Reviews

Betty Francis, “Three Pianos, Six Hands, One Sensation!” Desert Sun, November 15, 2015

The three pianists [Miao Hou, Brian Lin, and Keenan Reesor] were amazing. Each of them is already a major talent (and a former Virginia Waring IPC winner) in his-or-her own right but none of them had ever met until they arrived for rehearsals just four days before this concert.  So they had only three days to learn and perfect the split-second timing of their four- and six-hand numbers with each other.

 

Chris Foster, “Symphony Event ‘One and Only’ of a Kind,” Desert Sun, February 8, 2014

It was an enthusiastic standing ovation when 2013 Virginia Waring International Piano Competition [laureate] Keenan Reesor completed his brilliant interpretation of Grieg’s Piano Concerto at the Coachella Valley Symphony’s second concert this season.

 

Laurie Robertson-Lorant, “NBSO Season Opens with a Fantastic Concert,” New Bedford Standard-Times, September 26, 2013

Saturday evening, Music Director David MacKenzie’s eighth season with the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra opened with spectacular performances of Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, with American virtuoso Keenan Reesor as soloist. . . .

Pianist Keenan Reesor also spoke at the pre-concert talk. Displaying the depth and erudition we would expect of a candidate for a doctorate in musicology and the down-to-earth humility and warmth that later infused his brilliant technical mastery of the piano with soul force and heart, he explained “the job of the soloist” who plays the “Rach 3.” One element of that job, he said, is knowing how to “scale the dynamics” in a piece that often makes quick transitions between diaphanous arpeggios and full-out crashing chords, an aspect of his performance that became apparent in the second half of the concert. . . .

. . . Although this concerto is a fiendishly difficult work, Reesor was focused and completely in synch with Maestro MacKenzie and the orchestra. His playing was profoundly expressive, with no distracting histrionics.

True artistry is a form of magic that defies our physical and intellectual limitations. Even in passages that demand to be played with controlled abandon, Reesor was utterly precise in his execution of the most challenging passages, many of which seem to be written as though they are meant to give the illusion of being improvised. Playing delicate arpeggios, his fingers seemed magically to metamorphose into fish darting through shimmering streams of water, making beautiful sounds before becoming human again. Yet, when it came to sounding the powerful, full chords Rachmaninoff created for the thunderous, breakneck conclusion of the concerto, Reesor became Zeus rather than fluid Neptune and fleet Mercury.

This was a brilliant and beautiful performance by a mature young pianist at the beginning of what promises to be a very exciting musical career.

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