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Reviews

“Huang and Aznavoorian returned after intermission with pianist Inna Faliks for a triumphant rendering of Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67.
For the Camerata players to evoke emotion while excavating Shostakovich’s sharper vocabulary of musical images, figures, and gestures was remarkable. . Faliks’ mash-up of sensitivity and pure fury brought a heightened relevance to this rarely performed, beautifully complex stunner. A simplyenthralling performance!
Prokofiev Flute Sonata… The emotion came from Faliks, whose expressive, spirited, curious interactions brought life to even the conventional accompaniment patterns of the four-movement piece.

Stage and Cinema, September 2017


“With Faliks in the lead, the prickly Scherzo and huge, dramatic Finale fully reflected Mahler’s mighty voice. Faliks is a poetic pianist, unafraid to linger over a short pause or craft a melodic fragment to explode and fade with blinding speed. But especially in the transcription’s fast-paced final movements she never lost the singing-through line so crucial to navigating Mahler’s often chaotic universe. The Scherzo’s staccato, martial rhythms could be crisply stern but also piquant and witty. Its lyrical moments glowed, thanks to Falik’s pliant, flexible melody lines.”

Classical Voice North America, September 2017


“…it was Ukrainian-born pianist Inna Faliks who blew the other two pianists out of the water with her enthralling account of Opus 111, the last of the three sonatas and one of Beethoven’s most stunning creations, as he ends a lifetime of sonatas with a few shimmering scale passages and a hushed C Major chord.

“This amazing score was clearly in her DNA, as Faliks charged into the brooding introduction when we all thought she was adjusting the piano bench. And from there she had the audience hanging on every note.

…this was one of the most moving performance I’ve ever heard of Opus 111, a work whose stormy opening gives way to a great hymn to humanity.”

Providence Journal (Newport Music Festival), July 2017


“Sometimes a concert is so graceful and so unusual that it must be mentioned. … [Faliks] handled everything deftly, displaying speed and her formidable technique throughout.”

Chicago Sun-Times


“Simply exquisite, with many expressive and colorful phrases played by the pianist Inna Faliks… Beethoven Fantasie is worth knowing and was also performed very well by Faliks.”

—Hagai Hitron, Haaretz


“Grand temperament, sound and precision. Concert pianist of the highest order, with the power to do anything she wants.”

—Gabriel Rangel, El Norte (Monterrey, Mexico), Oct 2015


Inna Faliks’ performance was anything but routine. She had more than enough upper body strength to hold her own against the composer’s full, plush orchestration. The highlight of her performance was the wonderful intimate chamber music quality her performance of the nocturne-like second movement with its dialogue between keyboard and woodwinds. There was no want of bravura in the finale.

CVNC, May 2016


“Faliks kept listeners in open mouth wonder with her seemingly magical keyboard wizardry. From my seat I could not see the abundance of crossed hands listeners were commenting about as they left after her repeated curtain calls. Her palette of refined color, dynamics, and tone were breathtaking.”

CVNC, May 2016


“Ms. Faliks’s mastery is solid, and her performance with the symphony was strong and polished. Her precision and power was impressive.”

—Elizabeth Warnimont, Classical Sonoma, Sept 2015


“…in a brilliant stroke for both performers and audience, Faliks… had [Ellen] Bass reading between movements of the huge Brahms (1833-97) “Sonata No. 2 in F Sharp Minor,” written and played by the composer in 1853 when he was “only” 20 and full of storm and stress along with tenderness. In the often fiendishly difficult and architecturally perfect four-movement work, played straight through and received with tumultuous applause, the noble work was the best-performed these ears have heard on this mighty Yamaha since Yevgeny Sudbin in a big Scriabin sonata almost two years ago. The Brahms began with a huge attack blaring forth the “allegro, not too fast but with energy.” The “andante with expression” was a stroll with purpose, a meditation that becomes intense and moody, alternating playfulness with severity, then lushness – typical of Brahms, and with Faliks sitting, as usual, with her face right over the keys, as expressive as the notes she was playing. The moving Scherzo was hardly a musical “joke,” but a brief lead up to the “Finale,” played with a gripping intensity, blazing keys played flat-fingered for speed like Horowitz, then a maternal tenderness like the famous Brahms “Lullaby,” coherent in all its many moods, and ending with a big bang. All gave a standing ovation.”

—Richard Lynde, Peninsula Reviews
Music/Words at Distinguished Artists Series, Santa Cruz, February 2015


“Ukrainian-born, New York-based Inna Faliks is a pianist as brimful of ideas as she is endowed with talent. She draws a tone of deep sonority from her Yamaha piano, and one senses in her playing a technique of such reserves that she doesn’t even have to call on all of it for these works. That allows her to concentrate on matters of interpretation and communication, which, in the former case is penetrating, and in the latter, extraordinary.

“I really like, too, the idea of mixing lesser known Beethoven works with more familiar ones; it makes for an interesting program, and in the case of the Fantasia, a fun one. Play it for your friends, while trying not to laugh, and watch their reactions.

“Faliks has yet to become a major presence on record, but with this album and her above-mentioned Sound of Verse now out on a mainstream commercial label, I suspect that’s going to change. A wonderful release all around, and very strongly recommended.”

—Jerry Dubins, Fanfare


“A fierce performance; energetic, determined, and perfect for expressing the interior agitation of the Basso Ostinato by Rodion Schredrin, considered the successor of Shostakovich. This was the opening piece of the recent concert at the Fazioli Concert Hall. Inna Faliks takes command of the instrument, molding it in her unique, personal style that clearly has its origins in the Russian school and is fully capable of interpreting the Polonaise op. 89 (Composed during the Congress of Vienna, loved by the rulers of the period, and dedicated to Elizabeth of Russia) in a way that totally annihilates any accusation of frivolousness, revealing a new Beethoven.

“The solidity of her technique and her sense of dynamics also exalt the tragedy and intensity of the “Appassionata”, so rich with its silences and arpeggios, forti, fortissimi, until she arrives at the final apotheosis. And then a seldom heard piece composed for Faliks by Lev ljova Zurbin, Sirota: two contrasting melodic ideas accompanying a historic recording, as was done in the post-war years by the avantgarde. In this case, it is a religious Jewish song, sung by the Polish singer Sirota for the Jewish New Year of 1908; a minimalist piece that Faliks imbues with interpretive intensity, making even more heart-rending the evocation of a lost time.

“The pianist also moves securely through all of the varied colours of the Davidsbundlertanze, composed by Schumann, at a time when he was battling against the ‘bad taste and bad faith’ of critics who had exalted opinions of Italian opera. Written under the alternating pseudonyms of Florestano and Eusebio, the piece was performed by Faliks with emphasis of harmonic adventure, and rich with dynamics and fantasy.

“As an encore, she performed an explosive Campanella by Paganini-Liszt, and followed that with Tchaikovski’s ‘Barcarola’. Executed with a lulling and even timing, it showed the most delicate and moving tones.”

—Clelia Delponte for Il Gazzetino Pordenone (Italy)


“…authoritative and incisive performances of the Eroica Variations and the Op.111 Sonata… Faliks’ honest technique and meticulous filigree merit admiration and respect.”

—Jed Distler, Gramophone (May 2014)


“In the old days of stores with a large selection of classical CDs, I browsed for hours and would have purchased this on the basis of its content alone. Here is my favorite piano sonata and my favorite set of variations, in a program with a couple of compositions I didn’t know — an unbeatable Beethoven recital. Played with strength and imagination, the performances are hard to beat. The program is perfectly ordered, opening with the lighter-weight but charming Polonaise, followed by the hefty Variations. The Fantasia is a substantial eight-minute work vaguely reminiscent of Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and offers an interesting break before one of the greatest piano works of all time, Beethoven’s final sonata.

“Faliks’s excellent first CD included Rachmaninoff Sonata 2 and Gaspard de la Nuit (MSR 1333, Jan/Feb 2010). I have seen her perform in New York on two occasions and have a non-commercial earlier recording of Sonata 32. She teaches at UCLA and performs all over the USA and also in Italy and Israel. She is a pioneer in Yahama’s newest technology that allows long distance playing and teaching piano via the Internet, video, and their Disklavier recording and reproducing pianos.

“Her competition in the big pieces is formidable. I have spent many years listening to Richter (Olympic 339, May/June 1994) and Brendel (Vox 3017, Mar/Apr 1993) play the variations, and with this new recording in my collection, I doubt that I’ll return to the old favorites as often. I find a couple of these variations rare examples of Beethoven’s musical humor — and Faliks does not miss them. I don’t have a specific favorite for the sonata, though I’ve seen Barenboim perform it twice (EMI 72912, Mar/Apr 1999). Faliks captures the turbulent aspect of the first movement just right. From the stately theme to the jazzy dance elements of the middle variations to the heaven-bound trills in the upper reaches of the piano, II balances perfectly.

“I have purchased many CDs on the basis of their content. Rarely have performances measured up to the music as well as here.”

—James Harrington for American Record Guide


Faliks is an excellent Beethovenian with keen insight into this most elusive of structures: the variation. … I was not familiar with Inna Faliks until now, and neither apparently is our site, but one hopes that the newfound acquaintance will be developed further. She is a remarkable Ukrainian pianist with chops to burn, a forceful technique and extremely attentive spirit to that of Beethoven. This is a fine recital in warm, resonant sound that highlights the clarity and reasonable sense of balance and voicing that Faliks brings to the instrument. With a desirable program to boot, this is an easy item to recommend.”

Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition


“A concert pianist of the highest order, Inna Faliks can be as dramatic or as subtle as a great stage actor.”

Marc Vitali, WTTW, October 2013


“She is one of the few pianists I have known who can command such attention with her quietly powerful performance.”

Margaret Sutherlin, Chicago Music


“A soloist in total command of her instrument … Inna Faliks’ piano playing will have you shouting bravo to the radio!”

Minnesota Public Radio


“Faliks was a glowing presence on the LPR Yamaha Grand (whose lid had a perfect reflection of the piano harp strings from my vantage point) and gave beautiful attack on the John Corigliano piece Fantasia On an Ostinato. The premiere of Eaton’s Songs of Nature…and Beyond had guest vocalist David Adam Moore and Inna performing much of the way from inside the piano–Inna had used a shot glass and a towel placed on the strings and Moore sang into the piano mike on a few lines (He even bumped his head on the lid during one of the sections, but seemed to be okay and laughed it off). The piece itself is a considerably melodic work given that the experimental nature of the performance keeps it in an edgier playing field. Moore’s booming voice had a magnificent range and clarity, and his delivery of the text (two of the selected poems are from WB Yeats and Wallace Stevens) was effectively executed…Faliks’ reading of Beethoven’s Sonata #32 in c minor, Op. 111 was the finale of this concert–Played beautifully, and the piece has such a stunning presence in any concert setting with its almost swing-like Arietta, and that seemingly endless trill. Faliks indeed made the right call to switch the encore to the start of the program in order for the coda of the sonata to resonate gently into the night.”

Chris McGovern, THE GLASS, September 2012


“Virtuoso pianist Inna Faliks’ latest installment of her innovative Music/Words series last night was a throwback to the Paris salons of the late 1800s, in the aptly lowlit atmosphere of the back room at the Gershwin Hotel. As she describes it, the concept of the series is to match music with poetry that shares a mood or evokes similar emotions, rather than referring to specific ideas or events. As an attempt to link two worlds that otherwise don’t usually intersect, it’s an admirable idea. Musically, this program was extremely diverse, spanning from classical to late Romantic, with Faliks pulling one of the obscurities she’s so fond of out of the woodwork as well. Lyrically, it was surreal, impactful, and relevant…Faliks was…the star of this show, playing with her signature blend of lithe grace and raw power, particularly as she made her way through the nocturnal scenes of Liszt’s Harmonies du Soir, and then the composer’s transcription of Paganini’s La Campanella, which she imbued with playful charm and then maintained it all the way through the dance’s knotty, rapidfire thicket of staccato. Her obscurity du jour turned out to be 20th century Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin’s Basso Ostinato, a fascinatingly biting, expansively acidic prelude that built from a walking bassline to echoes of Alban Berg and Vincent Persichetti. Faliks’ next program in the Music/Words series, on April 22 at 7:30 PM at the Cornelia Street Cafe with Brazilian pianist Clarice Assad and poet Irina Mashinski promises to be equally intriguing.”

—Lucid Culture blog, February 2012


“In a programme-note introducing her new solo disc, “Sound of Verse” pianist Inna Faliks states that she was inspired by literature and poetry in choosing the repertoire. What’s also intruiging about the recording is Faliks’ prowess in rendering each piece with a keen combination of expressive acuity and textural clarity…………Faliks, a Ukrainian-born American pianist, plays these (Pasternak) pieces with the same concentration and attention to detail that she applies to the Ravel-beautifully limned and paced – and to Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata # 2 in the original 1913 version. Intensely felt, her Rachmaninoff abounds in poetic phrasing and finely gauged drama.”

—Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone Magazine, February 2010


“Inna Faliks, born 1978 and living in New York, began with Bach’s Fugue in G Sharp Minor (Wohltemperiertes Clavier Vol I), which projected a great conviction from the first note. Altogether she succeeded in achieving a majestic conception. Beethoven’s Bagatelles op.126 also demonstrated a mature musical personality, which revealed the six miniatures, their inner content sharply defined without exaggeration. In the Sonata op 111 Faliks played with the courage to take risks and with an expressive intensity, which went beyond all technical perfection and showed a musician at rest within herself, as she constructed her interpretation with clear vision.”

General-Anzeiger, Bonn, Germany, December 2007


“Mastery of the piano…A powerful pianist with technique to burn, a wonderful variety of tone colors at all dynamic levels. Her Ravel is reminiscent of Argerich EMI recording… and the Rachmaninoff reminds me of the early Van Cliburn recording made in Russia with a little more boldness.”

American Record Guide, February 2010


“Faliks offered powerfully driven, technically accomplished accounts of Rodion Shchedrin’s Basso Ostinato and Alexander Scriabin’s Sonata No. 5.”

Baltimore Sun (Maryland) 2003


“Firm and vibrant playing … tonal weight and great expressive flourish … a delight to hear… riveting passion and playfulness, warmly poetic.”

Baltimore Sun (Maryland) 2002


“Poetry … A kind of panoramic vision that looks ahead almost to the world of Gustav Mahler emerged in Faliks’ performance of Beethoven’s Sonata, Op. 111.”

Washington Post (DC)


“Faliks filled Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 with fervent thrust, lyrical warmth and concentration, and extracting seductive charm and gleaming sonorities from Liszt’s “La Campanella”. …she molded a boldly inflected performance of Beethoven.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer


“… is a rapturous work for the stouthearted pianist. The composer himself (Rachmaninoff) was a piano virtuoso with gargantuan hands, and it takes an artist with at least the same matching ego if not the digits. Inna Faliks has both … pyrotechnic performance.”

Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)


“… is an authoritative performer who infuses every note with brilliance and personality … delivered with impressive accuracy and uncommon self-assurance.”

The Island Pocket (Hilton Head, South Carolina)


“… never sounded better than under Faliks’ fingers. This reviewer does not recall hearing its equal in propulsion, authority, lightness, and full dynamics.”

Hopkins Gazette (Maryland)


“Faliks is a dynamic pianist with lots of passion for Rachmaninoff. It was electrifying.”

The Free Times (South Carolina), February 2008


“Faliks… who performs all over the world… knocked the socks of this difficult work, with focused accuracy and zero histrionics. The orchestra responded with equal poise.”

The State (South Carolina), February 2008