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Borletti-Buitoni Trust

Hannes Minnaar piano

Rachmaninov & Ravel, CD on Etcetera

"A talent to watch" 
Norman Lebrecht, La Scena 18 December 2011

This is indeed an astonishing debut... Minnaar is faultless in pacing the many climaxes of the outer movements to attain coherence of the whole, and the strongest sense of direction [ref Rachmaninov Piano Sonata No 1]...This is a disc which I will not be putting away for a long time yet.” 
Nicholas Salwey, International Record Review Feb 2012

“...simply sensational...This is a definitive recording [ref Rachmaninov Piano Sonata No 1]...every note of the 40-minute piece is coloured and paced with anticipation and a keen eye for the structure of the whole narration. In this respect, Minnaar has few rivals...Minnaar has the makings of a great artist: a natural technique, musical intelligence, personality, modesty and a talent for hard work (so valued by Rachmaninov). In all, a most thrilling debut and an absolute must hear.”
Eric Schoones, International Piano Magazine Nov/Dec 2011

“...a very fine recording indeed...delicacy of touch, plenty of muscle though ... Very skilful playing indeed. Bold choices for a debut. Impressive.”
CD Review BBC Radio 3 14 January 2012.

For his debut CD he displays further attributes as a convincing tonal colourist and ardent Romantic. I was much taken with the sound world Minnaar creates… He’s a natural talent with a bold streak. I wish him well.”
Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone December 2011

“The sensational young Dutch pianist Hannes Minnaar, international prize-winner and recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship…displays his extravagant gifts in this debut disc… Minaar’s virtuosity needs no comment: we expect that. His musical intelligence, sense of line and structure, delicacy, subtlety of texture and discipline set him apart. His Ravel is muscular and sparkling, his Rachmaninov glowing, meticulous and fervent… Watch out for him.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer 20 November 2011

Francesco Piemontesi piano

Recital CD on Avanti Classic

"Francesco Piemontesi combines communicative panache with remarkable insight...[an] exceptional talent"
Geoffrey Norris, Daily Telegraph 6 August 2011

“...this pianist reveals a powerful gift of intimacy. You have to stop and listen.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer 31 July 2011

“Franceso Piemontesi's latest recital disc confirms the fine impression left by his set of Schumann's piano sonatas released by Claves last year. There's a real aristocratic sweep to this 27-year-old Swiss pianist's playing; the Handel suite from which Brahms extracted the theme of his Handel Variations is generously expressive, while Piemontesi's account of the Brahms Variations themselves, if not barnstorming exactly, is full of delicacy and transparent textures that make you hang on every phrase.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian 20 June 2011

“Intelligence, refinement, elegance of tone, as well as complete clarity of polyphony are all characteristic of this musician, born in 1983. This is particularly beneficial in Brahms’ Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, which is superbly interpreted.”
Le Monde June 2011

Nino Gvetadze piano

Widmung: piano music by Franz Liszt, CD on Orchid Classics

“…Gvetadze has all the necessary technical equipment to give the big moments their full impact – and thrillingly so; and yet there’s always a sense of a musing, meditative intelligence exploring their layers of meaning in the very act of playing, as if she is spontaneously creating the music under her fingers. Her very wide range of colour, always sensitively and appropriately applied, subtle pedalling and a beautifully intuitive, almost Paderewskian sense ofrubato make these no question. But these have a magic of their own.”
Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine November 2011

“Her technique is sublime, but never takes the leading role. This is a pianist with a fantastic tone culture and deep inner poetry.”
Christo Ielie, Trouw newspaper

“Gvetadze plays with a fine balance of delicacy and bravado, and her interpretations are perfectly tailored to the needs of each piece. The variety of Liszt's expressions are matched by her subtle use of color and accentuation, and her touch is remarkably consistent and even, for changing easily from the softest dynamics to the loudest with little apparent effort... this is a worthy contribution to the Liszt celebrations, and Gvetadze's artistic performances deserve serious attention.”
Blair Sanderson, allmusic.com

“Her tone is liquescent and her sprays of pianistic foritura sound effortless, yet she possesses all of the strength that Liszt’s writing requires.”
Stephen Pruslin, International Record Review September 2011

“…it [Gretchen am Spinnrade animation film] is not only charming and atmospheric but is also extremely accurate in conveying her fingers on the keyboard…. This short film constitutes an unexpected visual bonus to a CD that would be very worth acquiring even without it.”
Stephen Pruslin, International Record Review September 2011

Khatia Buniatishvili piano

Music by Franz Liszt, Debut CD on Sony Classical of 

“The B minor Sonata is the centrepiece of Buniatishvili's programme, and she goes at it with real ferocity, ratcheting up the intensity within the first few dozen bars and hardly pausing for breath from then on... Her floating of the melody of the Liebestraum, and her elegant weaving through the mysterious harmonies of La Lugubre Gondola, though, show there is much more to her artistry than just full-frontal musical assaults.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian 2 June 2011

“It's unlikely that any other Liszt record in this centenary year will outdo this pianistic debut by Georgia's fiery young star. Her account of the great B minor Sonata has Olympian grandeur; her Mephisto Waltz No1 alternates between swooning delicacy and a furiously laser-like accuracy; La Lugubre Gondola has hieratic mystery. Magnificent.”
Michael Church, The Independent 30 April 2011

“This debut disc looks like a safe ‘Best of Liszt’ selection but, thrillingly, is much more than that. Buniatishvili is a young artist with a huge temperament and technique that puts one in mind of the young Martha Argerich...”
Jeremy Nicholas, Classic FM Magazine August 2011

Henk Neven baritone

Auf einer Burg, CD on Onyx Classics

“Neven has an exceptional voice - perfectly controlled, ideal for German Lieder. It is hardly an exaggeration to think of him on the evidence of this fine disc as successor to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau... It is a long time since I enjoyed a disc of Lieder from a young singer quite as much as this, and I long to hear more from him.”
Edward Greenfield, Gramophone July 2011

“...An intelligent reading, a sense of dignity in the timbre, exceptional diction... Not only in [Henk Neven’s] voice but also in the interpretation there is a great sense of breadth with his flexible approach to the music. The musical conversation between Neven and his excellent accompanist gives extra sparkle. This is a CD that you will want to hear over and over again.”
Thiemo Wind, De Telegraaf April 2011

“Here's a name to watch…Neven's highly individual timbre is unlike any other lieder interpreter's: he sings with astonishing technical finesse, verbal acuity and a sense of wonder in these pieces from Schumann's annus mirabilis of song, 1840... Eijsacker's virtuoso piano-playing only enhances this remarkable young singer's outstanding debut.”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times 17 April 11

“Here emerges a young baritone for the Lieder repertoire to take up the torch on the eventual retirement of Thomas Allen, Thomas Hampson, Wolfgang Holzmair, Simon Keenlyside and Thomas Quasthoff, all now in their fifties or beyond. Henk Neven possesses a lyric baritone with both resonance and sap in the tone, the ability to articulate text with clarity but without fussy over-emphasis... I am confident that he is on the threshold of a fine career.”
Colin Anderson, Classical Source 23 April 2011

“He has a beautiful voice, flexible, rounded and warm, and sings, always in the middle of the note, with much intelligence and no affectation.”
Lucy Beckett, International Record Review June 2011

Elias String Quartet

The Beethoven Project website dedicated to preparations for a complete cycle of Beethoven String Quartets from 2011-2015www.thebeethovenproject.com

“It’s a very interesting package; not just a cheap marketing shot, but a real attempt to demystify the whole business of string quartets, the almost mythical status of Beethoven, and to draw listeners into the process of learning, collaboration and assembling this mighty series of non-stop masterpieces.”
Michael Tumelty, The Herald 18 April 2011

“A wonderful and wonderfully ambitious project has just been launched by the young Elias Quartet, a truly in-depth approach to the complete Beethoven quartets…It’s a splendid venture, generously sponsored by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, a great supporter of classical music to whom we’re all indebted.”
James Jolly, Gramophone June 2011

“The young and very gifted Elias String Quartet are getting ready for the big one – Beethoven, the complete string quartets. But how does a young group get the word out in a market that is half competitive, half indifferent and when so many other brands are far better known? Start with a website…get a few heavyweights to blog on it, kicking off with the Lindsay Quartet’s Peter Cropper. Keep the thing refreshed with new features. Shoot a short film. Build an audience online. Look and learn. That’s how. I like these guys. They’re thinking creative.”
Norman Lebrecht, Arts Journal 1 April 2011

Martin Helmchen piano

Shostakovich Piano Concertos & Piano Quintetwith London Philharmonic Orchestra & Vladimir Jurowski, CD on LPO's own label

“...a disc of exuberance and, as ever with this composer, melancholy.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer 20 March 2011

“Martin Helmchen shows himself adept in all aspects of No 1’s quirky humour, No 2’s playful high spirits and - in the famousAndante - a nostalgic romanticism Rachmaninov might have been proud of… What makes this disc more special is a truly superb account of Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet…this is one of the most impressive performances of the work that I’ve heard in recent years.”
Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine July 2011

Julian Steckel cello

Korngold, Bloch, Goldschmidt concertos with Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie & Daniel Raiskin, CD on Avi-Service for music

“...compelling recording…Steckel plays each with touching sensitivity. While Korngold beguiles, and Bloch challenges, the standout piece is Goldschmidt’s in a zestful performance.”
Yorkshire Post 10 June 2011

“Steckel understands the work [Goldschmidt Cello Concerto] better than any soloist I have heard... Not to be missed.”
Norman Lebrecht, La Scena Musicale 30 May 2011

“What impresses and indeed thrills me about Steckel’s playing is the range of colour and emotion he finds in this trio of rather wonderful scores... Here on a single disc we have the finest version of the Korngold and performances of major works by Bloch and Goldschmidt more than equal to any other. Julian Steckel – remember that name – Bravo!””
Nick Barnard, Music Web-International July 2011

Aronowitz Ensemble

From ONE to SEVEN, concert series at The Forge, Camden

“The penultimate concert in The Aronowitz Ensemble's residency at The Forge, Camden, took the listener from the dazzling pop and spit of Salvatore Sciarrino's Notturni brillanti for solo viola (Lily Francis) to the night-scented arpeggios of Schubert's Notturno (Tom Poster, Guy Johnston and Magnus Johnston), and on to the fretful stirrings of Bartok's Fifth String Quartet and Schoenberg's shame-drugged idyll, Verklärte Nacht. Boccherini's rowdy Variazioni sulla Ritirata notturna di Madrid offered comic relief, while Poster's arrangement of Strauss's Morgen brought all seven players together for a cheesy sunrise... such an absurd abundance of talent in this ensemble”
Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday 6 March 2011

“Imaginative programming, high-calibre performances, convivial atmosphere. What more could one ask for?”
Barry Millington, London Evening Standard 18 April 2011

Ralph van Raat piano

Gavin Bryars' Piano Concerto, The Solway Canal, CD on Naxos

“Bryars’s craftsmanship is undeniable, the sources imaginatively chosen and cleverly manipulated, the integrity absolute…Van Raat is a passionate, skilled advocate.”
Stephen Pettitt, Sunday Times March 2011

Alexei Ogrintchouk oboe

Bach Oboe Concertos with Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Alina Ibragimova violin, CD on BIS

“An intriguing disc, fastidiously researched…The Swedish Chamber Orchestra plays crisply and cleanly with a sound perfectly matched to Ogrintchouk’s own (extremely fine and technically impeccable) sound…this is a fine performance.”
Early Music Today March/May 2011

“Ogrintchouk plays it [A major Concerto for oboe d’amore] beautifully…with a just appreciation of the instrument’s mellow tonal qualities. He has the understanding of how Bach’s long phrases are braced by shorter ones within their span, which is an essential quality of good Bach-playing. The other two solo concertos find him equally at home…simply be grateful for four admirably played and recorded oboe concertos by a great composer who wrote demandingly but incomparably for the instrument.”
John Warrack, Gramophone February 2011

“Alexei Ogrintchouk... offers playing that’s graceful, beautiful and searchingly expressive.”
Malcolm Hayes, Classic FM Magazine March 2011

“What's consistently authentic, though, is the quality of Ogrintchouk's playing, with its fulsome tone and clean articulation. He's placed well forward in the sound picture but the contribution of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra is important, too; forget the musicology, it's a delightful disc.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian 23 December 2010