"[The conductor] Shao-Chia Lü and the pianist Alexander Schimpf are clearly in agreement on one thing: Furore for its own sake is out of the question for them. (...) Not that Liszt’s “Totentanz” would now make an impression of being tamed. It is appropriately powerful, gruff, full of pathos, where necessary. But the real fascination is the appreciation of the wonderful differentiation of this composition as well as the artistry of Alexander Schimpf. What a blessing: A 36-year-old appears in front of the audience and simply plays the piano superbly without any fuss or showing off – at the highest technical level as if it were a matter of course, with an inspired tone of wonderfully warm clarity."
-- Rheinzeitung, Januar 2017 --
"The focal point of the matinée concert was the performance of pianist Alexander Schimpf in [Beethoven's] 2nd and 4th Piano Concertos. (...) Alexander Schimpf possesses outstanding technique and a noble and substantial touch which do not romanticize the concertos, but instead achieve a sense of Classical proportions. And in the cadenza of the opening movement of the opus 19 there was even a hint of Bach (which Schimpf gave as an encore with an arrangement of “Sheep May Safely Graze”).
To him, Classicism does not mean dryness, either. The entry of his solo part in the opus 58 was poetic and soulful, not merely a series of chords. Details such as the slight compression in the fourth bar gave a concise shape to his interpretation. And even Beethoven’s quirky humor – as seen in the syncopations of the Rondo in the B-major concerto – was not neglected."
-- Kölner Stadtanzeiger, Germany, March 2016 --
"The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra gave a grand 58th season opener on Saturday evening by featuring a guest soloist who inspired an artful and lyrical collaboration (...) Making his Washington-area debut with Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16, Alexander Schimpf displayed a remarkable ability to generate an expressive singing tone out of the Steinway grand. From gentle melodies and gossamer arpeggios to swifter passages and chords that were carefully articulated, the pianist ensured that every note he played was deliberate yet sonorous, and he savored each sound as one relishes a bit of melting chocolate in the mouth.
The orchestra, under Music Director Christopher Zimmerman’s baton, achieved a synchronous and responsive partnership with Schimpf, blending so effortlessly that the concerto took on the operatic quality of an aria. (...)"
-- The Washington Post, September 2014 --
"The recitals on Wednesday were fascinating. Mr. Schimpf, who won first prize in the prestigious Cleveland International Piano Competition in 2011, began his program with a vibrant, articulate account of Bach’s Toccata in E minor. (....) In a swirling, seductive account of Debussy’s “L’Isle Joyeuse,” Mr. Schimpf conveyed exactly what kind of joy the visitors to the island of the work’s title were indulging in.
Beethoven’s late Sonata No. 29 in B flat (Op. 106), “Hammerklavier,” is the longest, most audacious and difficult of his sonatas. It is always an event to hear it performed, and there was much to admire in Mr. Schimpf’s account. He brought a light touch, bright sound and bracing energy to the monumental first movement. (...) He was at his best (...) in the searching slow movement, played with magisterial elegance and sensitivity. And he reined in the tempo of the daunting final fugue just enough to let the tangle of crazed counterpoint come through and sound, well, excitingly crazy."
-- Anthony Tomassini, The New York Times, July 2014 --
[Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 5, Greensboro Symphony, Dmitry Sitkovetsky]
"...one senses Beethoven would have been wowed by Thursday night's performer, the 30-something Alexander Schimpf. From opening forte chords and ensuing piano cadenza, it was clear that Schimpf is a powerful player who brought the virtuosity of the score to the fore. Indeed, one sometimes forgets what a showpiece the opening measures are: cascade upon cascade of arpeggios, trills and scales, all played by Schimpf with bravura and clarity.
Of course, after the opening piano proclamation, the pianist must remain mute for three and a half minutes of orchestral exploration of the main themes of the first movement. But when the soloist returned to his music making, he not only continued to display the brilliant playing of the outset, but also revealed a musical soul searching for the beautiful, lyric melodies that are also part of this magnificent work.
Nowhere is lyricism more evident than in the hushed second movement. Here one hears the inner Beethoven, the composer who struggled his entire life to overcome not only his deafness but also his inability to successfully function in a society that was at odds with his personality. Pure romanticism, exquisitely explored by Schimpf's subtly nuanced music making.
The final movement is a curious romp with a limp, an assertive theme with a rhythmic twist. It was no-holds-barred playing by both soloist and orchestra. Sitkovetsky and Schimpf kept in close contact with each other, and the result was good ensemble from beginning to end (...)."
-- Classical Voice of North Carolina, May 2014 --
"What followed surely must rank as one of, if not the most enthralling performances by a CSO guest soloist in recent years. Pianist Alexander Schimpf, whose increasing rise to international acclaim includes winning First Prize at the 2011 Cleveland International Piano Competition, didn’t merely play with, but rather seemed to breathe in unison with the CSO. In an inspired exposition of Grieg’s magnificent Piano Concerto in a minor, orchestra and piano were equal partners in a compelling conversation (...)
There was neither superfluous bravado nor frivolous ornamentation in Schimpf’s playing, whether in his utterly breathtaking cadenza at the end of the first movement or in the mellifluous, dream-like second movement. Instead, he invested every note, chord or arpeggio with a sincerity of dramatic purpose and authentic poeticism, all the way through the rhapsodic theme developments of the majestic finale. (...)
The sheer magic imparted by this pianist left me wondering if, after intermission, Elgar’s Enigma Variations would feel somewhat anticlimactic. (...)"
-- Cleveland Classical, November 2013 --
"From the opening work, Schubert's Sonata in A minor, D. 784, Schimpf's special qualities were clear. He has the patience needed for Schubert, a feeling for the music's extenuated interior drama, its startling contrasts of tone and dynamics. His instinct for momentary silences was unfailingly apt. Abrupt shifts of color and texture characteristic of the composer's great sonatas seemed logical and cunningly well-prepared in Schimpf's hands.
[Brahms'] Piano Pieces, op. 119, had a breadth of feeling in Schimpf's interpretation, putting the three intermezzi and the Rhapsody in E-flat major each in its distinctive world. (...)
The recital concluded with Beethoven's Sonata in C minor, op. 111, in a breathtaking performance (...) In this performance, however, it was the shimmering intensity, the enveloping sonority, the evenness of touch (with those persistent trills) that enthralled the audience on the way to the hushed final bars."
-- Jay Harvey Upstage, Indianapolis, March 2013 --
"...the fast-rising young German pianist Alexander Schimpf, 30, played an impressive program. He opened with Bach’s French Suite No. 5 in G in an exquisite performance that found a judicious balance between lyrical freedom and articulate, dancelike tempos and touch. He was equally fine in Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Sonata, Scriabin’s Five Preludes (Op. 74) and a beautifully colored, crisp and lively account of Ravel’s 'Tombeau de Couperin'."
-- Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, July 2012 --
"Schimpf, the last to take the stage, distinguished himself in more ways than one Saturday performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4. (...) Then came the performance, the finest of the four, marked by secure interaction with the orchestra and complete mastery of the score's technical and emotional dimensions. By turns, the pianist whipped up storms, spun out golden filigree, and plumbed philosophical depths. Others played their selections. He owned his."
-- The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, August 2011 --
"(...) Saving the best for last seems to have been a sub-theme of this competition all along. Saturday evening’s performance of Beethoven’s fourth concerto by the 29-year old German pianist Alexander Schimpf was a triumph of sheer musicality as well as technical prowess. (...) Mr. Schimpf was completely in charge of the destiny of this wonderful piece, partnering with Maestro Wilkins to create intimate conversations with the orchestra (...) It was quite obvious that he understood the ethos of the Clevelanders — that this is an orchestra that plays big works with all the attention to ensemble and detail of chamber musicians. Mr. Schimpf stood out among the finalists for his ability to play in that arena. The results were spectacular (and the standing ovation immediate and unanimous)."
-- ClevelandClassical.com, August 2011 --
"...a poet and thinker at the piano..."(Schwäbisches Tagblatt)
"...an artistic moment of glory..."(Wiesbadener Kurier)
"...magisterial elegance and sensitivity..."(New York Times)
"...captivating intensity of expression..."(Göttinger Tageblatt)
"...every note he played was deliberate yet sonorous..."Washington Post
"...soulful and poetic..."Kölner Stadtanzeiger
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