined to make opening night unforgettably dazzling, Byess and the TSO interpreted Mussorgsky’s savage rhythms and wailing melodies with astonishing force. One listener thoroughly blown away by the TSO’s fiery music-making was well-known Tupelo filmmaker Rex Harsin. During intermission he told me “There’s one word you’ve got to use in describing ‘Bald Mountain,’ and that’s ‘intoxicating.’” Well here it is, Rex, “Intoxicating” – and was it ever!
Alexander Borodin’s lively and exotic “Polovtsian Dances” came next.
Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra in C minor occupied the evening’s second half. Debuted in Moscow more than 100 years ago, “Rach-2” (as it’s widely known) now tracks near the top of virtually every chart devoted to worldwide classical favorites. You’ve got to be either very foolish or very good even to imagine yourself capable of performing this fiendishly difficult 32-minute spellbinder in public. At times, the score is almost totally black with lightning-fast notes.
Joining the TSO in performing Rach-2 last Saturday was award-winning Italian pianist Roberto Plano, who quickly showed he had that rare blend of dazzling technique and lyrical musicianship indispensable for breathing life into Rachmaninoff’s passionately Romantic phrases.
Charmingly modest as he seated himself before the TSO’s gleaming black Steinway, Plano was soon roaring like a lion as the concerto’s immensely powerful first movement rhythmically unfolded in all its glistening multihued turbulence. Likewise in the remaining two movements, Plano shared a sense of intense musical camaraderie with orchestra and instrumental soloists – especially with flute and clarinet in the dreamy Adagio – that made Rach-2’s dynamically explosive grand finale particularly joyful and incandescent.
In addition to this exciting performance however, the night’s artist also had an unusual musical extra up his sleeve. Returning onstage for further bows, Plano then said he wanted to “relax,” take off his tailcoat, and play “something I put together just for Tupelo.” So what does a personable European piano virtuoso…star of great symphony halls…winner of the coveted Cleveland Competition, etc., choose to offer an admiring Tupelo audience?
Elvis.
Oh yes! Plano gave us an Elvis medley (“Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” “Love Me Tender,” “Now or Never,” plus two others) performed with the kind of effortless pizzazz and masterful simplicity only truly great artists can effectively pull off. The King would doubtless have been delighted – and on this happy note did the TSO kick off its 41st season of bringing great symphonic music to the people of Northeast Mississippi.

DAILY JOURNAL

Bravostürme im Rittersaal: Vom Rokoko zu romantischer Klangpracht, by Christel Voith Link

SCHWABISCHE ZEITUNG

BRAHMS Piano Sonata No. 3 in f. 6 Piano Pieces, op. 118  Roberto Plano (pn)  ARKTOS 200691 (65:52) - Review by Jerry Dubins The name Robert Plano sounded so familiar to me, I was sure I’d encountered him... Read More

BRAHMS Piano Sonata No. 3 in f. 6 Piano Pieces, op. 118  Roberto Plano (pn)  ARKTOS 200691 (65:52) – Review by Jerry Dubins

The name Robert Plano sounded so familiar to me, I was sure I’d encountered him somewhere on disc before. But search as I might through reviews past and present, not only could I not find anything by him I’d reviewed myself, but nothing showed up for him as a header in the Fanfare archive. But it kept nagging at me and so I kept digging. At last I found it. There it was in the Collections section of the 30:2 (Nov-Dec, 2006) issue, under the heading of “ENCORE!” a review of the finalists at the 12th Annual Van Cliburn International Competition, and buried within it was a single mention of Robert Plano as one of the top prize winners. At least it reassured me that I wasn’t hallucinating…again. If you visit Plano’s website (robertplano.com), you’ll find that he has quite a few CDs to his credit, but most are on small or private labels that don’t have much presence in the U.S., and so you will not find them listed on the major mail order sites. I gather from the current release that it’s underwritten or somehow sponsored by Honens, Canada’s leading presenter of piano music and founder of the Honens International Piano Competition, of which Plano is the 2003 Laureate. Plano is an Italian pianist with a trophy-room full of awards and international concertizing career. Yet, despite his having recorded a number of CDs for various labels (as noted above), you could say that this 2006 Canadian disc, is Plano’s debut to Fanfare’s readers, and it comes in major, heavily contested repertoire. Among Brahms’s earliest solo piano works are three epic sonatas, the last of them in F Minor and in five movements, being the biggest of the three. Herculean as it is, the colossus is easily conquered by Plano’s steely strength and resolute determination. He possesses the muscle and endurance to exert control over the score, but having subjugated its combative Allegro maestoso, Plano offers his captive a genuine gesture of kindness and compassion in the Andante espressivo. Snapping out of metaphor mode, I’m simply saying that Plano has both the technical and musical aspects of Brahms’s sonata fully within his grasp. This is a performance at once as powerful as it is poetic. There are lots of alternatives, of course, to consider. I omit Hardy Rittner from this list, for though his recent recording of the piece impressed me very favorably, he is engaged in recording Brahms’s solo piano works on instruments of the composer’s period, so his version is in a different category. But for performances on modern concert grands I was so taken with an entry by Sheila Arnold in 32:3 that I declared it to be my new benchmark for Brahms’s Third Sonata for some time to come. I won’t say that with the arrival of Plano Arnold’s time has come and gone, but I can say that he runs her a race too close to call. Forty years later, in 1893, at the age of 60, Brahms composed his penultimate set of works for solo piano, the six pieces of op. 118. Finding themselves far removed from the content, form, style, and expression of the youthful sonatas, not all pianists are equally comfortable in late Brahms. I’ve previously sung the praises of Nicholas Angelich in these valedictory pieces, but I very much like Plano’s way with them as well. He takes a few liberties with the scores, namely, introducing subtle luftpausen at phrase junctures and points of articulation, but I find them quite in keeping with the poignant character of the music; they seem to enrich the wistful nostalgia inherent in these very personal, intimate utterances. With this release, Plano proves himself a significant keyboard talent and a Brahms interpreter of keen insight. Plano’s piano is not identified, but the recording of it captured by Arktos’s engineers in the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta, is open and natural sounding, and has excellent depth and dimensionality. Strongly recommended. Jerry Dubins

FANFARE MAGAZINE

LUCHESI, PIANO SONATAS AND RONDOS, by Massimo Rolando Zegna (translated by Mic D'Avanzo) For years, Andrea Luchesi has been at the center of a musical case. Born in Motta Di Livenza (province of Treviso, Italy) in 1741, he then moved... Read More

LUCHESI, PIANO SONATAS AND RONDOS, by Massimo Rolando Zegna (translated by Mic D’Avanzo)

For years, Andrea Luchesi has been at the center of a musical case. Born in Motta Di Livenza (province of Treviso, Italy) in 1741, he then moved to Venice at age fifteen, where he developed and affirmed himself as an organist and composer (concerts, cantatas, sonatas, masses and other sacred music). In 1771, invited by the Prince Elector Archbishop of Cologne Maximilian Friederich, he joined the court in Bonn. In 1774, he was nominated official court Kapellmeister, succeeding the deceased Ludwig van Beethoven, grandfather of the namesake author of the “Eroica” symphony. Luchesi died in 1801, after the Bonn court was ended by the invading French troops in 1794. Appreciated in life, and ignored by history, Luchesi has made a comeback after certain extreme hypothesis have been advanced: that not only was he Beethoven’s teacher and one of the pillars of Viennese Classicism, but also the author of compositions normally attributed to Mozart and Haydn. This discussion has triggered a certain –still somewhat circumscribed—interest amongst musicians and musical producers. In this context arrives this recording by Roberto Plano, the thirty-three year old pianist mostly known in the United States for his victory at the Cleveland International Piano Competition. He offers thirteen Sonatas and two Rondos by Luchesi: almost all edited works where Plano has intervened, correcting a few printing errors. The recording displays linear execution with a dry sound that however moves on a “confidential” registry, with the intent to highlight the profundity of the sentiments expressed by Luchesi. 22/02/2012

AMADEUS, Italy

LUCHESI, PIANO SONATAS AND RONDOS, by Luca Segalla (translated by Mic D'Avanzo) Roberto Plano, winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition, fishes out of the magical hat of history these splendid and unknown sonatas by Andrea Luchesi (Motta Di... Read More

LUCHESI, PIANO SONATAS AND RONDOS, by Luca Segalla (translated by Mic D’Avanzo)

Roberto Plano, winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition, fishes out of the magical hat of history these splendid and unknown sonatas by Andrea Luchesi (Motta Di Livenza, 1741- Bonn, 1801), and records them as a world premiere. They are luscious passages; probably to be placed in the decade between 1760 and 1770, and with its slow movements, immersed in the last reflexes of the gallant style, one glimpses into a new sensibility. Of great interest is the Andante in the first “Sonata in Do Maggiore”, with a melody that is loosely adagio (mollemente adagiata) on an Alberti’s bass that at one point –unexpectedly—slips into minor mode, as often happens in Mozart-era andantes and adagios. The thirty-three year old pianist from Varese highlights the piece’s delicate nuances, finding the sublime in a seemingly simple and unsophisticated passage. In the rapid successive movement, a miniscule Allegro, he instead displays an exceptional digital liveliness, again displayed in the swift and quite pleasing final Allegro of the “Sonata in Fa Maggiore” which closes the disc. This passage is characterized by an Opera Buffa vivacity which emerges multiple times in Luchesi sonatas. Elsewhere, we find a more specifically instrumental rhythmic verve of Scarlatti imprint, as in the case of the second “Sonata in Do Maggiore”. The virtuoso liveliness with which these passages are rendered is always accompanied by an elegant phrasing, sustained by an excellent Legato; a phrasing of high class and very piano-oriented, not inclined to the bizarreness of harpsichordists’ phrasing. Certain pianists act like illusionists, recreating on the piano the old sonorities of the harpsichord. Glenn Gould even invented a completely artificial sound, neither resembling that of a piano or a harpsichord. Other musicians, on the other hand, do not abandon the specificity of the piano, as was the case of Maria Tipo in her renditions of Scarlatti’s sonatas and of Andrea Bacchetti in those of Bach. Plano belongs to this latter group, even though the polished and scintillating sound of this record is quite unique. Examples of this sonority are found in the delicate incanti of the first “Sonata in Si Bemolle Maggiore” rendered with soft grace, in one movement, an Andante suspended between major and minor mode. Bacchetti’s name was not mentioned randomly. Plano in fact adds an important piece to the rediscovery of eighteenth century Italian musical keyboard heritage, a rediscovery which first began in recorded form over thirty years ago with Pietro Spada’s renditions of Cherubini and then was continued by the aforementioned Bacchetti with his recent discs dedicated to Cherubini and Galuppi. That this heritage was a mine worth digging did not go unnoticed. In the 1920s, musical students like Fausto Torrefranca, in part for nationalistic reasons, were retracing the roots of Mozart’s instrumental music to composers such as Giovanni Marco Rutini. There is a connection, after all, between Mozart and Andrea Luchesi himself. For the past twenty years, they have been at the center of a complicated musical case. In fact, according to the research of the late Giorgio Taboga, Luchesi –who was Kapellmeister at Bonn from 1771 to his death– was not only a teacher to a young Beethoven but also the author of numerous compositions normally attributed to Mozart and Haydn. This is not the place to enter into this very thorny debate. In any case, there is no doubt about the absolute quality of those sonatas that are undisputedly attributed to Luchesi. The talent of the composer from Motta Di Livenza is self-evident, even without embracing the plagiarism thesis sustained by Taboga. 22/12/2012

MUSICA, Italy

JCA Delivers With Plano Concert, by Robert W. Plyler Once again, the Jamestown Concert Association has brought a brilliant concert pianist, to perform in Jamestown. Friday evening, Roberto Plano dazzled an enthusiastic audience at St.Luke's Episcopal Church with a program... Read More

JCA Delivers With Plano Concert, by Robert W. Plyler

Once again, the Jamestown Concert Association has brought a brilliant concert pianist, to perform in Jamestown. Friday evening, Roberto Plano dazzled an enthusiastic audience at St.Luke’s Episcopal Church with a program so varied and so spectacular, it was difficult to believe that it could all be performed by one man. Plano has performed in Jamestown before, nine years ago, when he had recently won the Cleveland International Piano Competition. At that time, his English was so limited that he could only speak a few words to the audience. This time he spoke quite a bit, explaining piano techniques, interesting facts about the composers, and the intent of the compositions. He began with a transcription by Franz Liszt of Beethoven’s ”Symphony No. 2 in D Major, S464.” Before beginning, Plano explained that before the invention of records and other music reproduction, even professional musicians might go their entire lives without hearing the music of great composers, unless they could afford a ticket to a live performance – especially for music which was created for a full orchestra. To help more people to hear Beethoven’s music, Liszt arranged much of it, including his famously huge symphonies, to be performed upon a single piano. To hear the various modes and motifs which run throughout the music, all performed by Plano, was a delicious treat. It lacked the sound colors of the full orchestra, but the skeleton of the music was very much there. Following intermission, he returned with four short works by Claude Debussy. The pianist explained the Debussy liked to compose with a visual image in mind – often a well-known painting. He would give these short works a name, but he would put it in parentheses, at the end of the piece, in the hope that the audience would form its own visual images, then would compare them with the image he himself had used. The performed pieces were ”Des Pas sur le Neige,” or ”Footprints in the snow,” ”La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin,” or ”The Girl with Flaxen Hair,” ”La Cathedrale Egloutie,” or ”The Sunken Cathedral,” and ”L’Isle Joyeuse,” or ”The Isle of the Blessed.” His ability to perform a vast curtain of sound, from which rich melodies stood out, sometimes faintly, sometimes boldly, was thrilling, and won much applause. The final work, before two encores, was ”Reminiscences de Norma, R. 133,” once again by Liszt. This time, he explained that the work was created by Liszt, using melodies and harmonies from the opera ”Norma,” by Bellini. He explained that Liszt enjoyed developing new piano techniques, to enlarge the language of sounds which he could employ. In this case, he was using what has been called ”the Third Arm,” in which both hands are doing elaborate arpeggios, up and down the whole width of the keyboard, while the thumbs play out a lovely, legato melody, as they pass the middle keys At times his hands moved so quickly, one could only see a blur above the piano keys. It was stunning technique and beautifully evocative and emotional, at the same time. All in all, it was a thrilling evening of music. The next concert in the JCA series will be Nov. 30 at the Reg Lenna Civic Center, when Symphony Syracuse will perform a holiday pops concert. 12/11/2001

THE POST-JOURNAL - Jamestown, NY - Usa

GF Symphony: Kudos to guest Roberto Plano, by William Martin

THE CHRONICLE - Glens Falls, NY, Usa

GFSO piano soloist crosses borders to great effect, by Geraldine Freedman

THE DAILY GAZETTE, Schenectady, NY, Usa

Resounding Cosmos First Concert in the Series “Earthquake”: Roberto Plano with Pianistic High Culture, by Elfi Braschel (translated by Penrith Goff) There are indeed a number of excellent pianists on an equally high level. But hardly has one felt there... Read More

Resounding Cosmos First Concert in the Series “Earthquake”: Roberto Plano with Pianistic High Culture, by Elfi Braschel (translated by Penrith Goff)

There are indeed a number of excellent pianists on an equally high level. But hardly has one felt there could be no higher level, along comes someone like Roberto Plano and proves there is. With on the one hand highly charged, on the other hand deeply sensitive interpretations he delighted and overwhelmed the visitors in the nearly sold-out Kiesel in K42 on Sunday morning at the initial performance of the concert series of young artists. The Italian pianist is distinguished by numerous competition successes and he can present a list of renowned conductors and orchestras with which he has already given concerts. Many artists are brilliant technicians but somewhat lacking in expressiveness or vice versa. Rarely is one successful, as Plano is, in combining both in a flawless unity, to be technically brilliant on the one hand and at the same time to let profound emotions speak. The striking of the first chord causes one to listen attentively: voluminous, emphatic, and reverberative. How Plano then plumbs the very depths of the music of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, D major op. 36 in Franz Liszt’s transcription is a revelation, a resounding, undulating sound experience. Completely one with the music and without cheap showmanship Plano achieves a result of seductive effect. In narrative fashion with much gesture he conjures up the sound world of an entire orchestra, full of emotion, full of pathos from which he can in a flash change over to fascinatingly animated sounds. Charmingly and intimately Plano begins the second movement, which then gradually and with marked accents expands to a broader, more lively flowing cosmos of sound. At times he revels in majestic chords, then in sensuous arpeggios or plunging cascades. His playing has an elegant effect and yet it is filled with passionate power and intensity. Soft, dreamily, almost like the music of spheres Plano begins the Preludes of Debussy, which are dipped in pianissimo; it is like a gentle drifting on the waves of sound with chords scattered about, clear as the peal of bells. But here too the sound is voluminous and powerful. Plano fascinates with sculpted staccato as precise as a metronome. His runs, accurate and gently pearling or murmuring like a spring, are a dream. And how is it possible, in a fraction of a second, after hushed tones, soft as silk and dabbed in with celestial weightlessness, to change to a stormy, unleashed earthy force! In this fashion he also dresses “l’Ile joyeuse” in a shimmering, rainbow-hued garment of sound. Plano closes his concert with “Reminiscences of Norma” by Franz Liszt. Masterfully and with perfect ease Plano completes a magic and a wealth of sound with all the volume of four hands. Wildly hammering staccatos follow gently bubbling runs and flow into breathtaking superlatives of sound. Roberto Plano showed what a modest person he is with four encores in generous response to the enthusiastic reaction of the enraptured audience. In his homeland the Italian pianist is a star. With such outstanding presentations as the one in Kiesel, it cannot be long until he begins his triumphal procession through the concert houses of Germany. 25/10/2011

SÜDKURIER - Germany

Roberto Plano returns to Birmingham with triumphant Chopin, Liszt, by Michael Huebner Friday, Brock Recital Hall, Samford University Davis Architects Guest Artist Series Five stars out of five Roberto Plano has performed three recitals in Birmingham since 2007. The first... Read More

Roberto Plano returns to Birmingham with triumphant Chopin, Liszt, by Michael Huebner

Friday, Brock Recital Hall, Samford University Davis Architects Guest Artist Series Five stars out of five Roberto Plano has performed three recitals in Birmingham since 2007. The first time was a charm. The third was pure magic. Despite the icy roads, the 31-year-old Italian pianist nearly filled Brock Recital Hall Friday night. The intrepid listeners heard a program of Chopin and Liszt that was as close to flawless as you’re likely to experience. Two Chopin Nocturnes, from Op. 55, played out like intimate conversations, as gentle and evocative as a quiet summer evening. Plano hung on every note, basking in the sonorities and enticing the audience to do the same. He used the sustain pedal to great advantage in the “Polonaise-Fantasie” in A flat, Op. 61, each phrase rising, blending or receding to the next. The grace and charm in a set of mazurkas led to a fiery Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp minor, Op. 39, its banks of chords alternating with high-flying flourishes, all played with remarkable precision. For many listeners, Franz Liszt’s piano music can be overwrought tedium. But think of a Liszt score as an empty canvas awaiting interpretation, and it can spark mental imagery and ignite the psyche. In “Annees de Pelerinage” (“Years of Pilgrimage”), Plano did just that. Six pieces from “Deuxieme annees” (second year) in the set of three “years” became deeply soulful travelogues, inward-looking yet free and expansive. These scores are also some of the thorniest in piano literature, but Plano narrowed the cloudy, nearly impressionist textures to a listenable focus. Undulating waves in “Gondoliera” revealed the pianist’s rhythmic intuition, the “Tarantella” his towering technical command. Two encores followed — Fazil Say’s hilarious, jazzed-up arrangement of Mozart’s “Turkish Rondo” and a touching rendition of Astor Piazzolla’s slow tango, “Milonga del Angel.” 14/02/2010

THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS

RVSO conducting candidate brings down the house in tryout, by Bill Varble Chelsea Tipton II on Friday night in Ashland turned what was supposed to be an audition into something more like a triumph. Competing for the job of conductor... Read More

RVSO conducting candidate brings down the house in tryout, by Bill Varble

Chelsea Tipton II on Friday night in Ashland turned what was supposed to be an audition into something more like a triumph. Competing for the job of conductor and music director of the Rogue Valley Symphony, Tipton led the orchestra and guest artist and pianist Roberto Plano through a sweet, passionate turn at Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. Five, the “Emperor,” then returned after the intermission to blow the doors off with a towering performance of Berlioz’ “Symphonie Fantastique.” “I know there are four more (guest conductors) coming, but as far as I’m concerned they could call it right now,” one patron said at intermission to a chorus of hear-hears. In what RVSO officials are calling “The Year of the Search,” five conductors from around the nation have been invited to conduct one concert series each during the 2009-2010 season, each show featuring a program chosen by the RVSO. One of the conductors is to be offered the job, succeeding Arthur Shaw, who retired earlier this year. The Beethoven-Berlioz concert was presented Friday in Southern Oregon University’s Music Recital Hall. It was repeated Saturday at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater in Medford, and will have its final performance at 3 p.m. today at the High School Performing Arts Center, 830 N.E. Ninth St., Grants Pass. The Beethoven concerto, now just a year short of its 200th anniversary, began with those big orchestral chords, each followed by a short cadenza on the piano. Then Plano gave a lively reading of the long piano introduction. Plano, who lives near Milan, has performed with orchestras in Europe and elsewhere and recorded works by Chopin, Liszt and Scriabin. His international career was launched when he won the Cleveland International Piano Competition in 2001. He played with fluidity, passion and an unaffected boyishness, sometimes allowing his arms to fly off the keyboard at the end of an intricate passage and leaning back a moment almost like a prizefighter finding respite in a clinch. After a sometimes thunderous first movement that’s fully half the concerto, he delivered the second with gentle poetry. When the orchestra moved into the third movement via a simple note on the bassoon, Plano repeated the main theme, more urgently, and the orchestra resumed the conversation. Plano’s playing is lithe and precise and keyed to musical depths beneath the flash. 27/09/2009

MAIL TRIBUNE

NBSO delivers stellar season opener, by Laurie Robertson-Lorant For three seasons as its music director, Dr. David MacKenzie has nurtured and challenged the talented instrumentalists of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra to hone their considerable skills and expand their repertoire,... Read More

NBSO delivers stellar season opener, by Laurie Robertson-Lorant

For three seasons as its music director, Dr. David MacKenzie has nurtured and challenged the talented instrumentalists of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra to hone their considerable skills and expand their repertoire, often with spectacular results. To open the orchestra’s 2009-2010 “Year of the Piano,” MacKenzie invited prizewinning Italian pianist Roberto Plano to play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat, Op. 73. Commonly and erroneously called the “Emperor Concerto,” this work tempts many performers to adopt self-consciously “heroic” attitudes — a temptation to which Roberto Plano wisely did not succumb. His performance of this familiar work was delightfully fresh, technically outstanding and sublimely beautiful, and his interpretation of it was a reminder that Beethoven composed his fifth piano concerto shortly after his Sixth Symphony, which Beethoven himself called his “Pastoral Symphony.” Apparently exploring the affinities between these two great works, Plano followed the orchestra’s three dramatic opening chords with a cadenza that was a surprising combination of subtle syncopation, romantic energy, classical control, and grace. At times contemplative, at times exuberant, Plano’s playing brought out the delicacy and sweetness of certain passages and the almost manic percussiveness of others without preciosity or bombast. Strong in the fast and forceful passages, he played the softer, slower passages with silken fluidity. His first movement cadenza was bell-like in its resonance and sparkle. In the second movement adagio, the depth and poignancy of his encounter with the music he was playing seemed almost priestly. He seemed to be listening for the note beyond the note, as though earthly melodies held the key to the mysteries of the universe. As his deft fingers traced the daringly attentuated transition to the concluding Rondo, Plano seemed almost reverent. He then plunged into this dynamic movement with great gusto, bringing concertgoers to their feet at its concluding chord with loud applause and cheers of “Bravo!” Responding with an encore that was a sheer delight, Plano announced Mozart’s “A Musical Joke” and played it straight before jazzing it up with ragtime riffs that would have delighted the mischievous Mozart. All that in just the first half of this outstanding concert. 17/09/2009

THE STANDARD TIMES

NBSO delivers stellar season opener, by Laurie Robertson-Lorant For three seasons as its music director, Dr. David MacKenzie has nurtured and challenged the talented instrumentalists of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra to hone their considerable skills and expand their repertoire,... Read More

NBSO delivers stellar season opener, by Laurie Robertson-Lorant

For three seasons as its music director, Dr. David MacKenzie has nurtured and challenged the talented instrumentalists of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra to hone their considerable skills and expand their repertoire, often with spectacular results. To open the orchestra’s 2009-2010 “Year of the Piano,” MacKenzie invited prizewinning Italian pianist Roberto Plano to play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat, Op. 73. Commonly and erroneously called the “Emperor Concerto,” this work tempts many performers to adopt self-consciously “heroic” attitudes — a temptation to which Roberto Plano wisely did not succumb. His performance of this familiar work was delightfully fresh, technically outstanding and sublimely beautiful, and his interpretation of it was a reminder that Beethoven composed his fifth piano concerto shortly after his Sixth Symphony, which Beethoven himself called his “Pastoral Symphony.” Apparently exploring the affinities between these two great works, Plano followed the orchestra’s three dramatic opening chords with a cadenza that was a surprising combination of subtle syncopation, romantic energy, classical control, and grace. At times contemplative, at times exuberant, Plano’s playing brought out the delicacy and sweetness of certain passages and the almost manic percussiveness of others without preciosity or bombast. Strong in the fast and forceful passages, he played the softer, slower passages with silken fluidity. His first movement cadenza was bell-like in its resonance and sparkle. In the second movement adagio, the depth and poignancy of his encounter with the music he was playing seemed almost priestly. He seemed to be listening for the note beyond the note, as though earthly melodies held the key to the mysteries of the universe. As his deft fingers traced the daringly attentuated transition to the concluding Rondo, Plano seemed almost reverent. He then plunged into this dynamic movement with great gusto, bringing concertgoers to their feet at its concluding chord with loud applause and cheers of “Bravo!” Responding with an encore that was a sheer delight, Plano announced Mozart’s “A Musical Joke” and played it straight before jazzing it up with ragtime riffs that would have delighted the mischievous Mozart. All that in just the first half of this outstanding concert.

STANDARD TIMES

Gilmore Rising Star Roberto Plano shows impressive style, strength in Sunday performance, by C. J. Gianakaris KALAMAZOO -- Italian pianist Roberto Plano performed the final Gilmore Rising Stars Recital for the season Sunday evening at the Wellspring Theatre. And like... Read More

Gilmore Rising Star Roberto Plano shows impressive style, strength in Sunday performance, by C. J. Gianakaris

KALAMAZOO — Italian pianist Roberto Plano performed the final Gilmore Rising Stars Recital for the season Sunday evening at the Wellspring Theatre. And like other Gilmore Rising Stars, he brought his own impressive strengths and style. Through performing selections from various periods–classical, romantic and modern — the 30-year-old musician confirmed a bona fide talent deserving of attention from the musical world. One facet of Plano’s abilities was on display when he performed Robert Schumann’s charming Arabeske in C Major, Op. 18. The score is pure Schumann, so that the music reflects a light and almost child-like simplicity. Plano’s hands here rarely lifted far above the keyboard; he stroked the keys rather than strike them. Schumann’s longer and more complex “Davidsbundlertanze” (“Dance of the Band of David”), Op. 6, followed. It involved 18 separate sections that manifest contrasting moods and personality expressions. Schumann’s own complicated psyche enjoyed interesting representation within these musical snapshots. The opening two pieces indicative: “Lebhaft” (lively) and “Innig” (affectionate). When the uninhibited side of the composer’s nature was on display, Plano’s playing became louder and assertive. Blazingly fast octave runs and chord clusters used more percussive striking of keys than in calmerˆ, more decorous sections. Schumann alternates these two main psyche polarities throughout the 18 parts of “Davidsbundlertanze.” Mozart’s Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 333, allowed Plano to show his impressive firm control of the keyboard. Mozart’s score calls for orderliness and perfect clarity in performing the music. Plan’s trills were stunning, and his rapid runs, chromatic and otherwise, emerged crystalline and unblemished. Still, his approach seemed slightly perfunctory, given his musical horsepower he was not permitted to use here. The final three numbers on the program — Bartok’s Sonata (1926) and Dohnanyi’s “From the Concert Etudes,” Op. 28, Nos. 4 and 6 — mandated an entirely different performance style. Plano here exhibited amazing music athleticism. Bartok’s sonata shares a dominant percussiveness also heard in Stravinsky’s writings, and Plano had the hands and strength for allegro fortissimo chords struck seemingly in aleatoric fashion. Plano excelled in playing Dohnanyi’s two works where, again, rapid-fire octave chords were prescribed. Plano’s hands turned to a blur as he approached the climax of the Dohnanyi works. The staccatos were incredible in velocity and precision, provoking a quiet gasp in the audience. Plano indulged the audience with a wholly different piece as encore, Piazzolla’s charming “Milonga.” The Gilmore once again has spotlighted a genuine talent. 20/04/2009

KALAMAZOO GAZETTE

Boise Philharmonic review: "Scandinavian Nights" is whole, balanced”, by Dana Oland Music director Robert Franz created a beautiful symmetry with this Boise Philharmonic program that at other times has been lacking. Not that any of his previous choices were totally... Read More

Boise Philharmonic review: “Scandinavian Nights” is whole, balanced”, by Dana Oland

Music director Robert Franz created a beautiful symmetry with this Boise Philharmonic program that at other times has been lacking. Not that any of his previous choices were totally unpleasing, it is just that sometimes the closing symphony pales in comparison with the powerful opening pieces he chooses and fantastic solo performances the audience has been treated to over the season. Not so with Saturday night’s performance at the Velma V. Morrison Center. The program was perfectly bookended with majestic horn calls in the opening “Helios” Overture by Danish composer Carl Nielsen and the closing Symphony No. 5 by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. In between, was Italian pianist Roberto Plano’s masterful performance of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. Plano attacked this piece with a delicious mix of strength in the opening descending chords and soft, nimble dexterity in the tranquil third movement. Working in tandem with Franz’s energetic direction, Plano resuscitated this classical warhorse to vibrant life. Plano followed with a terrific and fun encore to Mozart’s “Turkish Dance” that he took from pure classical to ragtime to honky-tonk. What a joy. The opening “Helios,” a short, warm rendition of Mediterranean sunrise and sunset, featured senior members of the newly dubbed Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (formerly Treasure Valley Youth Symphony), who made a wonderful debut with the orchestra. This bodes well for the future of classical music in the Valley. The Sibelius symphony was pure delight. Franz showed he has the magic touch with this orchestra. During the performance they developed beautifully the tension between pure classical form and musical expressionism that is at work in Sibelius’ piece, creating the layers of “soundscape,” as Franz referred to it, to perfection. If it were possible, the piece felt three-dimensional, as if sound could be illuminated, like dancers with side lighting. 16/03/2009

IDAHO STATESMAN

Classical Music Review: it was plain to all, Plano deserves stardom, by Rob Hubbard Late Sunday afternoon, they were handing out the classical Grammys in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, 1,500 miles away, a few hundred people were gathered on the campus... Read More

Classical Music Review: it was plain to all, Plano deserves stardom, by Rob Hubbard

Late Sunday afternoon, they were handing out the classical Grammys in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, 1,500 miles away, a few hundred people were gathered on the campus of St. Paul’s Macalester College, listening to a recital by Italian pianist Roberto Plano. And at least one of them found himself contemplating why some musicians become superstars while others toil in relative obscurity, even if they might be more talented. Luck? Marketing? Accidents of timing? Whatever it is, the hundreds who gave Plano a rapid and almost unanimous standing ovation at the end of his Chopin Society recital seemed to concur: This is an exceptional artist. And they may have left asking one another: Why haven’t we heard of this guy? Plano is better known in Europe. But he’s gradually working his way into the consciousness of American classical music lovers. That said, you couldn’t be blamed if you heard Plano’s involving journey through Robert Schumann’s 45-minute “Davidsbundlertanze”; an unabashedly romantic rendering of a Mozart sonata; and some thundering, flamboyant Liszt and came away curious as to why he’s playing in southern Minnesota with the Austin Symphony on Feb. 22, while Chinese pianist Lang Lang has endorsement deals with Audi, Nike and Rolex. Not to belabor the comparison, but one of Lang Lang’s crowd-pleasing signature pieces is a Liszt “Hungarian Rhapsody.” On Sunday, Plano delved far deeper with Liszt than Lang has on recent local visits. He found a lovely hidden melody in a “Transcendental Etude,” then met the demands of the difficult “Dante Sonata,” demonstrating awe-inspiring athleticism, his hands a blur while hammering out the crashing chords. By that time, listeners knew they were in expert hands. Giving the first half of the recital over to the 18-part “Davidsbundlertanze,” Plano wisely played up the sharp contrasts in mood from one movement to another. One moment meditative, the next bouncing with frivolity, then screaming with rage, Schumann’s work is a buffet of widely disparate flavors, but the pianist made each equally delicious. In addition to a version of Mozart’s K. 333 Sonata that managed to bring out both the Bach that influenced the composer and the Beethoven he inspired, Plano offered an encore that filtered Mozart through Jelly Roll Morton and “Fatha” Hines. Sending the audience off with a lush and lovely little Astor Piazzolla piece, Plano doubtless left many listeners wishing that he find the stardom he deserves. 08/02/2009

PIONER PRESS

Pianist Roberto Plano's performance grand, transcendent, by Phillip Ratliff Roberto Plano, the fiery pianist from Italy, returned to Birmingham, to perform last night at the Birmingham Museum of Art's Steiner Auditorium. Plano's performance was part of BMA's Rushton Concert series.... Read More

Pianist Roberto Plano’s performance grand, transcendent, by Phillip Ratliff

Roberto Plano, the fiery pianist from Italy, returned to Birmingham, to perform last night at the Birmingham Museum of Art’s Steiner Auditorium. Plano’s performance was part of BMA’s Rushton Concert series. Plano, who performed in November 2007 at the Alys Stephens Center to critical acclaim, opened with a set of four Schubert Impromptus. Schubert’s style in the four movements recalls the quick cuts and fleeting gestures of the late Beethoven sonatas, and Plano’s sensibilities proved to be well matched to the piece’s impetuous contrasts and brilliant, quick-moving scale passages. In Plano’s hands, the Impromptus’ lyrical themes took on the character of German art song. His execution of scale passages was the musical equivalent of polished glass. He ended the set of four pieces with a powerful final chord, which literally lifted him to his feet. Scriabin’s Sonata-Fantasy No. 2 allowed Plano more opportunity to show his penchant for subtle color and texture. Although stylistically far-removed from the works of Debussy or Ravel, the Scriabin movements at times had an impressionistic quality, a trait highlighted by Plano’s flair for musical timbre. The pianist’s performance of the sublime, luminous open chords, which returned in various points throughout the Andante movement, were some of the concert’s most memorable features. Plano closed with two movements by Liszt — one from “Transcendental Etudes,” the other from the “Dante Sonata.” The Liszt movements also demanded a keen sense of musical color and, as was the case with the Schubert, a flair for the dramatic. Plano was brilliant on both counts. Most notable is how he turned his piano into an orchestra of sorts, and in so doing evoked Liszt’s most compelling trait as a pianist and composer — his ability to make music in the grandest, most transcendent fashion. 11/12/2008

THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS

Pianist displays style, subtlety, finally cuts loose, by Michael Huebner Roberto Plano won't impress you with his flashy virtuosity, though he could if he wanted to. Nor does the 28-year-old pianist from Italy draw much attention to his own brilliance.... Read More

Pianist displays style, subtlety, finally cuts loose, by Michael Huebner

Roberto Plano won’t impress you with his flashy virtuosity, though he could if he wanted to. Nor does the 28-year-old pianist from Italy draw much attention to his own brilliance. He’s too mature for that. Plano plays as though his fingers are an extension of his heart – sensitively, caressingly, contemplatively, and with tasteful restraint. Each of the five works, plus an encore, on his recital Sunday at the Alys Stephens Center became an overarching journey. Schumann’s “Three Romances,” Op. 28, moved fluidly from urgent and full-bodied to soft and pliant. The third “Romance” was a model of subtlety achieved through mastery of keyboard touch. “Faschingsschwank aus Wien,” Schumann’s evocation of 19th century Vienna, was neatly layered and immaculately played. Soft passages had the ears stretching to listen. The brilliant finale swept listeners to a majestic close. Three Chopin Nocturnes dug to the core of romanticism, the first slow and dreamy, the second supple but not overly dramatic. Cascading pianissimo runs in the third were colored with pastels instead of acrylics. Pianists routinely overpower the 175-seat Reynolds-Kirschbaum Recital Hall, but Plano let the close acoustics breathe in Chopin’s Ballade No. 1. Difficult runs flowed from his fingers second-naturedly, taste taking precedence over power, exaggeration losing out to thoughtfulness. Only in the fiery finale of Ginastera’s “Suite de Danzas Criollas,” did Plano let loose, in stark contrast to the work’s reflective slow movements. An encore, Piazzolla’s “Milonga del Angel,” encapsulated Plano’s playing – warm, unpretentious and heart-rending. 12/11/2007

THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS

Jupiter Quartet is out of this world, by Holly Harris Youthful Jupiter String Quartet blazed through a program of classic chamber music Sunday night, living up to its bright planetary namesake in the latest instalment of the ever-popular Virtuosi Concerts... Read More

Jupiter Quartet is out of this world, by Holly Harris

Youthful Jupiter String Quartet blazed through a program of classic chamber music Sunday night, living up to its bright planetary namesake in the latest instalment of the ever-popular Virtuosi Concerts series. The show marked the penultimate appearance of the Boston-based quartet in a 20-stop Canadian tour, part of the first-place prize package from the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition (2004). It’s difficult to believe that these musicians — all twentysomething — have been together for under five years. Violinists Nelson Lee and Meg Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel and cellist Daniel McDonough bring a rich maturity and unerring sensitivity to each other that is well beyond their years. Though two of the members may be related by blood (Meg and Liz are sisters), all are related by an intense, fervent musicality that bonds them like true family. The program opened with Haydn’s Quartet in B flat Major, Op. 76, warmly known as the “Sunrise.” The quartet appeared to effortlessly pull notes out of thin air, as phrases bled into each other in a tightly woven, luminous fabric. Admittedly, theirs was a more romantic spin, but the flawless execution and impeccable intonation brought Haydn’s graceful music to life that was always within the bounds of good taste. Guest Italian pianist Roberto Plano is an emerging artist who lists being a finalist in the 2005 Van Cliburn and laureate of the 2003 Esther Honens international piano competitions among his many awards. Plano’s lovely, lyrical melodic lines in Schubert’s Piano Sonata in A minor, D.537 brought emotional shading and clarity to this lesser known work. While the string quartet may be the ultimate in musical civility, the ensemble also showed its teeth with a fiery interpretation of Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34. Some initial harshness in the violins quickly settled as the quartet found its equilibrium with the piano. A rapturous Andante movement underscored what this quartet does best: listening. Whether playing or not — as in the tacet sections — the four listened intently and deeply to each other at all times, creating a perfectly simpatico body. Some staging conundrums, which have been a challenge in the past for this series, continue to persist. A cluttered stage (did we really need to see a vacant page-turner’s chair?) began to resemble a green room more than a recital hall, with Plano in particular appearing squished upstage among empty chairs, music stands, and microphones during his solo. This remains a riddle to be solved. The quartet was given a rousing standing ovation by the audience. Hopefully, Winnipeg chamber-music lovers will not have to wait too long to hear from these powerhouse players again. 28/03/2006

THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Plano a sensational hit as Jupiter delights, by Bill Rankin EDMONTON - Grant MacEwan hasn't had a public face in the classical music scene this season, but thanks to a couple of prestigious Alberta competitions, the college redeemed itself Saturday... Read More

Plano a sensational hit as Jupiter delights, by Bill Rankin

EDMONTON – Grant MacEwan hasn’t had a public face in the classical music scene this season, but thanks to a couple of prestigious Alberta competitions, the college redeemed itself Saturday night. A collaboration between the Honens International Piano Competition and the Banff International String Quartet Competition was Edmonton’s good fortune. The Jupiter String Quartet, winners of the 2004 BISQC and Roberto Plano, third-place laureate of the Honens in 2003, delighted a middling size but appreciative audience with a program of a Haydn string quartet, a Schubert piano sonata and an intelligent, intense performance of Brahms brilliant Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34. The Jupiter Quartet played Haydn’s “Sunrise” Quartet in B-flat Major with consummate self-assurance. They have a real feeling for the extreme dynamic shifts as coherent, playful musical conversations that, in the first movement, especially, oscillate between sublime reflection and raucous bombast. The classical style also demands good taste, which this ensemble has in abundance. String quartet groups are judged on their dynamism and subtlety, their balance and blend, their alertness and their musical intelligence. Loud outbursts have to mean something more than just change of pace; the slow pianissimo sections, say in the second movement of the Brahms or the Adagio in the Haydn, have to impress the listener as thoughts that are deeply felt, not merely the pro forma respites from the preceding fire and the concluding gusts of virtuosic alacrity. The Jupiter plays with all these qualities, and they’re still developing, no doubt. If anything, the ensemble is too well-balanced. The composer will give the violist, Liz Freivogal in Jupiter’s case, or cellist Dan McDonough, moments in the sun or sunrise, but in a lot of string quartet literature, the first violinist takes pride of place in the top registers. The violist can look like she’s along for the ride, which isn’t the case with this group. Such deliberate “imbalance” in some Quartets can appear ostentatious or it can just feel theatrical, in a good sense. The Jupiter Quartet could do with a little more individualistic flare, which, frankly isn’t really their style. As for Roberto Plano, he’s sensational. Plano’s performance of the Schubert’s Sonata in A minor, Op. 164, exhibited power and warmth. The outer movements gave him ample opportunity to pound chords for Schubertian effect, but the way he played the middle movement, which is mainly a sweet song a snoozy child could cuddle to, was unadorned lyricism at its most pleasing. Plano was a strong individual voice and an attentive partner in the Brahms. He sounded like he’d been playing with the Jupiter folks for years. 27/03/2006

THE EDMONTON JOURNAL

THE A-TEAM – Cliburn finalist joins Schola Chantorum for concert by Punch Shaw These players would be welcome on most any Fantasy team. Choral ensemble Schola Chantorum enlisted the aid of 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition finalist Roberto Plano... Read More

THE A-TEAM – Cliburn finalist joins Schola Chantorum for concert by Punch Shaw

These players would be welcome on most any Fantasy team. Choral ensemble Schola Chantorum enlisted the aid of 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition finalist Roberto Plano for an all-Beethoven performance at Bass Performance Hall on Sunday night that closed with a pulse-accelerating rendition of that composer’s Choral Fantasy. Plano provided a bridge between the opening and closing choral works with a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in D Major, op.28. Also known as the composer’s No.15 or “Pastorale” Sonata, the work allowed the italian pianist to remind us why he was among the last six standing at the 2005 Van Cliburn. He was especially effective in the work’s andante movement, during which he found an ideal, walking tempo and, taking the bricks and mortar Beethoven gave him, built exactly the house you feel the composer must have had in mind. 10/10/2005

STAR-TELEGRAM

Author: Don Rosenberg Roberto Plano rose to the top of the field in the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition by revealing a poetic sensibility allied to pianistic fluidity. Since them, the Italian first-prize winner has added interpretive audacity to his... Read More

Author: Don Rosenberg

Roberto Plano rose to the top of the field in the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition by revealing a poetic sensibility allied to pianistic fluidity. Since them, the Italian first-prize winner has added interpretive audacity to his artistic arsenal. Certainly Plano’s recital Wednesday at the Cleveland Museum of Art suggested a musician who is continuing to grow at an impressive clip. His program of works by Schubert, Ravel, Debussy and Ginastera set forth the increased intensity of purpose he has achieved in recent years. Plano began with Schubert’s Sonata in A minor, D. 784, a work that juxtaposes feverish tragedy with lyrical serenity; his performance was marked by authoritative shaping and firm command of the keyboard demands, especially in the turbulent finale. Then the Gallic sun broke through the Austrian clouds. Plano has been studying in Paris, which appears to have benefited his view of Ravel and Debussy. In Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante defunte”, he conveyed the etheral beauty through subtle delineation of rhythm and tone. His performance of Ravel’s “La Valse” was a triumph of expressive urgency over the temptation to prettify this depiction of fin-de-siècle Vienna on the brink of collapse. From the simmering opening pages, Plano made an ominous thing of the waltz, swerving flexibly here and adding propulsion and anxiery there. It was unsettling – and magnificent. The pianist applied delicacy and power to Debussy preludes from Books I and II; the composer’s love of Spanish elements often came to the fore as Plano thrust himself earthily into the material. For even more folklike passion, he offered a splendidly vibrant account of Ginastera’s “Danzas Argentinas”, op. 2, whose three movements move irresistibly through quirky, haunting and wild terrain. And the encors conveyed the fine extremes of Plano’s artistry: a dreamy sojourn through Gluck’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” and an explosively rendition of Ernst von Dohnany’s Capriccio. 30/04/2004

THE PLAIN DEALER

STAR PIANIST ROBERTO PLANO SHINES TWICE di William Martin ….The 24-year-old Plano knoched them dead. Mr. Plano was the winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition, and it was easy to see the reason for his success. Playing with... Read More

STAR PIANIST ROBERTO PLANO SHINES TWICE di William Martin

….The 24-year-old Plano knoched them dead. Mr. Plano was the winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition, and it was easy to see the reason for his success. Playing with absolute authorithy and dignified lyricism, Mr Plano breathed new life into one of the great “war horses” of the piano literature, the Grieg Piano Concerto. The solo cadenza was beatifully paced and the close of the first movement brought the audience to its feet in resounding applause – a breach in modern concert etiquette, to be sure, but what fun! The second movement began with a lush-sounding string section that led to a piano entrance so magical it gave me goose bumps. Mr. Plano treated the audience to a beatifully realized interpretation of one of the most poignant melodies in the repertoire. …Opening with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata n°15, Mr Plano took the audience on an exciting journey of German Romanticism. His Beethoven was highly controlled, with the emphasys on dynamic contrast. The wide range of Beethoven’s emotional palette was brought out with clarity. Of special note were the broad humor of the Scherzo and the violent variations in the Rondo section. Next on the program came a brilliant performance of Schubert’s Sonata in A minor. Once more, Mr. Plano exhibited remarkable rhythmic control and vitality combined with a strong lyrical gift. The contrast between Schubert’s symphonic fullness and his gentler song-like sections was remarkable. The live acoustics bright-sounding de Blaasis Steinway, combined with Planoìs power and control, really made the room come alive. After intermission we were treated to the full range of Brahms expressive power with his six Piano Pieces op.118. ..Mr. Plano was all business and put the music center-stage, with no mannerism to distract us from the glory of Brahms at his best. The end of the evening’s journey came with Robert Schumann’s Sonata in G minor. Although a fairly early work, the music is incredibly complex and difficult. Schumann’s almost impossible waves of sound and dense, orchestral writing would seem out of reach for someone as young as Mr. Plano, but the pianist’s mastery of both thechnique and expression was nothing short of amazing. Huge outbursts of passion were truly operatic under his fingers, and it was obvious that when Plano told The Chronicle last week, “I like to sing through the piano” he wasn’t thinking small. Perhaps he could be called “the Pavarotti of the Piano”? For an encore, Plano repeated his performance of “Capriccio” by Ernst vov Dohnanyi from the previous day’s concert. No quiet exit for this young man, as he powered his way through yet one more virtuoso performance, one that won’t be soon forgotten by those lucky enough to have been there. 13/03/2003

THE CHRONICLE

Author: Geraldine Freeman .. Plano was superb in Schubert’s Sonata in A minor. He played the work’s three movements with sharply delineated dynamic levels, light and facile fingers, a wonderful arch to his phrases in the slower passages and a... Read More

Author: Geraldine Freeman

.. Plano was superb in Schubert’s Sonata in A minor. He played the work’s three movements with sharply delineated dynamic levels, light and facile fingers, a wonderful arch to his phrases in the slower passages and a finely wrought continuity between phrases and movements. Most of all, Plano played loudly, like few others. He got a full, rich sound that was as exciting as it was aggressive. He put everything into it. The notes flew and the chords rang, yet everything was under a tight control. He sounded terrific. ….. it was a splendid performance 11/03/2003

THE POST – STAR

Author: Geraldine Freeman There were two stars at the Glen’s Falls Symphony Orchestra’s performance Sunday afternoon. One was the 1984 Steinway concert grand piano that was dedicated to the Maurice and Betty Whitney family. The other star was pianist Roberto... Read More

Author: Geraldine Freeman

There were two stars at the Glen’s Falls Symphony Orchestra’s performance Sunday afternoon. One was the 1984 Steinway concert grand piano that was dedicated to the Maurice and Betty Whitney family. The other star was pianist Roberto Plano, who, in performing the Grieg Piano Concerto with the orchestra, gave the piano its concert debut. It was an auspicious match. Plano played with great musicality, a lyrical line and much sensitivity. He caressed the keys to create a softly nuanced, gentle tone. Throughout the three-movement work, he used a delicate palette of soft dynamics and took much time to let the melodic phrases breathe. His tone in the more robust sections was full. The audience was very supporting, giving Plano a standing ovation after the first movement and another one at the end. After several curtain calls, Plano returned for an encore and played Dohnany’s brilliantly flashy “Capriccio” with a razor-edged verve. 10/03/2003

THE POST – STAR

Plano's performance was like devils dancing on a mountaintop by John Stoher Roberto Plano captivated his audience at the Telfair Museum of Art Wednesday night, performing an impressive and muscular program of Beethoven, Schubert, Sciabin, Debussy and Ravel. Though not... Read More

Plano’s performance was like devils dancing on a mountaintop by John Stoher

Roberto Plano captivated his audience at the Telfair Museum of Art Wednesday night, performing an impressive and muscular program of Beethoven, Schubert, Sciabin, Debussy and Ravel. Though not a full house, the audience filled the museum with bravos and applause. Wearing a black tuxedo with tails, a white vest with white tie, Plano began the evening with a dark, serene performance of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Sonata. Plano commanded the piano with his powerful shoulders and often raised his bespectacled eyes to the ceiling and lingered there while he played the lovely and forceful first movement. The Andante came next and Plano demonstrated why Beethoven, even 200 years later, remains the model of the impassioned, artistic mind. The movement is full of poignant dissonance that’s quickly resolved, and features a stately march tempo for the left hand that soon accompanies an enchanting right-hand melody. Plano’s movements matched the exquisiteness of the music — his hands, head, arms and shoulders all moved in one fluid motion, with no angles, no sharp corners, all curves and softness. A light and fanciful motif emerged from the Andante. It was punctuated with a romantic seriousness — providing a would-be glimpse into Beethoven’s heart, a man able to ignore the romantic suffering he endured, but one unable to forget it for long. This seriousness, in a minor key, evolved speedily into a much grander, darker force. Plano showed great poise and concentration throughout the challenging Sonata. Highlights abounded Wednesday night. But Plano’s rendition of Schubert’s “Sonata in A minor” was perhaps the most notable. He put the audience on seat’s edge. The pianist appeared in a trance as he dazzled the crowd with the demonic-sounding first movement — like devils dancing on a mountaintop. Not only was Plano technically impressive, but the entertainer in him came out. He teased the audience with seductive phrasing and put just enough space between Schubert’s melodramatic, climactic chords. Bravos and a long, loud, standing applause were the response. It was a exceptional start to the young Italian’s first American tour. 07/03/2003

SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS

PIANIST SHOWS HE HAS STUFF RIGHT AWAY – He shines on Beethoven Concerto by Elaine Guregian One thing musicians usually work hard on, no matter what the music, is getting the beginning and the ending right. You have to do... Read More

PIANIST SHOWS HE HAS STUFF RIGHT AWAY – He shines on Beethoven Concerto by Elaine Guregian

One thing musicians usually work hard on, no matter what the music, is getting the beginning and the ending right. You have to do that to capture your audience and to make it want to hear you again. At Saturday night’s Akron Symphony concert, the 24-year-old pianist Roberto Plano launched into his solo part in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto n°3 like a textbook example of this credo. Authorithy, technique: you name it, he let us know right away that he had the stuff, particularly for the powerful first movement. Plano, winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition, sounded every bit the seasoned competitor in the concerto. His technique was firmly in place, and he delivered an especially persuasive first movement, highlighted by a cadenza of limpid expressiveness. 23/02/2003

AKRON BEACON JOURNAL

AUDIENCE ENTHRALLED BY GIFTED PIANIST by Elaine Guregian Roberto Plano is a competition winner who doesn't play entirely like one. In an absorbing recital Sunday night, he showed the polished technique and poise of someone who has been through all... Read More

AUDIENCE ENTHRALLED BY GIFTED PIANIST by Elaine Guregian

Roberto Plano is a competition winner who doesn’t play entirely like one. In an absorbing recital Sunday night, he showed the polished technique and poise of someone who has been through all of the hoops connected with competitions. The satisfying musicality and seriousness of purpose were a bonus. The recital was part of the new Kent Classic Arts series, presented by Kent State University and WKSU-FM at the KSU Auditorium. The facility reopened this September after six years of renovations, and it’s a beauty. The 803-seat hall is shaped like a rotunda, with a balcony wrapping all the way around except for the stage area. The sound for this recital was flatteringly natural and clear, neither dry nor overly live. It will be interesting to see what it sounds like with Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, on Dec. 13. Sunday’s program was a heavy-duty one that not all 24-year-olds could pull off. After opening with delicacy and smooth elegance in three Scarlatti sonatas, Plano moved on to items at the heart of the piano repertoire with the Brahms Intermezzos, Op. 117 and Piano Pieces, Op. 119. The dusky warmth of Brahms suited Plano well. When needed, he let loose with tremendous power, but never just to flex his muscles. Plano cultivated beauty of tone and made this music sing. It’s hard to fathom how Schubert had enough life experience at age 31 to compose the all-encompassing Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960. It’s challenging for a pianist to shape the long first movement which runds about 15 minutes. Plano paced and organized the sonata into a thoughtful, cohesive whole that kept its momentum. Winning competitions in Cleveland and elsewhere apparently not swayed this pianist from pursuing art. Plano is beyond the point at which he can be called promising. He is making good on his gifts, and I hope he remains true to them as he continues to refine his talent. He connected closely with Sunday’s utterly attentive audience and played two encores: Ernst von Dohnanti’s Concert Etude and a pisno transcription of the orchestral “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” from Gluck’s Orfeo and Euridice. Ya-Hui Wang, music director of the Akron Symphony Orchestra, heard Plano atthe Cleveland International Piano Competition, where he won first prize in 2001 playing, among other things, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. The Akron Symphony signed up Plano to perform that same concerto with the orchestra on Feb. 22, 2003. It’s the first time that the Akron Symphony has engaged a winner from the Cleveland competition. That February date is worth marking down in the calendar right away.” 23/02/2003

AKRON BEACON JOURNAL

Young Pianist Well On His Way To Becoming A Star by Robert W. Plyler Patrons of the Jamestown Concert Association heard a concert Friday evening by a young pianist who is destined to be one of the stellar artists of... Read More

Young Pianist Well On His Way To Becoming A Star by Robert W. Plyler

Patrons of the Jamestown Concert Association heard a concert Friday evening by a young pianist who is destined to be one of the stellar artists of the contemporary age. Italian-born Roberto Plano, only 24 years old, recently won first prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition, surpassing 52 other artists from 23 different countries in a grueling 10-day competition. No one who was present in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church could have left with the slightest doubt that he deserved to win. The two hours of the concert flew past. The slender, formally-dressed Plano walked to the piano, sat down, and suddenly, without so much as a cough, the air was filled with the complex polyphony of Sonata in A Major, K. 300 by Domenico Scarlatti. He played the sonata as a suite with the Sonata in C minor, K. 303, and the Sonata in F minor, K. 466. His performance demonstrated a flawless technique, moving delicately at lightning speed over the keys. The phrases roared, then whispered, all the while flowing like a swift stream. After wordlessly acknowledging the audience’s appreciation, Plano turned a musical corner from the delicate, floating Scarlatti to Johannes Brahms’ dramatic Theme and Variations in D minor, Op. 18-b. After sending out that wall of sound, he stayed with Brahms, playing Four Piano Pieces, O. 119. The work had a very modern sound, blessed with that kinetic, dance-like quality for which Brahms is celebrated, yet not syrupy like the Liebeslieder Waltzes. The artist gave us an intricately woven tapestry, full of surprises. The four segments were performed with only the briefest of pauses, yet each was a unique expression. The work sent the audience to intermission in a very positive frame of mind. The second half of the program was entirely made up of Franz Schubert’s Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960. Plano’s interpretation of the work was vibrant, and alive with inner voices, speaking to parts of ourselves with whom we hadn’t been in contact for a while. The four movements were separated by long, intense pauses, this time, during which not a cough nor a shuffle of feet could be heard. The artist thrust us from gossamer poignancy to passionate cries in a moment, reading every hint of subtext within the music. When the audience leaped to its feet at the conclusion of the Schubert sonata and brought him back for bow after bow, Plano remained wordless, but returned to the piano and dashed off a frenzied encore which I didn’t recognize, but which had me and many others in the audience sitting on the front inch of our seats, deeply involved in the music. It was truly a thrilling evening of music, and suggests a career for the performing artist which will ascend to the highest level of international triumph. 02/11/2002

THE POST JOURNAL

Youth, brilliance and talent – this is a fascinating combination. Impesario Don Hageman found all three qualities in Robero Plano. His program began with three of the Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. These are important and historical exercises for every pianist.... Read More

Youth, brilliance and talent – this is a fascinating combination. Impesario Don Hageman found all three qualities in Robero Plano. His program began with three of the Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. These are important and historical exercises for every pianist. Plano played them with clarity and precision. The meat of the program was stepped in the Romanrtic composer’s work. Plano played it and the last piece, Schubert’s monumental Sonata in B-flat, with sustained power. This incredible talent will mature and grow in understanding. I hope to be there at each step along the way. 29/09/2002

OAKWOOD REGISTER

[..] The evening’s soloist was Roberto Plano, first-prize winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano competition. In the Grieg, he demonstrated the same qualities that made him a competition winner: poetry, intensity, clarity, suspense. Plano played like a colleague, matching... Read More

[..] The evening’s soloist was Roberto Plano, first-prize winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano competition. In the Grieg, he demonstrated the same qualities that made him a competition winner: poetry, intensity, clarity, suspense. Plano played like a colleague, matching solo lines to the orchestral fabric, and he achieved a loving balance between folklike simplicity and purposeful virtuosity [..] 27/09/2002

THE PLAIN DEALER

Author: Ralph Andrews [..] Roberto Plano joined Robertson and the orchestra with Grieg’s ever popular Piano Concerto in A minor. From the gentle opening to the crashing final chords, Plano played with authority. He made the piano sing and even... Read More

Author: Ralph Andrews

[..] Roberto Plano joined Robertson and the orchestra with Grieg’s ever popular Piano Concerto in A minor. From the gentle opening to the crashing final chords, Plano played with authority. He made the piano sing and even his loud passages were easy on the ears. His cadenzas were impeccable and the tempos were firm, yet flexible. His fine musicianship must have inspired the orchestra, as the performance was flawless[..] 18/09/2002

THE SUN

Author: Sherly Leonard [..] ..with a season-opening concert that could have played to standing ovations at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillon. The full house audience knew it, breaking their usual reserve with applause after the first movement of the Grieg Piano... Read More

Author: Sherly Leonard

[..] ..with a season-opening concert that could have played to standing ovations at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillon. The full house audience knew it, breaking their usual reserve with applause after the first movement of the Grieg Piano Concerto. They just couldn’t help themselves. With grace and confidence, soloist Roberto Plano delivered an inspired performance of Grieg. He made the gushy, sentimental melodies flow with solemnity and honesty, playing with such impeccable technique and certainty that every painfully difficult passage – including octaves up and down the keyboard and lightining-speed runs – seemed deceptively easy. An incredible sensitive pianist, Plano is capable of enormous power, then glistening, fluid runs, then breath-taking suspensions. Plano and the orchestra filled the concerto with magical moments [..] 16/09/2002

THE PRESS – ENTERPRISE

Author: Travis Rivers Classical music belongs at The Festival at Sandpoint. At least Sunday's big, enthusiastic audience at Memorial Field seemed to think so as it whooped, hollered and bravoed its approval. The Spokane Symphony and conductor Gary Sheldon gave... Read More

Author: Travis Rivers

Classical music belongs at The Festival at Sandpoint. At least Sunday’s big, enthusiastic audience at Memorial Field seemed to think so as it whooped, hollered and bravoed its approval. The Spokane Symphony and conductor Gary Sheldon gave the audience what it wanted to hear — namely, fresh-sounding performances of familiar classics by Dvorak, Grieg and Gershwin. Taking their cue from from the weather on a beautiful, crisp summer evening, Sheldon and the orchestra players opened with a hearty performance of Dvorak’s “Carnival” Overture. The gentle lyric section in the middle of the piece provided the orchestra’s first-chair woodwinds a chance to shine, and shine they did. Sandpoint’s “find” for this concert, though, was 24-year-old pianist Roberto Plano. Winner of the 2001 Cleveland Competition, Plano showed that he could make the piano roar, sing and even dance. Many musicians consider Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” war horses that have been ridden into battle far too often. Before Sunday, I was among that group. But Plano and Sheldon showed why these works became so famous in the first place; they are full of beautiful melodies and interesting harmonic twists, and both teem with quick-changing moods. Though Plano has the kind of technique that can set fire to Grieg’s thunderous octave passages or Gershwin’s rapid-fire repeated notes, he could also draw the ear into the quieter, songful sections. His rock-solid sense of rhythm gave a conversational flow to his playing, fast or slow. This is a guy to watch (and to listen for). 13/08/2002

SPOKANE SPOKESMAN REVIEW

Author: Anthony Tommasini Most international piano competitions have a hit-or-miss record when it comes to awarding artistic excellence and individuality, as opposed to qualities that judges at these events find it easier to agree on, like technical proficiency and pianistic... Read More

Author: Anthony Tommasini

Most international piano competitions have a hit-or-miss record when it comes to awarding artistic excellence and individuality, as opposed to qualities that judges at these events find it easier to agree on, like technical proficiency and pianistic flair. So it was heartening to hear the latest first-prize winner of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, Roberto Plano. This 23-year-old Italian pianist showed artistic maturity beyond his years in his United States recital debut on Monday night at Alice Tully Hall. He began with Scarlatti’s subdued, bittersweet Sonata in F Minor, K. 466, in a sensitive performance, stilling the audience that had just bustled into the hall. He next played Brahms’ Piano Pieces, Op. 118. Mr. Plano brought an impressive sense of cohesion to these diverse, harmonically advanced late works, something difficult to achieve. There were wonderful clarity and control of inner voices in his performances. Mr. Plano balanced qualities of rhapsodic freedom and textural lucidity in Scriabin’s Sonata-Fantasy, Op. 118. In “Retratos y Transcripciones”, an American premier, the Spanish composer Luis de Pablo tries to reconcile rigorous modernism with evocations of Latin music. Mr. Plano played it with imagination and gusto. In his Liszt group – the brooding and volatile Ballade No. 2, and the three “Venezia e Napoli” pieces – Mr. Plano demonstrated competition-honed virtuosity as well as musical depth. And his boyish, self-effacing stage manner should only help him win over audiences. 17/11/2001

THE NEW YORK TIMES

PUT A PLANO ON THE PIANO: FOR THE YOUNG VIRTUOSO FROM VARESE, AFTER HIS SUCCESS AT THE CLEVELAND INTCLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION, A MEMORABLE DEBUT AT LINCOLN CENTER by Paolo Tartamella Now holding a prestigious business card - the first... Read More

PUT A PLANO ON THE PIANO: FOR THE YOUNG VIRTUOSO FROM VARESE, AFTER HIS SUCCESS AT THE CLEVELAND INTCLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION, A MEMORABLE DEBUT AT LINCOLN CENTER by Paolo Tartamella

Now holding a prestigious business card – the first prize in the Cleveland contest for young pianists – Roberto Plano gave his first American recital last Tuesday in New York with a solid interpretation. Plano showed more control and experience than one would expect at his age, and he presented the best of his repertoire in the final part of the recital (Liszt Venezia e Napoli). The young pianist from Varese in these three movements really offered a synthesis of his talent, that three months ago the international jury in Cleveland defined as “poetic attitude” expressed “thanks to his innate talent of letting the music breath or growl if necessary”. Plano is in effect very at ease in the transition from melancholic sounds to those of passion, and in the three works by Liszt, he showed the amount of virtuosity that the writing of the composer requires and the audience loves. Notwithstanding were the performances during the first half of the recital (Scarlatti, Brahms and Scriabin) that really showed Plano’s highest quality: poetry. It’s a shame, for example, that he played only one Scarlatti Sonata (K 466), because there was an excellent rendition of the elegance of sound in a romantic atmosphere. Cleveland is a really good launching pad for international careers for it’s first-prize winner. With the substantial cash prize of US$ 15,000, Plano was also given two years of professional management, and a compact disc recording. Above all, he has a tour including at least twenty-five performances, including New York: an inestimable heritage for any young musician. The jury did not award him the first prize as a gift, as shown by the fact that more than fifty other pianists in the competition were also extremely engaged during the 10-day event, as well as the fact that Plano had to demonstrate his best qualities during the final concert through his performance of Beethoven’s piano concerto n°3, one of the milestones of piano literature. On stage was the Cleveland Competition Orchestra and its resident conductor, Maestro Jahja Ling. Interestlingly enough, before the Cleveland Competition Plano had just an average CV, with no other prestigious winning. Therefore, he probably still has room for artistic evolution. Last Monday at Alice Tully Hall, he delivered a convincing recital of demanding repertoire that requires a temperamental approach (Liszt and the Sonata-Fantasia of Scriabin), obtaining a soft and rich sound in the six pieces of opus 118 of Brahms (in particular, the “andante teneramente”) and delighted at the beginning with Scarlatti, a composer who asks for a modern touch, but a pre-romantic spirit. Plano launched a challenge in opening the second half with Luis de Pablo’s “Retratos y Transcripciones”. The Spanish composer, now 71-years old, is a product of the school of serialism, having studied with Maderna, Boulez, Ligeti, Stockausen and Deutsch (the last student of Schoenberg), but he mantained his ethnic soul that makes his compositions entertaining. In the three pieces by De Pablo, Plano showed less inspiration in the vigorous passages, but the usual fluidity and much sentiment, which is the center of gravity of his interpretations. Plano offered a brilliant recital that defines him as an optimal young pianist. A year from now, his audience will certainly be eager to hear his sound again – and judge him in an even more flattering way. 17/11/2001

AMERICA OGGI (New York italian newspaper)

Author: Frederick L. Kirshnit My rare weekend off was flanked by two outstanding piano events, each marking the United States recital debut of its artist. On Friday, Delphine Bardin presented an intellectual evening worthy of Rudolf Serkin; on Monday, the... Read More

Author: Frederick L. Kirshnit

My rare weekend off was flanked by two outstanding piano events, each marking the United States recital debut of its artist. On Friday, Delphine Bardin presented an intellectual evening worthy of Rudolf Serkin; on Monday, the young Italian Roberto Plano reminded of another giant of the past century. Although he holds his wrists high above the keyboard, in all other respects the lithe Mr. Plano evoked the poetic and supremely confident spirit of Vladimir Horowitz. Even the program was designed to recall the Russian legend. Starting out with Scarlatti was a trademark of the bow-tied master and Plano made the most of the F minor’s subtle qualities in an understated reading. The amazingly unpredictable choices of this Baroque genius sounded all the more profound in a delicate conception, this promising prize-winner keeping his storytelling skills restrained and dignified throughout. What was most impressive in the first half of the concert was Mr. Plano’s mature interpretation of the six Brahms valedictory pieces. Exploring these depths with patience and quietude, this eloquent artist never hurried any of the dying man’s vintage reminiscences, exhibiting his expressive discipline even in sections where normally more left hand would be required (in the second intermezzo, for example). Only the ballade was played loudly (and powerfully), for the rest, Plano adopted an air of recollection in tranquility, even the Dies Irae seeming comforting in his long and large fingers. The inclusion of the music of Scriabin on the program clinched the deal that this was indeed an homage to Horowitz. Here, the prodigious technical abilities of Plano first made their tantalizing appearance, the presto played at supersonic speed and with almost perfect accuracy. Like the Finns, the young Italian pianists can be counted upon to display some of the contemporary music which distinguishes the cutting edge nature of their musical environment. A graduate of the Verdi Conservatory in Milan, Mr. Plano chose a composition by one of Bruno Maderna’s prized students, the Spaniard Luis De Pablo. This music is onomatopoetic in much the same way as Messiaen’s bird songs, inventive and playful but also strictly metrical, an Iberian version of Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie-Woogie. Although I was not familiar with the score, it certainly appeared that Plano was extremely accurate in the execution of so many notes per bar; certainly the message came through loud and clear and demonstrated that music of the 1990’s could be evocative in virtually the same ways as that of the 1860’s. After a dazzlingly big-handed and strong rendition of the Ballade # 2 that would have made even Wanda proud, Plano settled in to communicate the poetic nature of the later addition to Liszt’s groundbreaking Annees de pelerinage. Coming once again to the music of Italy through the back door, his emphasis on the Hungarian composer’s ear for the local color made this performance sound both revelatory and authentic. The first section is a joyful depiction of that uniquely Venetian mode of transport and its effusively buoyant guardians (when Wagner later died in Venice, Liszt used the image of the gondola as one of funerary cortege) and Plano’s light hearted and fingered folk melodies insistently and pleasantly oozed into our collective consciousness (compare Berlioz’ piffaro tunes of the Abruzzi region or Dvorak’s Negro spirituals-the best folk melodies are those composed by the masters of tonal coloration). It was impossible not to be infected by the spirit of these tales of travel when they were spun by such an accomplished orator. I had mentioned in my review of Ms. Bardin that the common thread of her chosen composers was that they were all deficient in their own pianistic prowess; here the opposite was true. Brahms and Liszt (along with Sigismond Thalberg and, later, Anton Rubinstein) were the greatest pianists of their era; to make their case requires an extremely secure strongbox of technical mastery. Mr. Plano has a firm hold on his technique and displays it with the air of a warrior. The closing Lisztian tarantella tied up the loose ends of the recital brilliantly; it was conceived in the same style as the tango which ended the De Pablo and was presented with a similarly breathtaking flair. Roberto Plano had shown us all not just keyboard wizardry but had also treated us to a finely thought out program. This young lion was the unanimous winner of the first prize at the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition (formerly the Casadesus). I am not at all surprised by his landslide victory; he has got my vote, and I wasn’t even there. 15/11/2001

WWW.CONCERTOCOM.NET, THE CLASSICAL MUSIC NETWORK

Author: Wilma Salisbury Italian pianist Roberto Plano knows how to make the Steinway sing. First-prize winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition, the 23-year-old artist treats the keabord like the cast of a bel canto opera performing romantic arias.... Read More

Author: Wilma Salisbury

Italian pianist Roberto Plano knows how to make the Steinway sing. First-prize winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition, the 23-year-old artist treats the keabord like the cast of a bel canto opera performing romantic arias. The tone he produces is beatiful, his sense of line unfailingly lyrical. His performance focused on the personal interpretations of a sensitive young man rather than on the individual voices of master composers.Under Plano’s expressive fingers, Scarlatti’s Sonata K466 sounded like a Chopin Nocturne. Weaving a silvery cobweb of exquisite tone, the pianist evoked a moonstruck mood. The effect was magical. In Brahm’s Klavierstuecke op.118, Plano again took liberties with the composer’s style and idea. Shaping phrases freely and pouring out melodies like liquid, he let the collection of short pieces flow in waves of velvety sonority. Plano gave his most persuasive performace in works by Liszt. The composer’s Ballade n°2 unfolded like a dramatic story in tone. “Venezia e Napoli” painted sparkling tone pictures of gondoliers singing, opera characters emoting and villagers dancing. The pianist was in his element in this colourful music. The irresistible performance won him a standing ovation. In response, he played a lovely encore, one of Mendellsohn’s “Songs without words”. A gifted virtuoso on the threshold of a big career,Plano has the talent, technique and personality to advance to the big leagues of the piano world. 06/11/2001

THE PLAIN DEALER

Author: Don Rosenberg Plano, 23, gave a resplendent reading of Beethoven. Fluent, patient and supremely elegant, he found the darkness in Beethoven’s writing even as he savored its serene lyricism. Plano produced a pearly tone that asserted itself or retreated... Read More

Author: Don Rosenberg

Plano, 23, gave a resplendent reading of Beethoven. Fluent, patient and supremely elegant, he found the darkness in Beethoven’s writing even as he savored its serene lyricism. Plano produced a pearly tone that asserted itself or retreated as the music demanded. He kept the work on the classical side of the classic-romantic borderline, defining themes and passage work with clarity yet with ample tension to mantain forward motion. Ling and the orchestra were sympathetic collaborators. 12/08/2001

THE PLAIN DEALER

Author: Don Rosenberg Italy’s Roberto Plano, 23, was consistently wonderful throughout the first three rounds, offering poetic, bold artistry that gets to the heart of every score. His repertoire yestrerday took him far and wide, starting with an atmospheric and... Read More

Author: Don Rosenberg

Italy’s Roberto Plano, 23, was consistently wonderful throughout the first three rounds, offering poetic, bold artistry that gets to the heart of every score. His repertoire yestrerday took him far and wide, starting with an atmospheric and vividly inflected account of Bartok’s Suite op.14. The dissonances stung; the folk elements danced. Plano showed superior feeling for impressionistic sonority in Debussy’s “L’isle joyeuse” wich he painted in delicate brushstrokes. In striking contrast, he embraced the tempestuous romanticism and eloquent songfulness in Brahms Sonata n°3 op.5. Plano again proved to be a musician for whom the expressive gesture is paramount. 09/08/2001

THE PLAIN DEALER

Author: Don Rosenberg Italy’s Roberto Plano once again impressed as a remarkable musician who balances emotional depht with high technical polish. He gave a hearty, fluent account of Haydn’s Sonata Hob.XVI:52, that embraced both the score’s light and dark aspects.... Read More

Author: Don Rosenberg

Italy’s Roberto Plano once again impressed as a remarkable musician who balances emotional depht with high technical polish. He gave a hearty, fluent account of Haydn’s Sonata Hob.XVI:52, that embraced both the score’s light and dark aspects. Even better were Brahms Six Pieces op.118, full of sweeping and poetic gestures, subtle touches and a superb grasp of the music’s sonic needs. 08/08/2001

THE PLAIN DEALER

Author: Don Rosenberg Italy’s Roberto Plano, 23, so far is the competition poet, with an innate gift for letting music breathe or roar as necessary. His preliminary repertoire showed him to be quietly urgent and controlled in baroque fare (Scarlatti’s... Read More

Author: Don Rosenberg

Italy’s Roberto Plano, 23, so far is the competition poet, with an innate gift for letting music breathe or roar as necessary. His preliminary repertoire showed him to be quietly urgent and controlled in baroque fare (Scarlatti’s Sonata K197), dramatic and ardent in Chopin’s Etude in B minor op.25 and remarkably impassioned in Scriabin’s Sonata op.19. 04/08/2001

THE PLAIN DEALER

Author: Roberto Zambonini The good and sure Plano has been able to give to his Liszt a trascendental dimension thanks to an impassioned and linear performance. On the other hand, with Bartok's Suite and Allegro Barbaro, Plano took us into... Read More

Author: Roberto Zambonini

The good and sure Plano has been able to give to his Liszt a trascendental dimension thanks to an impassioned and linear performance. On the other hand, with Bartok’s Suite and Allegro Barbaro, Plano took us into the hungarian folklore. If in the Allegro Barbaro he has been able to portray the rythmic impulses inside strident beats, he properly exalted the Suite op.14 with a shouting and determined pianism, above all in the two central movements. 15/03/2001

LA PROVINCIA

Author Luca Segalla Plano, fresh 1st Prize winner at the prestigious "City of Treviso" Competition, had an announced success. His very polished reading of the Bartok's Suite op.14, his musical virtuosity and the dreamy atmosphere of Liszt's Petrarch's Sonnets, the... Read More

Author Luca Segalla

Plano, fresh 1st Prize winner at the prestigious “City of Treviso” Competition, had an announced success. His very polished reading of the Bartok’s Suite op.14, his musical virtuosity and the dreamy atmosphere of Liszt’s Petrarch’s Sonnets, the emotional tension in the long and thick Brahms Sonata op.5 are seldom heard, and then only by very experienced pianists. 25/02/2001

LOMBARDIA OGGI (Prealpina)

Author: Alice Avila It was a pleasant surprise to listen to Roberto Plano, for the first time in Catania. The public was very enthusiastic after the performance of the 22 year old pianist, rewarding him with abbondant applause. Plano's stylistic... Read More

Author: Alice Avila

It was a pleasant surprise to listen to Roberto Plano, for the first time in Catania. The public was very enthusiastic after the performance of the 22 year old pianist, rewarding him with abbondant applause. Plano’s stylistic maturity was remarkable. Above all there were elegance and precision in the Brahms Sonata op.5, poetry in music played in the right way. He was brought back twice for encores: a Chopin Nocturne and the Troll Dance by Grieg. 04/02/2001

LA SICILIA

Author: Helmut Maurò This performance was a real revelation: Roberto Plano showed with his Gasteig recital that the season organized by the Munchner Musikseminar can present some real talents. Plano has been able to extract from his keyboard every kind... Read More

Author: Helmut Maurò

This performance was a real revelation: Roberto Plano showed with his Gasteig recital that the season organized by the Munchner Musikseminar can present some real talents. Plano has been able to extract from his keyboard every kind of sound, from the soft pianissimo to the powerful fortissimo. He succeeded in reaching with his music also the last rows of the sold-out hall. His Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and Liszt were very original but you could see that his personality was behind his interpretations. In this way also an extremely slow rendition of the Andantino in the Schumann Sonata in G minor beatifully escaped boredom…He is a deep and exciting pianist. 19/08/1999

SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG

Author: Tamara Pertusini ..Roberto Plano demonstrated a sturdy technique, a living conception of the musical form and clearly expressive intentions. The 21year old pianist was a surprise for his search for the right sound, and for the personal way of... Read More

Author: Tamara Pertusini

..Roberto Plano demonstrated a sturdy technique, a living conception of the musical form and clearly expressive intentions. The 21year old pianist was a surprise for his search for the right sound, and for the personal way of expressing his musical poetry. Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms were charachterized by a powerful way of playing and by a delicate sensibility in revealing even the hidden shadings. Plano was also a surprising master of fluency and richness of colour in the Liszt’s Mephisto Walzer, picking up warm applause and request of three encores from the public. 01/08/1999

IL CORRIERE DELLA SERA