Bruch Concerto Review in City Pulse (Lansing, MI)

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CITY PULSE (Lansing, MI) (September 17, 2014)

“Yevgeny Kutik infused every note, no matter how fleeting, with its own color and character, elevating Bruch’s music [Concerto #1] from merely pleasing to unforgettable. From the start, it seemed to dawn on everyone in the hall that a master was at work. Many listeners leaned forward, mesmerized by the liquid, mercurial strands of melody that spiraled from his fiddle. Kutik had a way of working the virtuoso bits unto the grain of the music, like patterns on birch bark, burnishing his tone with breathtaking beauty. Far from showing off, he seemed to float above himself, monitoring every move, deflecting attention from the effort required to achieve this miracle of sound.”

Prokofiev Concerto Review in The Republican

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THE REPUBLICAN (March 30, 2014) – Violinist Yevgeny Kutik brilliant with Springfield Symphony Orchestra

“Violinist Yevgeny Kutik might well be the finest guest soloist the Springfield Symphony Orchestra has featured in the past 20 years. Kutik’s account of Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto explored thrilling extremes of character and intensity, laying bare the composer’s soul at its most romantic and private one moment, at its most ironic and extroverted the next.

Kutik’s gift goes far beyond the mere mastery of his instrument. It combines deep and revealing investigation into the heart of the music he plays with passionate desire to share its stories in the most vivid terms imaginable.

In Kutik’s able hands, the soaring lyrical themes of the first movement of the Prokofiev Concerto were exquisitely tuned at dizzying altitudes – heart-breaking high C’s sung with heavenly melancholy. The scrubbing passagework of the brisker portions capered with the mischief of a maleficent imp.

The subtle Andante drew still more heartfelt playing from the young violinist – shapely, golden tones, elegantly phrased with a panache that belied his years. Kutik’s superb negotiation of the finale, with its warm, sensual Spanish flavoring (the Concerto was first performed in Madrid in 1935) and fiery finish, brought the Symphony Hall audience of 1,744 immediately to its feet, for a lengthy ovation, followed by two curtain calls. Kutik rewarded their accolades with a profound encore of the Largo from J. S. Bach’s Sonata in C for solo violin.”


SubCulture Review in The Strad

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THE STRAD (June 2014)

“American violinist Yevgeny Kutik gave a convincing recital at [New York City’s] SubCulture, opening with a masterful performance of the Waltz from Prokofiev’s Cinderella…Franck’s Violin Sonata followed, and Kutik presented an elegantly phrased, sensitive interpretation that balanced passion with nuance…His performance of the Schnittke Sonata no. 1 was as compelling as his spoken introduction to it, both of which demonstrated a deep knowledge and understanding of the work and allowed Kutik to communicate the complex piece well…The audience sat hushed throughout his encore–a traditional Yiddish folk song–listening intently to his heartfelt playing.”

POBEJDA: “Supreme Violinism”

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POBEJDA (May 25, 2013) — “Supreme Violinism” By Sonja Marinkovic

“Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major is justly considered one of the most wonderful and most complex in the late-Romanticist concert literature. It uncompromisingly places the highest demands on its violin soloist…Yevgeny Kutik’s complete command of his technical facility is undeniable; he handled the interpretation of the concerto with impressive precision, in the virtuoso aspects of the work, but at the same time always created the necessary poeticism and beauty in its lyrical moments, communicating well with the orchestra and its individual soloists…”

Ostsee-Seitung: Excellent Show From Virtuoso Violinist Kutik

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OSTSEE-ZEITUNG (Rostock, Germany) (May 22, 2012) — This happens very rarely: Already after the first movement the audience – which is quite well acquainted with the ‘symphonic behavior code’ – cannot hold its applause and breaks forth. So it happened during the concert of the Norddeutschen Philharmonie, started off by the Russian-American violinist Yevgeny Kutik with the emotion-packed and striking Violin Concerto of Peter Tchaikovsky. Throughout, the young violinist put on a violin show par excellence with his breathtaking virtuosity, fine dynamic nuances, and melodic and rhythmic flexibility. And after the last movement he received – now according to the rules – huge ovations.”

The New York Times

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The New York Times (June 20, 2008) — “…The program’s main draw was the New York premiere of George Tsontakis’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (2003)…A compact, eventful score, it makes good use of the orchestra’s resources…and treats the violin as both a distinctive solo voice and an essential strand within the ensemble texture. In its solo passages the violin often projects an old-fashioned rhapsodic style, which was magnified by Yevgeny Kutik’s rich, sweet tone. The orchestral writing often had a sharper harmonic edge and used the solo violin more assertively and with an earthier sound. George Rothman led a thoroughly prepared, energetic performance…”

The Boston Globe

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ArtsFuse: Review of “Sounds of Defiance”

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ArtsFuse (April 9, 2012) — “This recording heralds a serious, probing musician exploring some vital, if unfamiliar, twentieth-century violin repertoire, and, as such, presents a more-than-welcome addition to recent solo violin discography.”

Sounds of Defiance, Russian-American violinist Yevgeny Kutik’s debut album on the Marquis label comes weighted with significance for the young musician. Its focus on music written in the Soviet Union echoes the “profound connection” Mr. Kutik writes that he feels with that nation’s history and culture, while the inclusion of two pieces by Joseph Achron emphasize the violinist’s Jewish heritage.

Accompanied by the excellent pianist Timothy Bozarth, Mr. Kutik pulls no punches here: he has technique to burn, to be sure, but his technique never overshadows his innate musical sensibilities. This recording heralds a serious, probing musician exploring some vital, if unfamiliar, twentieth-century violin repertoire, and, as such, presents a more-than-welcome addition to recent solo violin discography.

The two big pieces on the CD, Alfred Schnittke’s Violin Sonata no. 1 (1963) and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Sonata for Violin and Piano (1968), are given thoroughly characteristic performances. Neither sonata is widely known, though both have been recorded by some fine violinists in the past, including Daniel Hope and Ilya Gringolts (Schnittke), and Joshua Bell and David Oistrakh (Shostakovich). Mr. Kutik’s performances of both pieces hold up with the best of them.

The Schnittke Sonata presents some early examples of the composer’s later technique of “polystylism,” in which contrasting musical styles are layered and juxtaposed, though it is probably the influence of Shostakovich that looms largest on this score. Mr. Kutik is at his most aggressive in the fast second and fourth movements, dramatically emphasizing Schnittke’s dissonant textures, while the third movement allows him to demonstrate his great lyrical capabilities.

The Shostakovich Sonata was written for the incomparable David Oistrakh and falling, as it does, towards the end of Shostakovich’s life, reflects the ambiguous tone of that composer’s last two symphonies and his Viola Sonata. Mr. Kutik has a very strong sense of this music’s brooding character, particularly in its outer movements. Mr. Bozarth proves himself an ideal accompanist, especially in the busy textures of this Sonata, ever present but not overwhelming Mr. Kutik’s playing in this performance truly captures the “violin and piano” quality of Shostakovich’s title.

Filling out the disc are two lovely Joseph Achron compositions, Hebrew Melody (op. 33) and Hebrew Lullaby (op. 35, no. 2), and Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel. The Achron pieces are given expressive, soulful readings, while the gentle Pärt opus provides a benediction of sorts. Mr. Kutik and Mr. Bozarth are at their most sensitive and understated in this latter selection, never rising above a piano dynamic, allowing the score’s slowly unfolding tonal harmonies to function as a balm for the musical turbulence previously experienced. It’s all positively haunting.

DerWesten (Germany)

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DerWesten (Germany) (March 8, 2010) — “… [the WDR Radio Symphony Orchestra] concert included peak performances by soloists, including young Russian violinist Yevgeny Kutik, who enraptured the crowd with the ‘Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso’ by Saint-Saens…”

Staten Island Advance

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Staten Island Advance (February 16, 2011) — “…For all its atonal challenges, this 12-tone piece (Shostakovich) is full of invention and beauty and Kutik played it lucidly…Kutik was very much the soulful wunderkind: Innocent and passionate, with an audible gift for drama.”

Preview Magazine, Jason Serinus (San Francisco)

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Preview Magazine, Jason Serinus (San Francisco) (September 1, 2010) — “… [Kutik plays with] an irresistibly round and mellow old-world sound that is as equally suited to Bach and Beethoven as to Shostakovich and Shchedrin. Combining the warmth of a centuries-old tradition with the forward thrust of today, Kutik’s playing cuts through the dross and reaches into the heart of music…”