2014-2015 Concert Season in Review of Ontario Philharmoic
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Guest pianist Sheng Cai's piano work went from lilting to empathic in a moment. And the piano sections had sounded like a counterpoint relationship with the orchestra, part of a musical conversation between solo piano and the orchestra proper. The second part of the concerto was more melodic, with playful, even coquettish emotion. After the intermission, Sheng Cai rejoined the Ontario Philharmonic for Piano concerto No. 5 Op. 73 in E-flat major, also known as "The Emperor." It got off to a very lively start, evoking a sense of high adventure and strong emotions. A later section was devoted to regal themes, and the result was very pleasing. But the concerto's second part took pride of place. Completely different in tone from what preceded it, it started off soft, lyrical, and romantic.
Sheng Cai, Pianist " Talent that Puts Canada on the Map"
A pianist that is possibly better than Glenn Gould, this is how 24-year-old pianist, Sheng Cai was introduced to the audience at the Georgian Music. Concert on Sunday Afternoon. The famous first movement of Moonlight sonata was played with an instant: " space" with hushed intimacy... Especially delightful were moments when his choice of balance and voicing managed to bring fresh ways of listening...
The program turned romantic with Chopin's Ballade No. 1, at times warm and eloquent, at times openly exuberant, it was a clean and precise display of virtuoso piano playing, he concluded his performance with the dazzling Islamey by Balakirev ...in response to a most enthusiastic ovation, and encore... but defintely an impressive artist in his own right.
---Sandra Ruttan, Barrie Examiner, Monday 29th January 2013
---By Critics John Arkelian 2015
It was well-earned standing ovations all around.