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“Living Up to a Giant”

Ms.Akagi took the long view of this masterpiece, Rachmaninoff’s Second Sonata, establishing an overarching awareness of the structure of the work and painstakingly filling out her drawing with exquisite detail. Especially welcome were her lyrical passages, which employed a sweet smoothness and a remarkable sense of absolute rhythm. I thought of the conducting of Herbert von Karajan, so regular was this pianist’s meter. According to Paul Griffiths, Toru Takemitsu specifies in his notes to the pianistic essay, “Les Yeux Clos” (“Closed Eyes”), that one should “produce changes of color and time as if they were floating.” Ms. Akagi certainly accomplished this feat, realizing this important work by one of the greatest and most neglected composers of the last century. Takemitsu is essentially creating a new language in this piece and Yukiko Akagi speaks it fluently.

Fred Kirshnit

The New York Sun (U.S.)

“Akagi’s rendition of Grieg Concerto takes breath away”

It is perhaps too easy to say that guest pianist Yukiko Akagi took everyone’s breath away with her superb playing of Grieg’s Piano Concerto. Akagi’s performance skillfully combined technical accuracy with an artistic interpretation that got to the heart of beautiful Grieg’s Concerto. The orchestra accompanied Akagi well throughout, but as the final notes settled into the hall, the near capacity audience burst out with bravos and a standing ovation. It goes without saying it would be terrific to hear her again on another program in the future.

James Bash

The Colombian (U.S.)

“Very gifted pianist who displays a unique temperament and vitality”

…a natural performer and communicator. Her tone is brilliant, phrasing intelligent, virtuosity impressive.” Akagi’s interpretation of Scarlatti was refreshingly bracing and convincing, and captured the qualities of both piano and harpsichord styles: They were moderately-but not overly-rhapsodic, and with a modicum of biting asperity and articulation.

Harris Goldsmith

New York Concert Review (U.S.)

“Absolute Mastery”

Akagi demonstrated her absolute mastery by playing different musical styles. The clear counterpoint and different sound textures in the Scarlatti sonatas and the way she performed the complex timbre structures in Takemitsu’s Les Yeux Clos were clear examples of this. Liszt’s Dante Sonata ended the first half, this important programmatic work of the romantic period was played with passion and no fears; a very impetuous and daring version that the pianist concluded satisfactorily.

The main course of the evening was still to arrive in the second half: the monumental Second Sonata of Rachmaninoff. Preceding the Rachmaninoff, Akagi’s performance of two Debussy’s preludes was so personal, provocative and yet evocative, that some of those present thought they were hearing rather a late twenty century composer. The different sounds and colors in these pieces turned out to be plentiful and the magnificent – and admired – body language of the pianist supported her performance at all times.

Rachmaninoff’s sonata was the climax of the concert. The confident pianist showed her best by dealing with the intricate textures of the Russian composer from the musically complicated passages in the first and third movements to the most lyrical moments in the second. The totally satisfied audience asked repeatedly for encores. No doubt we will hear again this young pianist in the future.

Oriol Palau

La Porta Classica (Spain)

“Review on a performance with Baleares Symphony Orchestra”

Japanese Pianist Yukiko Akagi embodies a great sound and an accurate technique. Her calmed playing revealed her knowledge of the score. Both the soloist and the orchestra offered a very interesting view of the score, alternating a constant dialog between the inspired performance of the melodies.

Pere Estelrich i Massutí

Díario de Mallorca (Spain)

 

“Review on a performance with Castilla y León Symphony Orchestra”

Yukiko Akagi, with a solid playing, embraced the score with a great pace from the initial chords of the Allegro molto moderato, where she showed her refined touch and mellow sound, achieving the best moments during the central movement.

Ricardo Hontañón

El Diario Montañés (Spain)

“Review on a performance with Castila y León Symphony Orchestra”

A consummated Japanese Pianist Yukiko Akagi (…) offered a great interpretation of Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, with an interesting orchestral accompaniment, and a superb encore by Claude Debussy.

 

             José Vincente Pérez

El Mundo Cantabria (Spain)