Mark Kosower - Reviews

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"The ensemble was flawless through to the brilliant closing."Ginastera’s Pampeana No. 2 — Rhapsody for Cello and Piano at Arts Renaissance Tremont, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL, October 10, 2016

"In a thrilling and revelatory recital on September 23, Cleveland Orchestra principal cello Mark Kosower and pianist Jee-Won Oh celebrated the centenary of Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera." - Tribute to Ginastera with pianist Jee-Won Oh at the Cleveland Institute of Music, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL September 30, 2016

"Kosower's virtuosity was on almost relentless display. Time and again, one's jaw dropped as the cellist, suavely bolstered by his partner, exploited his instrument in ways almost beyond belief, to stunning and haunting effect."Tribute to Ginastera with pianist Jee-Won Oh at the Cleveland Institute of Music, THE PLAIN DEALER, September 26, 2016

"American cellist Mark Kosower is a fine soloist, working well with the Ulster Orchestra under the redoubtable JoAnn Falletta..."
- VIctor Herbert Cello Concertos CD review, NZ HERALD, September 10, 2016

"Of course, the cello being Herbert’s own instrument, his writing for it is idiomatic if not without technical challenges, which Mark Kosower tackles with aplomb and sterling musicianship." - Victor Herbert Cello Concerto No. 1, CD review, CLASSICAL SOURCE, July 2016

"Kosower performs the piece with appropriate eloquence and enthusiasm. The central slow movement provides a tranquil if somewhat solemn interlude, with Kosower and Falletta doing justice to the work's varying moods and tone." - Victor Herbert Cello Concerto No. 2 with the Ulster Orchestra, CD review, CLASSICAL CANDOR, July 2016

"An elegant player with fine-grained tone, sensitive phrasing, and fluent technique, Mark Kosower is the perfect advocate for these two concertos. Never aggressive in his playing, his lyrical gifts shine through even in the climaxes." - Victor Herbert Cello Concertos with the Ulster Orchestra, CD review, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL, July 22, 2016

"Kosower, principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra, brings dramatic presence to Herbert’s foreboding opening cello melody over tremolo strings and plays the broad, singing slow movement theme with moving eloquence" - Victor Herbert Cello Concerto No. 2 with the Ulster Orchestra, CD review, THE STRAD, July 4, 2016

"(9/10 rating) This newcomer offers cello playing that is just as assured from Mark Kosower–sweetly lyrical but never tacky, always in tune (especially in the high register), and virtuosic by turns–and a more positively shaped orchestral contribution from the Ulster Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta. Kosower and Falletta are especially compelling in the first movement of Concerto No. 1, possibly the only place where the music has the potential to bog down in its own melodic effusions. It sure doesn’t do that here.

The coupling too, Herbert’s very pretty and enjoyable Irish Rhapsody, gives the program greater substance than Harrell’s arrangement of short pieces for cello and strings. It’s often mentioned that it was a performance of Herbert’s Second Cello Concerto that inspired Dvorák to write his own masterpiece in the form, but Herbert can certainly hold his own when the concertos get the respect and care that they deserve, and receive, on this winning new disc." - Victor Herbert Cello Concertos with the Ulster Orchestra, CD review, CLASSICSTODAY, June 2016

"The unassuming charm of the opening Allegro con spirit infectiously caught in Kosower’s playing, which has a sunny, carefree quality difficult to capture in a studio." - Victor Herbert Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Ulster Orchestra, CD review, BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE, June 2016

"Kosower is in great form in two really lovely performances..." - Victor Herbert Cello Concertos with the Ulster Orchestra, CD review, THEWHOLENOTE, May 30, 2016

"Mark Kosower is a wonderfully eloquent soloist who is a joy to hear..." - Victor Herbert Cello Concertos with the Ulster Orchestra, CD review, GRAMOPHONE, May 2016

"Mark Kosower is a red-blooded soloist..." - Victor Herbert Cello Concertos with the Ulster Orchestra, CD review, THE GUARDIAN, April 14, 2016

"Kosower’s nearly imperceptible entrance blossomed in its own time into an aria-like melody with tasteful nuances of time and color." - Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1 in C w/ Columbus Symphony Orchestra, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, March 19, 2016

"Kosower's cello work was largely quite splendid, his well centered tone underlay an occasionally nervous vibrato which, in fact, helped reveal the Don's demented character." - Don Quixote with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, NUVO, March 14, 2016

"Principal Cello Mark Kosower then quickly took the spotlight with a rich relaxed melody, strumming his honey-toned instrument like a guitar just as Concertmaster William Preucil struck up a conversation with the cello, which never relented over the entirety of the concerto." - Brahms and Prokofiev w/ The Cleveland Orchestra, MIAMI ART ZINE, February 5, 2016

"Kosower delivered the initial cadenza with a large, warmly colored tone." - Brahm's Double Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra, SOUTH FLORIDA CLASSICAL REVIEW, January 30, 2016

"Mark Kosower’s cello sang out with an exceptionally resonant tone in his opening solo" - Brahm's Double Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra, CLASSICAL SOURCE, January 29, 2016

“In the hands of Cleveland Orchestra principal cello Mark Kosower, Haydn’s graceful artistry was fully evident. Though the part is demanding, especially in its continued placement in the high registers, Kosower’s playing sounded effortless, even relaxed, while never letting go of Haydn’s energetic rhythms... a splendidly virtuosic finale showed off Kosower’s vivid and stirring mastery of the classical style.“   - Haydn Cello Concerto w/ the Cleveland Orchestra, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL, September 1, 2015

“Kosower fairly sparkled in the first movement, Moderato, projecting a wonderful tone color in the extended opening solo passages. The more expressive and tuneful second theme was simply gorgeous. After a short recapitulation, Kosower’s long and elaborate cadenza was stunning. The challenging double stops and extensive passagework poured forth with grace and precision... The Finale was full of rapid solo passagework that Kosower negotiated with extreme speed and flawless, nimble grace, eliciting thunderous applause.“   - Haydn Cello Concerto at the Blossom Music Festival, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL, August 25, 2015

“Kosower is a complete artist, a musician widely capable, confident and expressive. Whether making bold thematic declarations, executing a daring cadenza, or unfurling the most fragile of tender melodies, the cellist displayed nothing but perfect poise. He also fell smoothly into period character, wielding a light, stable tone and taking care throughout to stand out from the orchestra. About his performance there was nothing extraneous; Which is to say, it was ideal.“   - Haydn Cello Concerto w/ the Cleveland Orchestra, THE PLAIN DEALER, August 24, 2015

“This was as compelling and richly idiomatic a performance of this fascinating work (Tchaikovsky‘s epic Trio) as one is ever likely to hear... Gluzman and Kosower proved wonderfully simpatico colleagues, playing with focused, gleaming tone that strongly conveyed the melancholy of the opening movement. The variations were fully characterized with the burnished tone of Kosower–principal of the Cleveland Orchestra—consistently beautiful.“   - The Opening of North Shore Chamber Music Festival, CHICAGO CLASSICAL REVIEW, June 4, 2015

“Kosower’s gorgeous, songlike phrasing, and Oh’s pearly tone and fluent technique are perfect for Schubert’s world.“   - Schubert and Dvorak w/ Preucil and Oh, PALM BEACH DAILY NEWS, February 11, 2015

“Kosower’s high, descending chromatic scale drew smiles from audience members, his effortless virtuosity reminiscent of a coloratura soprano... Kosower embraced the challenge with gorgeous lyricism and sprightly virtuosity. The work’s charismatic French style was matched not only by his flawless performance but also by the smile on his face.“   - Fitzenhagen and Servais, Cleveland Orchestra, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL, February 2, 2015

“An evening of deep emotion as these two excellent performers fused their exceptional talents into an exquisite program... The commingling of Kosower and Oh’s musicianship was exhilarating. They moved and played as one, painting a magnificent musical picture in motion.“   - 3 Brahms Sonatas w/ Jee-Won Oh, Blossom Music Festival, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL, July 22, 2014

“The performance had a remarkable clarity, and all the cello’s rapid sixteenth notes were apparent even when the accompanying textures were thick. Kosower’s clear, bright tone and Blomstedt’s supple and well-prepared conducting helped maintain the wonderful balance.“   - Dvorak Cello Concerto w/ Cleveland Orchestra, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL, April 22, 2014

“Kosower maintained an artistic concentration that was impressive. His tone was steely but warm... in this tenderest of moments, even more than in the dramatic and heroic passages of the outer movements, Kosower achieved his finest expression of the evening, beautifully capturing the composer’s note of wistfulness and regret... Blomstedt’s collaboration with Kosower also was notable for its communicativeness – at one point in the finale, conductor and soloist exchanged a small smile after Kosower gave a particularly fine rendering of a complex passage.“   - Dvorak Cello Concerto w/ Cleveland Orchestra, THE PLAIN DEALER, April 18, 2014

“From the very start of the piece, he produced a gorgeously rich and very expressive tone, and very ably kept the pace of the first two movements moving along. His leadership role was particularly important in that Lalo seems to have given all of the good tunes to the cello...“   - Lalo Cello Concerto w/ Annapolis Symphony, CAPITAL GAZETTE, October 1, 2013

“Principal cellist Mark Kosower gave a performance of Barber’s Cello Concerto as stunning as the fact that it was the orchestra’s first... On his second solo appearance with the orchestra, he revealed himself to be a virtuoso of staggering prowess.“   - Blossom Festival w/ the Cleveland Orchestra, THE PLAIN DEALER, August 5, 2013

"Principal cellist Mark Kosower was nimble and expressive in Luigi Boccherini‘s Cello Concerto No. 6 in D major. Boccherini was himself a virtuoso cellist (also a fine guitarist), and he set many challenges for the soloist in this concerto, including an opening gambit set in the uppermost register of the cello. Kosower met the challenges with supreme ease."   - Boccherini Cello Concerto No.6, Cleveland Orchestra, Ton Koopman, THE PLAIN DEALER, May 4, 2012

"Kosower has earned his merit badge, and then some, with this exciting and technically solid performance, and the musicians of the Bamberg orchestra add to the music's spidery thrills...Even in the composer's most demanding passages, there's no sense that the cellist is being pushed beyond his limits, and his sound remains rich and full throughout the cello's range."   - CD Review, Ginastera Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, FANFARE, September 1, 2011

"Kosower, accompanied by Oh, was spotlighted in two showpieces at the start of the second half - David Popper's Serenade and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's 'Figaro' Variations. In the former, Kosower showed what a wonderfully eloquent cellist he is. His playing was gorgeously poetic as he coaxed every ounce of expressiveness out of the music. In the latter, a clever arrangement of the 'Largo al factotum' from Gioachino Rossini's opera The Barber of Seville, Kosower let loose with some astonishing pyrotechnics. Filled with virtuosic writing, Kosower made short work of it and gave a brilliantly dazzling account of this witty piece."   - Park City Music Festival, Edward Reichel for REICHEL RECOMMENDS, July 28, 2011

"Despite the lofty technical demands, Kosower's playing still manages to seem relaxed and at ease, his sound never forced in an effort to overcome the orchestra...Listeners unfamiliar with these two highly worthwhile concertos would be hard pressed to find a more reliable, pristine performance."   - CD Review, Ginastera Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, ALL MUSIC, June 26, 2011

"He is a powerful and compelling advocate of Ginastera's art...I would go as far as saying that this is one of the finest concerto discs from Naxos that I have heard. On the strength of his performance here I will look forward to hearing more from cellist Mark Kosower."   - CD Review, Ginastera Cello Concertos Nos 1 and 2, MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL , June 24, 2011

"As on his previous disc of Ginastera's complete cello music - Kosower shows himself completely inside the composer's somewhat elusive idiom. Appointed principal cello of the Cleveland Orchestra in 2009, Kosower's understated virtuosity and tonal refinement always fall gracefully on the ear. The cellist delivers supreme advocacy for these works, bringing great feeling and expression to the restless yearning, solo lines and infusing the brooding solo passages with a burnished tone and dark eloquence."  - CD Review, Ginastera Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, THE CLASSICAL REVIEW, June 17, 2011

"The performances here are amazing. Mark Kosower is a highly accomplished cellist who worked closely with Aurora Ginastera on the production of this recording before she died...I strongly recommend this disc to anyone familiar with Ginastera's work or wishing to learn more."   - CD Review, Ginastera Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, AUDIOPHILE AUDITION, June 8, 2011

"Displaying supreme technical virtuosity and incredible passion, Kosower reveals the two concertos, from 1968 and 1980, in all their haunting, prismatic glory."   - CD Review, Ginastera Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, May 29, 2011

"Mark Kosower is a brilliant young cellist who just this season became principal cello of the Cleveland Orchestra, one of the most prized positions in the music world. Kosower will surely play the Dvorak Cello Concerto many times in years to come, but it's hard to imagine a finer performance of it than the one he gave Saturday night with the Florida Orchestra at Mahaffey Theater."   - Dvorak Concerto, Stefan Sanderling and Florida Orchestra, St. Petersburg Times, December 5, 2010

"Cellist Mark Kosower and pianist Jee-Won Oh raised the bar for solo recitals with their excellent performance at Harkness Chapel on the Case campus Monday evening under the auspices of The Cleveland Cello Society. Their cleverly-chosen program and flawless, communicative playing added up to one of the most enjoyable two-player recitals I can recall."   - Recital, Bach, Tcherepnin, Poulenc, Mendelssohn, Popper,, September 28, 2010

"High points were the tender partnering between Christine Rocas and Miguel Blanco in Variation VI, as well as the rich cello solo by esteemed newcomer Mark Kosower, who made his instrument sound like a living, breathing organism."   - Variations on a Rococo Theme, Cleveland Orchestra with Joffrey Ballet, Akron Beacon Journal, September 7, 2010

"In his first solo since becoming principal cello, Mark Kosower took the instrumental lead in "Reflections," a classical setting of Tchaikovsky's "Variations on a Rococo Theme" by Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino. Transcending the work's challenges, the cellist established a dynamic line of communication with the dancers, lending their stunning performances additional degrees of suppleness and immediacy."   - Variations on a Rococo Theme, Cleveland Orchestra with Joffrey Ballet, The Plain Dealer, September 6, 2010

"Kosower seemed not to mind sharing the spotlight with a dozen dancers. He was a brilliant and engaging soloist who sailed through his three octave scales, high notes and harmonics with laser accuracy and otherwise musically smiled his way through this mostly upbeat score..."   - Variations on a Rococo Theme, Cleveland Orchestra with Joffrey Ballet,, September 4, 2010

"His facility with the instrument is astonishing, with accurate playing at high speeds to the very top of the cello's range. Although he can generate a luscious, throbbing sound when he wants one, he never deploys it intense and concentrated experience"   - Recital, Coral Gables Congregational, South Florida Classical Review, June 18, 2010

"Together Kosower and Oh reached a tension and depth of expression that hypnotically enraptured the audience from that point on to the end of a long concert."   - Benefit Recital for the Community Foundation of Erlangen, Erlangen Nachrichten, July 29, 2009

"This exceptional artist demonstrated his technical and interpretive capabilities not only through his grand solo in the fourth movement but also through his superbly and intensively played encore, the Allemande from Bach's Cello Suite No. 6."   - Ginastera Cto 2, Lothar Zagrosek, Bamberger Symphoniker, Erlangen Nachkrichten, April 29, 2009

"The music allows Kosower to showcase his stunning virtuosity, passionate intensity, and elegant phrasing. No wonder that when I interviewed János Starker last year, he singled out Kosower as a young cellist to watch."   - Naxos Hungarian Album, Laurence Vittes for Strings Magazine, November 1, 2008