Mr. Ghindin ended by conquering the devilish demands of Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, the highlight of the evening. The enthusiastic audience was rewarded with three encores.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
The LPO conducted by Vladimir Jurowski and Russian pianist Alexander Ghindin – performing the original version of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 1 – presented a thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating performance. Both Jurowski and Ghindin were totally committed to showcase the composition at its best. Ghindin, in his Prom debut, manifested full control and controlled passion without any showmanship. His dedication to every note of the virtuoso material and his mastery of cantilena playing did more than justic to Rachmaninov’s first version of the concerto.
SEEN & HEARD INTERNATIONAL
It must have been the thrill of their relatively young lives, playing a cornerstone of the repertory with the Cleveland Orchestra in Severance Hall. The lucky – and gifted – four were the finalists in the 17th biennial Cleveland International Piano Competition. It was Alexander Ghindin of Russia who garnered the whopping first prize for a series of muscular and assured performances, including a grandly conceived account of Liszt’s B-minor Sonata in the semifinals and a potent and nuanced reading of Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto. Of the four, only Ghindin possessed the stage maturity of a world-class professional pianist.
As a pianist, Ghindin is a formidable presence. His tone is big, and he elicits cataracts of sound from the instrument. There is great strength in his arms, wrists and fingers, and he is not afraid to unleash it. His technique, too, is developed to such a degree that he is able to respond to whatever impulse might occur to him at the moment. It makes for an exciting, unpredictable recital experience, in which a well-considered structural and narrative approach is the canvas on which he executes, vivid, sometimes mercurial flashes of inspiration.
THE PLAIN DEALER (Cleveland)
Ghindin Splendid with Rachmaninov [headline]
One could have imagined Rachmaninov himself at the keyboard with an Ormandy-era Philadelphia Orchestra behind him as guest soloist Alexander Ghindin tore into the Rachmaninov First Piano Concerto with Kevin Rhodes at the helm of the Springfield Symphony. It was that good. In pre-concert interviews, Rhodes made grand promises for Ghindin’s performance; Ghindin and everyone on stage delivered the goods, utterly justifying the standing ovation that swept the crowd.
THE REPUBLICAN (Springfield, MA)
In the case of the Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major by Prokofiev, as performed by Alexander Ghindin, we’re talking a whole lot of real, honest notes played extraordinarily well. He is one of those rare pianists who combines expressiveness with finely honed technique, so that every note he plays is struck with laser-like precision, yet each passage is so perfectly phrased that the music sounds as if he is improvising on the spot – that the soloist is not so much playing along with the orchestra as challenging it, dueling with it. Ghindin responded to the heartfelt standing ovation he received with an encore that was completely surprising and completely wonderful – John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever, performed in a way that can only be described as orchestral.
The history of musical competitions shows that only a handful of top-prize winners go on to major concert careers. But Ghindin’s first recital here since taking first prize in August confirmed that he is no pianistic fluke. He was poetic and charismatic in ‘From Russia with Love,’ his program at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The advertising turned out to be truthful: The repertoire remained firmly entrenched in the pianist’s homeland, and he played as if he adored each of the gazillion notes his fingers projected.
THE PLAIN DEALER (Cleveland)
The enthusiasm of Ghindin’s playing is hard to resist, and Tchaikovsky’s huge Sonata doesn’t appear on disc so often that a performance with such sweep and grandeur can be easily ignored.
THE GUARDIAN (England)
Sasha’s performance was stunning. We have had many fine pianists play for us, but none of them have come close to engendering the level of excitement and enthusiasm in our audience as he has – both last night and in his first recital for us in 2009. He is a rare artist: serious and imaginative in creating his programs and interpretations; generous and exuberant in performance. A very special talent.
Arthur Scott, Chair – Artistic Selection Committee – Del Valle Fine Arts (Livermore, CA)
An Aristocrat and a Poet
In Alexander Ghindin we are fortunate to find the perfect combination of artist and musician. His whisper, like that of great tragic actors of the past, is heard clearly even in the last row of the balcony, and his ‘shout’ never exceeds that of genuine emotion. He has total control of the Hall, speaking to each listener personally, conveying the innermost meaning of the piece he is playing.
EVERYTHING ABOUT THE PIANO WORLD (Moscow)
Rimsky-Korsakov’s Concerto is a charming work, full of folksy whimsy, light-spirited sparkle and Russian ‘fragrance’. The twists and turns of the opening Moderatowere fleetly negotiated by Jurowski and his soloist, Alexander Ghindin, and there was a refreshing airiness. Ghindin had all the notes under his fingers and conjured a sense of freedom and invention: the light touch of the trickling cascades provided glitter but there was also apt power when required.
SEEN & HEARD INTERNATIONAL