“Connecting the phrases beautifully and with great care, the rigorous and demanding young pianist created moments of ecstasy which have not been heard since the great days of Guiomar Novaes, Fritz Jank, Eugene Istomin, Wilhelm Kempff…Sonia Rubinsky will become a glory for the Brazilian pianistic art…”
~José da Veiga de Oliveira

“Brazilian pianist Sonia Rubinsky was soloist for the concerto. Outer movements were muscular yet thoughtful, mixing brilliance with depth and steely precision with warmth of tone.  The central “romance” sang sweetly, Rubinsky’s melody spinning effortlessly without fuss or pathos above the pillowy throb of the SSO strings, with nodded at appropriate points in gentle couplets of tender approval.”

“The plasticity and polychromy of sound maybe the most evident characteristics of touch, at times even fantastic, of the Brazilian pianist Sonia Rubinsky. Sensibility, yes, is a gratuitous talent of nature, but technique is something arduously acquired.  All these qualities are possessed in an admirable way by this young musician.”

She produced pages of ecstasy which have not been heard since the great days of Guiomar Novaes.                                

CULTURE Samedi 23/03/2012

CRITIQUE | Classique
Concert dimanche à Paris de la Brésilienne qui vient de sortir un disque Mendelssohn.

C’est une pianiste profonde et raffinée, qui ne concède rien à l’esbroufe. Son Mozart est articulé, pas moins chantant et clair que celui de Perahia ou Uchida. Son Scarlatti démontre un contrôle du timbre impérial. A l’instar de ses compatriotes, feu Guiomar Novaes hier et Nelson Freire aujourd’hui, elle a ce génie de la couleur qui en fait une interprète idéale de Debussy ou Messiaen.

Née à Campinas, au Brésil, Sonia Rubinsky donnait son premier récital à 6 ans et son premier concert avec orchestre à 12. Formée à l’académie Rubin de Jérusalem, puis à la Juilliard School de New York, elle a été suivie par Vlado Perlemuter, d’où son jeu sobre. Il y a sept ans, on saluait son intégrale en cours de l’œuvre pour piano de Villa-Lobos chez Naxos, primée depuis aux Grammy Awards : nul doute que ces huit CD auront révélé au plus grand nombre la complexité rythmique et l’inventivité harmonique de ces pièces.

Quelques semaines après avoir donné avec succès le Concerto n° 21 de Mozart à Carnegie Hall, Sonia Rubinsky vient de publier, chez Algol Editora, un enregistrement des Romances sans paroles de Mendelssohn. De Gould à Richter, les grands en ont gravé certaines, mais rares ceux qui ont livré le cycle complet. L’intégrale signée Barenboim de 1974 a fait illusion jusqu’à la publication chez Hyperion, en 1997, de celle de Livia Rev, autrement sensible.

Celle de Rubinsky, tout aussi poétique, éblouit par sa capacité à tenir la ligne sans fléchir, à caractériser chacune des 48 romances en se tenant dans le difficile entre-deux du classicisme et du romantisme.

Ce dimanche, la pianiste se produit au musée d’Art et d’Histoire du judaïsme qui propose l’exposition «les Juifs dans l’orientalisme». En écho à la Noce juive de Delacroix (1841), inspirée par le voyage du peintre au Maroc, et aux vues de Jérusalem signées David Roberts ou Thomas Seddon, elle jouera des pièces de Liszt, Villa-Lobos, Debussy, Granados et Scarlatti. Des compositeurs d’époques et origines différentes choisis pour conter un Orient tantôt rêvé, parfois vécu.


Not so long ago female musicians’ effort to gain entry to major professional orchestras was a subject for hot debate. Today, however, women constitute a  healthy proportion among most American orchestras and a majority in more than a few. Progress remains to be made, not least on the conducting podium. But for the most part the situation appears to have improved dramatically for rank-and-file players and even for principals.

Presumably that explains why nothing seemed particularly unusual when the New York Women’s Ensemble took the stage for its debut concert at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday evening. Newly formed by the music director Virginia Luque, an admired classical guitarist, the ensemble serves as a performing arm for Music for Life NYC, Ms. Luque’s nonprofit organization aimed at cultural and humanitarian outreach.

Issues of gender went entirely unremarked on during the sparsely attended but festive event. Instead the focus was on the organization’s charitable work; a portion of the evening’s proceeds was directed toward Children of the Night, a California organization that fights child prostitution in America.

The program was fully devoted to canonical pieces by Mozart, apart from the opening work, Ms. Luque’s “Theme for Music for Life NYC.” Romantic in character and wistful in tone, the song featured inspirational lyrics by Ms. Luque and Elisa Brown, a soprano, who sang sweetly with a string trio.

In the Presto from Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E flat (K. 364), you were immediately impressed by silken strings, sprightly winds and regal horns. Despite a disparate mix of players — members of professional orchestras, chamber musicians, Broadway freelancers and even a few jazz pros — the ensemble’s unanimity attested to a chemistry fueled by talent and mutual regard . The violinist Eriko Sato and the violist Sheila Browne were stylish soloists.

That familiar Mozart would pose little challenge to such players, even assuming a lack of rehearsal time, came as no surprise. Still, in a regal account of his Symphony No. 40 you sensed that Ms. Luque is an inspiring leader and a capable conductor, beating solid time with her right hand while shaping and shading contours with her fluttering left hand.

The soprano Ana Maria Martinez was luminous and imposing in the aria “Ch’io mi scordi di te … Non temer, moto bene,” abetted by the pianist Arielle Levioff’s elegant playing. Freed from a score in “Come scoglio,” from the opera“Così Fan Tutte,” Ms. Martínez was fierce and committed, with airy coloratura elegantly dispatched.

The program ended with a sumptuous, limpidly molded account of Mozart’s popular Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, with Sonia Rubinsky as the expressive soloist.

For an encore the ensemble took on extra brass and percussion players for “Danzón No. 2” by the Mexican composer Arturo Márquez, dispatched with a robust swagger that left you wanting to hear more. Next time, perhaps.

Apr 28, 2001

Pianist plus symphony: super Mozart


Sonia Rubinsky is one of the leading pianists in her native Brazil, but not as yet too widely known in North America. That is Virginia’s good fortune this weekend, as Rubinsky joins the Richmond Symphony in perhaps the finest performance of Mozart this orchestra has ever played.

Rubinsky is the soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467, one of the two memorable surprises in this program. The other employs every crowd-displeasing technique of modernism, yet holds audiences in thrall.

Rubinsky’s tone is crystalline, her marksmanship unerring. She phrases flexibly and ornaments freely but tastefully. But she earns her place among the piano masters of Mozart (Perahia, Uchida and Brendel, to name some names) because she knows how to differentiate Mozart’s consonants from his vowels – playing rhythmically with a percussive edge and lyrically with a fluidity that makes the listener forget the piano makes sounds when hammers strike strings.

Conductor Mark Russell Smith and the orchestra give Rubinsky extroverted but balanced support, always complementing the piano’s voice.

The concerto is sometimes called the “Elvira Madigan,” because a Swedish film of that name used its andante as a theme. That’s how it wound up on a program called “Music for Movies.”

Which brings us to the other surprise: A suite for strings that borrows freely from Second Vienna School atonalism and spooky Bartókian sound effects, with woozy, faux-Shostakovich tunes and proto-minimalist ostinato – everything that makes traditionally minded symphony audiences cringe.It’s one of the classics of film music: Bernard Herrmann’s score for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”

From the (in)famous yelping string figure to the thudding cello-and-bass attacks, Smith and the symphony strings play it as if it were a masterpiece – which, in its way, it is.

The program is rounded out by, as Smith put it last night, “movie music by a guy who wrote mostly concert music and concert music by a guy who wrote mostly for movies.”The latter is “Kaleidoscope,” a suite of six miniatures (originally for piano) – in effect, a primer of European salon and ballet music – by Miklos Rózsa, the composer of soundtracks for “Ben Hur,” “Spellbound” and 80-some other movies.The program opens with the last entry in the orchestra’s season-long Aaron Copland retrospective, “Music for Movies,” an agreeably atmospheric but not very cohesive suite.

Copland opens the suite by recasting music for a documentary called “The City” into “New England Countryside” – a useful reminder that music is ambiguous. If a composer says it’s about skyscrapers and you hear a forest, you’re both right.