Instrumentalists
Acclaim

An excellent example of the resilience of Perle’s work is a new recording on BMOP Sound. The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose, presents a disc of Perle’s Serenades: one featuring viola soloist Wenting Kang, another featuring piano soloist Donald Berman, and another for a chamber orchestra of eleven players...Berman does a marvelous job with the solo part, playing incisively with rhythmic precision and precise coordination with the ensemble...Rose leads BMOP through all three serenades with characteristic attention to detail and balance. The players prepared well for this challenging program. Better advocates would not have been the wish of the composer. Kudos to BMOP for keeping Perle’s memory and music alive. This disc handily makes my Best of 2019 list.

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Christian Carey, Sequenza 21

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project are quietly building a most impressive library of contemporary American composition. For their latest release, though, they have turned to the long-lived George Perle (1915-2009), whose three Serenades were written between 1962 and 1983... No 3 for piano (1983) is the finest, a real mini-concerto; Donald Berman is as persuasive as Richard Goode (Bridge and Nonesuch)...this splendid, well-performed disc is indispensable for devotees of late 20th-century American music (and should appeal more widely), with beautifully clear sound."

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Guy Rickards, Gramophone

"The more time and releases go by the more impressive to me becomes the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), an American composer-New Music oriented series of great excellence...Director-conductor Gil Rose and the orchestra keep coming up with very timely and impeccably created releases, no less so today with composer George Perle (1915-2009) and his Serenades (BMOP 1067)..No 3 is for piano and chamber orchestra and Donald Berman gives us power and poetics at the piano helm...All have a beautiful unraveling about them, thoroughly High Modern in their attention to advanced harmonic-melodic tonality at the edge...Listen to the long and winding piano run in the penultimate movement of the Third Serenade and you will have no doubt of Perle's centrality to things now...I do recommend this highly...BMOP give us exemplary performances. Bravo!."

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Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

Donald Berman’s recitals always embrace different
universes. One of the great Ivesians of our time, he can
play with (and around) the composer with the
verisimilitude of both scholar and artist. He can take Berio
and Fauré, contrast them with Bach, and the results are
equally enlightening. Never being “cute” in his choices, Mr. Berman’s programs, enigmatic to read on paper, have their own reason. And he has both the chops and sagacity to make them live.

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Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNet.com

It’s too late to hear Chopin play Chopin or Liszt play Liszt. But the chance to hear Donald Berman play Charles Ives is almost as fascinating...Donald Berman played it with all the technical purpose it demands. Yet–and this was most important–that old-fashioned musical feeling, that Alcott-style sentiment always present. Never finished, never a thing in itself, but a vital part of Thoreau’s own contradictions...Mr. Berman was the first to record Varied Air and Variations, yet I would love to hear it again and again. The “air” was a march-tune (his father was a bandmaster) in unison played with both hands. After that...well, that was Charley Ives having rip-roaring fun. Not that I could figger out where original air was located. The “variations” were part marching songs, part digital impossibility (not to Donald Berman) and part sentiment, actually quite beautiful...While the other composers were hardly Lilliputian, Charles Ives was a giant in every sense of the word. And if we had our druthers, it would be wonderful to have Donald Berman play a whole evening from this towering, transcendental mind.

 

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Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNet.com

The debut performances of Late Night at Emmanuel took its sassy place on Saturday at 8 and 10 PM. This lark caught the first show, and pronounced it an immediate, if not unexpected, smash hit...Their musicians included the very impressive pianist Donald Berman, the bassist Randall Zigler, and the Arneis Quartet (violinists Heather Braun and Rose Drucker, violist Daniel Doña, and cellist Agnes Kim)...Lynn Torgove once again astonished with her virtuosity and sublime musicianship, as did pianist Donald Berman. Wow.

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Susan Miron, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

BargeMusic was standing room only last night for Donald Berman. And for good reason. Mr. Berman is famed for his premieres and championship of contemporary composers. But his recital last night exemplified the official biographical description, as “one of the chief exponents of new works by living composers, overlooked music by 20th Century masters and recitals that link classical and modern repertoires.”...It takes far far more than Mr. Berman’s ebullient playing, his technique and taste to draw in this audience of fans, friends, fellow composers , and the simply curious. Rather, it is Mr. Berman’s programing imagination, where 16 different works from three centuries became unified, even monumental at times...In other words, Donald Berman, for all his technical prowess, his power, his personal charm, managed to link virtually all the music, where even Mr. Wheeler’s pieces were memories of other people, other times. It was a rare program, and Mr. Berman is a rare performer...

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Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNet.com

Weekend opens with classical overtures in Distler Performance Hall

Tufts hosts melodies of Schoenberg, Shostakovich

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Matthew Welch, THE TUFTS DAILY

The Boston Musical Intelligencer ~ A virtual journal and blog of the classical music scene in Boston

"Berman was also fleet, delicate and powerful, as the occasion demanded"

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Vance R. Koven, The Boston Musical Intelligencer
David Sanford's "Dogma74'' (another Boston premiere, conducted by Julian Pellicano, with Hershman-Tcherepnin, Heffner, Russell, and Berman joined by violist Anne Black) was both more pugnacious and more beguiling. The vocabulary is all tensile drones, punchy rhythms, dissonant, crackling atmosphere. But both the insistence of the ideas and their intuitively sure progression hinted at hidden narratives. Any boundaries were not so much dissolved as shrugged off; the combination of vivid immediacy and lingering mystery was invigorating enough that one simply forgot to tally any stylistic debt. Read More...
Matthew Guerrieri, Globe Correspondent, The Boston Globe
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