Selected Press Notices

"Technical life and emotional and intellectual sensitivity was the consistent feature of the playing."

— George Grella, New York Classical Review
June 8, 2015

Read the full review here:
     Pianist Holzman Brings Skill and Personal Insight to Music of Our Time

"[Mr. Holzman’s] program was chock full of challenging works by some of the 20th century’s more formidable musical thinkers, including Roger Sessions, Ralph Shapey, Stefan Wolpe and the now ubiquitous Elliott Carter. But [Holzman’s] intent was to humanize these figures and to provide an entry point for comprehending their music... His account [of Mr. Carter’s Piano Sonata (1946)] was not spotless. But a few missed notes during the work’s most agitated passages were a small price to pay for playing so full of blood, steel, and unshakable conviction."

— Steve Smith, The New York Times

"Let it be said that Sessions (or Shapey) simply couldn't have a better advocate and interpreter than David Holzman. This disc is one that elicits the 'Wow' response. The pianist has unerringly steely technique, but he has an intellect that allows him to grasp confidently the conception and structural line of this music. He clarifies everything. There are passages where the dense contrapuntal textures are so well differentiated, one might assume this was four-hand music (as an example, the fiery, overflowing explosion of Mutations II has to be heard to be believed. If there is any drawback, it is that one will not get the most tender or liquid touch from Holzman (though this does not mean the man can't produce a pianissimo). The playing is, as I said, 'steely'. But it's a small price to pay for the passion, control and rigor that I think admirably matches the spirit of both composers' music. On top of it, the pianist writes suitably challenging, intellectually chewy notes. And Bridge's sonics are bracingly big and clear. While a little out of left field, this could be a Want List item for me come year's end."

— Robert Carl, Fanfare Magazine

"To hear Shapey's music played by someone so knowledgeable and committed, who is such a great performer and interpreter, and who is doing this out of love and admiration for what Ralph would call the 'black dots on paper' and not out of any personal connection or loyalty is the highest compliment to his great and shamefully underappreciated oeuvre. "

—Andrew Patner, Reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, and Critic-at-Large for WFMT radio,
October, 2006

Review of the book On the Music of Stefan Wolpe, which includes an essay by David Holzman:

"The climax of the collection comes at the beginning of the second part, with essays by Martin Zenck and David Holzman that both involve Wolpe's monumentlal Battle Piece for piano... Pianist Holzman deals with the physical and interpretive challenges of Battle Piece, contrasting his own performances and recordings with those of David Tudor. Holzman's consideration of the large-scale impact of the differences between his and Tudor's interpretations is especially engaging and expert. "

—Adrian P. Childs, Music Library Association Notes, March 2006

"A fairly thorny program... But in Mr. Holzman's strong hands, it was less thorny than expressive. Mr. Holzman is a 20th-century-music specialist who projects the air of a benevolent mad scientist channeling Glenn Gould. He plays in intense dialogue with the keyboard, miming complicated music."

—Anne Midgette, New York Times, 10/13/05

"The acclaim Holzman has received during his career is well-deserved. The man is a piano monster who passionately wrests notes from the instrument. Holzman chose to open and close his performance with Beethoven and Brahms, respectively. But this was Beethoven and Brahms with an exciting new sound. In Beethoven's Das Lebewohl Sonata Holzman brought out the contrasts in the music, highlighting the chords and the rhythms. In Brahms' Rhapsody, Holzman didn't emphasize the running notes but rather the underlying structure. It was a fesh contemporary interpretation of the classical piano repertoire. Chou Wen-Chung's The Willows Are New followed the Beethoven. It is based on an ancient Chinese poem describing another farewell, this one without hope of return. Holzman communicated the dark melancholy and the strident cries of grief in a way that brought an immediacy and personal connection to the parting. Not only is Holzman an accomplished artist, his playing sizzles with pyrotechnics. An audience member commented that Holzman plays classical music as though it's new and new music as if it's classical, an apt observation."

—Liz Janes-Brown, Maui News, Maui, 5/14/05

"By concluding with pieces of Stefan Wolpe, Holzman showed why he has achieved his legendary status as 'a Horowitz of modern music'. Wolpe's music ranges from tonal pieces reflecting his jewish roots tothe most radical of 12-tone experiments. One of these, tucked into a group of relatively slight pieces, was Waltz for merle, a piece which could hardly be recognized as a waltz but which, in Holzman's performance, danced off the page with a mastery and electrifying spirit. We will await his return to give us performances of such standards (for him) as Wolpe's Battle Piece and, dare we hope, Donald Martino's Pianississimo."

—Jerry Kuderna, San Francisco Classical Voice


Sonata No. 1 “Stehende Musik”
Adagio, Gesang weil ich etwas teures ...
The Good Spirit of a Right Cause
Encouragements: First Piece. Battle Piece
Waltz for Merle
Zemach Suite

~Winner of a Grammy Nomination for Best Classical Music Soloist~

... fearless performances of steely works by Stefan Wolpe. I’ll be impressed if Mr. Holzman wins [the award]. — Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

David Holzman demonstrates with introspective virtuosity the breadth of Wolpe’s pianistic expression, ranging from poignant delicacy to breathtaking ferocity.
— Matthias Kriesberg, The New York Times

David Holzman passionately believes in the music and, crucially, has the scorching technique to do it justice. — Michael Oliver, BBC

Magnificent music played magnificently is how I would sum up David Holzman’s new CD.
— Philip Ehrensaft, Whole Note Magazine

David Holzman presented this music in a passionate and colorful manner, so that one does not for a second feel it to be an intellectual exercise. . . . a wonderful experience!
— Hans-Christian v. Dadelsen, Tonträger Besprechung

... an invaluable look at an early and largely forgotten modernist. . . . Pianist Holzman wins the uphill battle. — Sequenza 21

... performances of revelatory insight and passionate conviction. . . . It’s a disc I wouldn’t want to be without. — Christopher Ballanrinp, International Record Review

Holzman’s committed, intelligent playing – he never employs that precious, metallic “new music” sound – makes this disc not only valuable to Wolpe admirers, but an entertaining and fun listening experience, something you can rarely say about a recording dedicated to avant-garde piano music. — Daniel Felsenfeld, Classics Today

Pianist David Holzman confronts this violent, yet often subtly delicate music with gusto and nuance ... Holzman makes it thought provoking and, in its difficult ways, alluring.
— George Follett, RedLudwig.com

Fascinating and important music, it’s performed by Holzman with power and verve. Modern music buffs won’t want to miss it. — Dan Davis, Amazon.com


"David Holzman's West Coast concert debut at San Francisco's Old First Church was a big success. It was intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying, and if you don't have both, what's the point? ... He has a sure fire technique which is always placed in the service of direct yet highly nuanced expressivity--there's fire, and abundant calm, too. Nothing Holzman does is showy, just right."
For full review see: www.classical-music-review.org/reviews/Holzman.html
—Michael McDonagh, Classical Music Review, 2004
"David Holzman call his CD with piano works of 20th Century Jewish composers 'Visions'. This does not just refer to the introductory Visions and Prophecies of Ernest Bloch; in the booklet, he explains that he sees this self-referred artistic vision as a common sign in 'Jewish music'. However, the CD is certainly worthwhile listening just because it does NOT offer musical common signs but a fascinating emotional interpretation of Schoenberg's brittle Klavierstucke op.11, an unusual 'yiddish' Stefan Wolpe, an impressionistic Paul Ben-Haim and a biblical-monumental Tzvi Avni."
—Carsten Fastner, Falter, Vienna, 5/18/01
"In all respects ' a winner' was David Holzman's piano recital, organized by Orpheus Trust and the Schoenberg Center. Holzman created a musical circle around the composer and pedagogue Schoenberg with his selection of works. Hard to believe that these were mostly Austrian or European first performances! The pieces had been composed in pre-War vienna, in the '20's in Berlin, in the '30's in Palestine or in the post-war period. The link between Raoul Pleskow's 3rd Sonata, Stefan Wolpe's Sonata, Erich Itor Kahn's Ciaccona dei Tempi di Guerra (a virtuoso piece with chord-patterns) and Schoenberg's Drei Klavierstucke op.11 was easy to discover here; musical passion, formal and expressive freedom and, most impressive, vitality." 
—Beate Hennenberg, Der Standard, Vienna, 5/16/2001

"The American pianist David Holzman gave a remarkable concert of contemporary music. He performed deeply expressive masterpieces such as Stefan Wolpe's Battle Piece and Peter Maxwell Davies' Sonata, and in his richly emotional and intensely expressionistic interpretations, he brilliantly brought out all the depths of sentiments contained in these works. Holzman's imaginative interpretations made this music, for both the critic and the audience as a whole, fit perfectly into the "alternative" atmosphere of the Festival and the bohemian setting of the Dom Music Center."

—Anton Rovner, La Solution, Moscow
"David Holzman is one of those piano artists who deftly probe each tone an impart to the work a depth and meaning sometimes transcending the music itself. In the hands of such an artist any composer would surely be glad to entrust the fruits of his labors."
—Tzvi Avni, Music In Time, Jerusalem
"one of the two main pianistic discoveries for me in 1993 has been the work of David Holzman in contemporary or recent music. He has given extraordinary interpretations of such items as the Griffes Sonata and the Stefan Wolpe Battle Piece."
—Max Harrison, Classical Piano, London
"Mr.Rzewski's music (The People United Shall Never Be Defeated) sounded terrific... it blossoms when it receives the kind of direct and impassioned interpretation Mr. Holzman accorded it."
—John Rockwell, The New York Times
"Pianist David Holzman played Wolpe's Battle Piece, a seven-part work meant to portray man's struggle toward Utopia. Fiendishly difficult and complex beyond imagination, the score inspired Holzman to a titanic performance."
—Daniel Webster, The Philadelphia Enquirer
"After David Holzman played four fiendishly difficult piano pieces by Donald Martino at Miller Theatre more than one member of the audience must have come away with the urge to proselytize. Surely if the handful of today's famous pianists with a taste for new music knew how wonderful these works can sound in the hands of a sympathetic virtuoso, Martino's scores might well find receptive listeners beyond the usual small crowd of uptown enthusiasts. Not that Holzman himself is anything but superbly equipped for the job. A specialist in the contemporary repertoire, he has more than enough technique to put the notes in the proper places as well as the sensitivity to communicate what lies behind them."
—Peter G. Davis, New York Magazine
"Three landmarks of American piano music, by Donald Martino, were played in the Miller Theatre last month by David Holzman, a master pianist whose recording of Stefan Wolpe's Battle Piece is famous."
—Andrew Porter, The New Yorker
"David Holzman played some fiercely brilliant and beautifully made piano music by the American composer Donald Martino, making one wonder why so few other pianists do so. Difficult for both performer and listener, this is music more people should hear."
—Bernard Holland, The New York Times
"Holzman's Beethoven ("Les Adieux" Sonata) was nuanced and intimate ...over all, his playing stood up to Murray Perahia's who performed the sonata just the week before ...Holzman shone in the moderns ...in other hands, Wolpe often sounds merely difficult, but in Holzman's playing, his deep concentration and comprehension added immeasurably to one's appreciation of this music (Music For a Dancer) ...his understanding of 20th Century work, combined with his virtuosity and serious purpose, makes his championing of modern composition far more valuable than if he were just another in the musical museum."
—Peter Goodman, Newsday
"David Holzman performed Wolpe's formidable Battle Piece in a manner that can only be labeled fantastic. I found myself doubting my ears."
—David Burge, Keyboard Magazine


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