Photo ©Kaupo Kikkas

Photo ©Kaupo Kikkas

From the Press

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“In an auspicious debut recording, Zsolt Bognar pays homage to Franz Schubert and Franz Liszt, a recital of resonant power and often compelling poetry…Bognar makes an impressive debut in this piece [Dante Sonata], much as David Bar-Illan had in his RCA LP some fifty years ago. The legato playing by Bognar persuasively transports us to more ethereally poetic regions, where salvation reigns. The right-hand arpeggios assume a gossamer luster and cumulative sweep quite reminiscent of the best pages in Liszt from veterans Cziffra and Horowitz.”

-Gary Lemco | Audiophile Audition Magazine | November 23, 2014

“Bognár’s complex musical lineage is reflected in his playing, which is at once virtuosic, probing, and affecting…Bognár’s playing sizzles with white-hot virtuosity, pinpoint control, and interpretive freedom reminiscent of Lazar Berman.”

“I know of no recording of the feature repertoire that is finer than Bognár’s. The most appropriate praise that comes to mind is that another critic once bestowed upon Ivan Moravec—each and every one of these recordings is a thing of beauty itself, rare and luminous as a Ming Vase.”

-Radu A. Lelutiu | Fanfare Magazine | September 27, 2013

“A fine sensitive musician who can play what is written in the score without the ridiculous idiosyncrasies that sadly make their way into most modern performers… The thunder, fear and despair of his version of Liszt’s ‘Dante’ Sonata harks back to towering giants from the Golden Age.”

-Erica Worth | Pianist Magazine |  September 21, 2015

“This artist is well worth the attention of any serious music lover… ‘visceral’ is one of the words used by the European press to describe his playing, and I cannot think of a better choice.”

-Alan Becker | American Record Guide | January/February 2014


Of his Berlin debut at Konzerthaus: “Bound in playing that was intellectually shaped, powerful, and of crystalline precision, Zsolt Bognár presented himself in works of Liszt, Beethoven, and was wonderfully unpretentious in Schumann’s Kinderszenen.”

Gerald Felber | Märkische Allgemeine, Germany | August 8, 2012

“…Overwhelmingly visceral…” and “informed by natural logic…”

 

“He revealed the fullest spectrum of the piano’s possibilities, and in addition gave especially deep insights into his interpretations of Beethoven and Schubert, and was free from all interpretive clichés.  His was a phenomenal sound world realized with the maximum palette…”

 

“…He greeted the stage with enormous conviction and presence… here was a clear window to the Russian Piano School in America.  Clearly it is time for Zsolt Bognár to be heard and to make his debut around the world.”

-Rudolf Nammensma | Leeuwarder Courant, Holland  |  December 12, 2007

“A riveting young pianist…Bognár played with a sure command of notes and technique, but his rich and subtle variety of nuances and his sense of scale really put the piece across. This was a thoughtful, transparent, chamber orchestra-sized performance, not one where the soloist wields Lisztian power against a small ensemble. The soloist won a hearty ovation from the large audience — as well as three large bouquets which reposed colorfully on the cheek of the piano as he gave the crowd an encore.”

-Daniel Hathaway | clevelandclassical.com | September 9, 2014

“Zsolt Bognár was at once extraordinary and authentic in his performance… an awesome display of his growing physical and mental virtuosity… Bognár brought to the hall the energy of classical music and a reminder, when none is needed, why Cleveland is a great music city…”

-Peter Holmes | The Akron Beacon Journal  |  February 2, 2006

 

“…compelling and oddly touching…such an interpretation made it evident that Liszt’s pictorial imagination seldom abandoned emotional engagement with his material.  Full integrity…onrushing but controlled sweep.”

Jay Harvey | The Indianapolis Star | December 5, 2011

 

“Zsolt Bognár’s rendition of Liszt’s Après une Lecture de Dante was astonishing.  The technical difficulty of this work would certainly be daunting for any pianist, but Mr. Bognár did not give any indication of this.  Instead, he seemed to follow Liszt’s journey through Dante’s work, conveying both torment before reaching happiness”

Joyce Portnoy | LocalArtsLive, Philadelphia | April 28, 2013

 

“Bognár’s playing is Romantic through and through; the electrifying but sure technique in Liszt’s arrangement of Paganini’s “La Chasse” makes the music seem almost ridiculously easy. …He takes full advantage of a fabulous range of tone color, which the recording engineers capture perfectly. (Carefully modulated bass-register sonorities in the “Doppelganger” arrangement mark another high point of his artistry.)

-Rob Haskins | Musings About Music |  September 25, 2014

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