Zuill Bailey - Reviews


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"Cello soloist Bailey drew the best out of this work, creating ethereal poignancy, purifying rapture, and sustaining compelling intrigue." - "Tout un monde lointain" by Henri Dutilleux with the Boston Philharmonic, THE BOSTON MUSICAL INTELLIGENCER, November 20, 2016

"Opening with soft drums and cymbals that bring in the soloist’s cello line, this whole distant world was largely carried by the fantastic performance of Bailey — his percussive use of pizzicato despite such challenging intervals between notes were remarkable and mesmerising." - "Tout un monde lointain" by Henri Dutilleux with the Boston Philharmonic, THE TECH November 18, 2016

"Bailey conjured a host of sounds from the cello. His playing ranged from glassy harmonics and ghostly slides to percussive pizzicatos. Yet the cellist performed with a remarkable sense of the melodic line. His tone was cool yet singing, like a voice in the wilderness." - "Tout un monde lointain" by Henri Dutilleux with the Boston Philharmonic, BOSTON CLASSICAL REVIEW November 18, 2016

"His soloist Thursday, Zuill Bailey, tore into the cello part with such ferocity that he broke a string after just five minutes and had to retire briefly to replace it. That didn’t mar his performance, in which the cello seemed to be the protagonist in a noir film or novel, with the orchestra now creating suspense, now crashing in on him, now giving chase. He was particularly mesmerizing in the two slow movements." Tout un monde lointain . . . by Henri Dutilleux with the Boston Philharmonic, BOSTON GLOBE, November 18, 2016

"Bailey — who gave the premiere of the concerto with the Nashville Symphony last year and recorded it for the Naxos label — was a charismatic soloist. He captured a breadth of color, texture, dynamics and feeling in the virtuoso solo writing." - Michael Daugherty's  Tales of Hemingway with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, DETROIT FREE PRESS October 22, 2016

"The whole performance proved Zuill Bailey to be a hero fittingly worthy of a Hemingway tale."Michael Daugherty’s Tales of Hemingway with the Roanoke Symphony, THE ROANOKE TIMES, October 16, 2016

"The Hemingway piece, Tales of Hemingway, is a beautiful and inventive four movement cello concerto performed wonderfully by the always amazing Zuill Bailey." - Michael Daugherty's Tales of Hemingway, AUDIOPHILE AUDITION, October 5, 2016

"Tales of Hemingway does exactly what a good modern cello concerto is supposed to do: it exploits every facet the solo’s expressive range, from soulful melody to virtuoso pyrotechnics, and it gives Zuill Bailey a rich opportunity to show off his impressive technique and seductive timbre amid the most wide-ranging and colorful accompaniments." - Michael Daugherty's Tales of Hemingway, CLASSICS TODAY, September 2016

"Bailey projected effortlessly its beautiful melodies sprinkled with dissonant notes, while the orchestra furnished their color-filled backdrop." - Michael Daugherty's Tales of Hemingway, CVNC May 14, 2016

"Few cellists can successfully conquer the composition’s extremes in tempos, rhythms, dynamics and emotions. Bailey’s mesmerizing, deeply committed performance puts this recording at the top, especially because of his warm, rounded tone and jaw-dropping clarity in lightning-speed runs." - Prokofiev Cello Sonata with NC Symphony CD Review, THE NEWS & OBSERVER, May 7, 2016

“The concerto is not a virtuoso piece but rather one resembling a dialogue between the instrument and orchestra. That said, it is not without technical demands, which found Bailey impressively handling running passages with fingers (and occasionally his full head of hair) flying. His masterful control of the instrument and the Schumann resulted in a performance of excitement, passion, soulful lyricism, especially in the slower section that approached moments of ethereal quality.“   - Schumann Cello Concerto w/ Williamsburg Symphonia, THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE, May 8, 2015

“Zuill Bailey opens this triptych with a superb account of Bloch’s masterly Schelomo, concentrated and powerful, the soloist rhapsodising in a freely expressive style.“   -CD: Bloch Schelomo and Muhly Concerto w/ Indianapolis Symphony, GRAMOPHONE, April 1, 2015

“The virtuoso duo of Awadagin Pratt, piano, and Zuill Bailey, cello, offered a substantial and powerful concert... Bailey played the [Bach] Suite with an emphasis on rhythmic vitality.“   - Duo recital w/ Awadagin Pratt in San Jose, PENINSULA REVIEWS, March 24, 2015

“Mr. Bailey demonstrated a lovely tone from the start, playing on a 1693 Venetian instrument which could produce both the clarity of the 17th-century and the richness of 19th-century repertoire... Mr. Bailey held the audience’s attention with tender melodic lines and very light fingers changing notes in the fast sections.“   - Schumann Cello Concerto w/ Princeton Symphony, TOWN TOPICS, March 16, 2015

“Among this work’s many recordings, Bailey’s must be deemed one of the finest, his questioning, keening, raging “vocalizing” vividly conjuring a palpable human image.“   - CD: Nicol Muhly Cello Concert w/ Indianapolis Symphony, NEWS OBSERVER, February 22, 2015

“Soloist Zuill Bailey confidently knitted the disparate sections together, his serious, soulful approach and obvious deep connection providing a guiding beacon. In several sections of virtuosic display, Bailey dazzled with fast fingering and fierce bowing.“   -Prokofiev‘s Sinfonia Concertante w/ NC Symphony, NEWS OBSERVER, February 21, 2015

“Bailey excelled in many instances in technical and artistic terms and particularly in the lyricism he projected.“   - Prokofiev‘s Sinfonia Concertante w/ NC Symphony, CVNC, February 20, 2015

“Muhly sends the soloist — here an impassioned and stalwart Zuill Bailey — into long-breathed oratory against a fragrant, shimmering orchestral backdrop... Bailey’s playing is strong-limbed and sensitive throughout.“   - CD: Nico Muhly Cello Concerto w/ Indianapolis Symphony, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, January 21, 2015

“[Bailey] gave an intimate performance with incredible sensitivity, brilliant phrasing, and a rewarding musicality few people have. What a privilege to have such a great artist as our guest.“   - Prokofiev‘s Sinfonia Concertante w/ USC Symphony, FREE TIMES, September 21, 2014

“Its quirky dotted rhythms and melodic minor ambiguity sing of the pastoral traditions of the composer’s homeland and Bailey gave it a wholly convincing Slavic musical energy, whilst reserving his most glorious moments for the more lyrical second subject... Bailey approached it in that vein and invested the exquisite writing with so warm a beauty as to engender in the listener the most intense sense of yearning, of regret, of wistful leave-taking. If only for that little glimpse of the eternal, Bailey more than deserved the storm of approval that followed the peremptory final orchestral outburst.“   - Dvorak Cello Concerto w/ the Cape Town Philharmonic, THE CAPE TIMES, August 20, 2014

“‘Rock star’ and ‘cellist’ are not normally heard uttered in the same breath. Except, that is, in the case of the phenomenally talented (and easy on the eye) Zuill Bailey... his affectionate method of playing, the way he connected with the music, was unusual and extremely enchanting... What a fantastic musician, who is so sincere and modest, but is quite apparently one of the greatest cello players of all time.“   - Dvorak Cello Concerto w/ Cape Town Philharmonic, WHAT‘S ON IN CAPE TOWN, August 18, 2014

“This is a real, breathing performance excitingly caught on the wing and entirely devoid of flashy thrills and spills – I warm to its keen sincerity, unvarnished honesty and total lack of mannerism. Bailey, too, is such an articulate, selfless and communicative musician that no one could fail to derive pleasure from the finished article. “   - CD: ELGAR Cello Concerto, live w/ the Indianapolis Symphony, GRAMOPHONE, April 20, 2014

“Technically assured, Bailey performed the suite as if it was an old, treasured friend, the music speaking effortlessly and personally. Less assertive and in-your-face than many performances, Bailey seemed happy to let Bach speak for himself and not to intrude himself into the music.“   - Recital w/ the Ying Quartet, Calgary Pro Musica Society, THE CALGARY HERALD, April 14, 2014

“Zuill Bailey is a “must see, must hear“ soloist in my opinion. He has a gorgeous tender tone when he wants, a sarcastic bite, or masterful power.“   - Strauss‘ Don Quixote w/ Winston-Salem Symphony, CVNC, April 6, 2014

“[Bailey] Gets beyond the notes to find the essence of this weighty and serious work. He is mightily impressive in the imposing multiple stopping of the opening theme, and perhaps even more so in the second-subject material.“   - CD: Britten Cello Symphony and Cello Sonata, INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW, March 1, 2014

“Dvorak’s famed concerto, a beautifully written work which showcased Bailey’s extraordinary skill as a cellist. Noted for his peerless technique and great passion, Bailey flung himself into this complex piece... Bailey, an in-demand soloist who performs with a 1693 Matteo Goffriller cello, seemed to revel in the subtlety of Dvorak’s exceptional composition, creating a warm ride that felt like floating on a cloud.“   - Dvorak Cello Concerto w/ Harrisburg Symphony, THE SENTINEL, February 9, 2014

“Zuill Bailey gives it in a most attention-getting manner.... an incredible cellist.“   - CD: Britten Cello Symphony and Cello Sonata, AUDIOPHILE AUDITION, January 9, 2014

“He showed how this singular instrument could sing lilting melodies and simultaneously layer the inner voices and bass line.“   - Bach Suites Recital at Mesa Arts Center, EXAMINER, November 24, 2013

“Zuill Bailey’s performance displayed ardor and warm tones... Bailey’s was a stunning performance here that secured his reputation as an important artist.“   - Schumann Concerto for Cello and Orchestra w/ Kalamazoo Symphony, KALAMAZOO GAZETTE, November 16, 2013

“Cellist Zuill Bailey and pianist Navah Perlman saved the best for last in their collaboration... [Bailey] plays with a comfortable presence and a generous palette of colors and touches.“   - Schumann & Brahms recital w/ Navah Perlman, THE WASHINGTON POST, October 27, 2013

“Bailey was out of this world playing Schumann‘s only cello concerto and clearly showed his mastery of the instrument what looked effortless, but he plays with such luxuriousness and passion... Bailey is in a league of his own. He played the Schumann concerto with a wonderful range of colors to reflect the various moods and emotions in the piece. His playing was soft, delicate at one moment and bristled with flair and boldness at another moment. His technique is concise, refined filled with finesse, But his secret weapon is his impeccable tone, crisp and rich. Bailey plays with a sense of ease, but fills up his cello with artistic vitality.“   - Schumann Cello Concerto w/ La Crosse Symphony, UNOBSTRUCTED VIEW, October 20, 2013

“Bailey showed complete engagement in the emotional states of his character, whether it was in the musings of confused philosophies or the obsessive love of his idealized Dulcinea. To convey these expressive shifts, the cello sang and rumbled, quivered and shouted, with an amazing range of colors. Indeed Bailey proved that the most beautiful sounds in music are those of incredible softness and delicacy.“   - Don Quixote w/ Roanoke Symphony, THE ROANOKE TIMES, October 8, 2013

“These people are brilliant intellectuals and gifted artists who have keen insight into the music they play. They possess technique in superabundance, so even difficult passages seem easy - and often elicit knowing and appreciative smiles and other acknowledgments from each other. Of course, all the other hallmarks of great playing are present in abundance: incisiveness, energy, skillful blends of tension and relaxation, precise attacks and releases, scrupulously-managed dynamics - you name them, and all the best musical qualities informed these artists‘ collective work.“   - Perlman/QUint/Bailey trio, Raleigh Chamber Music Guild, CVNC, April 28, 2013

“Bailey’s subtle shading and nuance, especially in the Sarabande movements was astonishing.“   - Recital, Northwest Bach Festival, THE SPOKESMAN REVIEW, March 26, 2013

“Bailey’s was the best rendition I’ve heard this century. That he had all the technical chops was an essential, but he also exquisitely conveyed, both in musical and bodily expression, the pain of loss that permeates the slow movement.“   - Elgar Concerto, Santa Rosa Symphony, SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE, March 16, 2013

“Bailey swayed gently as he played, his luxuriant vibrato matching his body language. He looked up at the ceiling, then down to his cello, then over to Mr. Ferrandis, seeming to draw as much inspiration from his surroundings as from his musical core. His playing was emotional, nowhere more so than in the powerful pizzicatos that bring the movement to a close. The soloist, who seemed utterly relaxed throughout his performance, transitioned seamlessly to the Allegro second movement, which features finger-twisting passagework and rapid bowing. These were perfectly executed, earning him a smattering of applause at movement‘s end.“   - Elgar Concerto, Santa Rosa Symphony, CLASSICAL SONOMA, March 16, 2013

“Bailey put himself totally into the music, tackling head on the broad range of technical challenges. His performance was flawless and emotionally intense.“   - Britten Cello Concerto, North Carolina Symphony, CVNC, February 7, 2013

“Bailey‘s larger-than-life expressivity was firmly in evidence...“   - Nico Muhly‘s Cello Concerto premiere, Indianapolis Symphony, INDYSTAR, January 26, 2013

“Cellist Zuill Bailey has few rivals in terms of sheer sound. His performance of the Elgar Concerto on this live disc with the Indianapolis Symphony represents the ne plus ultra of musical suavity.“   - CD Review: Elgar Cto w/ Indianapolis Symphony, THE PLAIN DEALER, January 13, 2013

“Bailey’s approach was reckless and alive. Smiling at the audience, catching the eye of various orchestra musicians, he gave the impression of chafing at convention. His playing was imaginative. When a phrase repeated, it never sounded exactly the same. Heck, it never sounded anywhere near the same.“   - Haydn Concerto No. 1, Buffalo Philharmonic, THE BUFFALO NEWS, December 1, 2012

"Until now, the recording to recommend was the celebrated DG version featuring the partnership of Rostropovich and Karajan, ideally coupled with Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations. But this wonderfully spontaneous new version by Zuill Bailey and Jun Märkl tends to sweep the board.... All in all, this is an unforgettable performance.   - Dvorak‘s "American" Cello Concerto, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, GRAMOPHONE, May 1, 2012

"Bailey seemed to revel in both the playfulness of the Gigues that end each Suite and the sensual longing that oozed from the Sarabandes. His cello spoke in a wonderful array of subtle voices in the Allemandes and Bourées and, as a master performer, he timed the break between movements to dramatic perfection."   - Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, THE WASHINGTON POST, January 8, 2012

"The memory that will linger longest from Friday's concert will doubtless be the Frederic Chopin sonata that Bailey and Perlman delivered with such power and depth.... The sad fury Bailey brought to the sonata's finale conveyed complex layers of emotion."   - St. Croix Concert Series, Pioneer Press, November 11, 2011

"The account of the epic F major Sonata, with its four compact movements, even outshines Bailey's [masterly] performance of No 1, while the whole disc is rounded off with an ecstatically gentle account of "Wiegenlied", Brahms's much-loved cradle song. Bailey has already recorded the Bach Cello Suites for Telarc but, with his nut-brown tones in the lower register of the cello, I hope for many more recordings of Romantic music from him."   - CD Review, Brahms with Awadagin Pratt on Telarc, GRAMOPHONE, July 1, 2011

"Bailey brought insight and intensity to Antonin Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104."   - David Itkin with Las Vegas Philharmonic, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 19, 2011

"This is a terrific set, and shouldn't be missed...well presented, beautifully performed"  - CD Review, Brahms with Awadagin Pratt on Telarc, ConcertoNet.com, March 29, 2011

"Built in 1693 by the Venetian instrument maker Matteo Goffriller (1659-1742), the rich silky tone and warm, full-bodied sound qualities of this musical treasure complemented the skill and impeccable technique of the artist to whom its care and new life has been entrusted."   - Dvorak Concerto, Flagstaff Symphony, Arizona Daily Sun, March 13, 2011

"Zuill Bailey, American cellist and Juilliard graduate, creates sonority in spades."   - CD Review, Bach Suites on Telarc, The Scotsman, March 6, 2011

"On Friday night, with recording microphones set up to yield a Telarc CD from three performances with the ISO, Zuill Bailey offered a passionate yet dignified interpretation of the 1896 work."   - Dvorak Concerto, Jun Märkl with the Indianapolis Symphony, The Indianapolis Star, February 5, 2011

"Given the right repertoire, an excellent solo cellist can manipulate your heartstrings as masterfully as a great vocalist, coaxing an emotional response from the most stoic of listeners. Zuill Bailey is such a cellist...he showed why he's become America's most popular cellist whose name isn't Yo-Yo Ma, displaying a big, rich tone and a flamboyant interpretive flair that brings out the drama in whatever he's playing."   - Recital, Bach, David Evan Thomas, Brahms, The Pioneer Press, November 7, 2010

"Playing a magnificent 1693 Gofriller cello that once belonged to the Budapest Quartet's Mischa Schneider, Bailey sounded as facile as a violinist while simultaneously delivering a powerful and sonorous tone quality no matter the range of the score."   - Shostakovich 1, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, Timothy Russell, The Columbus Dispatch, October 11, 2010

"...With the clarity of his figuration and the serene aplomb with which he dispatched the work's lyricism, Bailey put more than mere vigor into his interpretation."   - Saint-Saens 1, Indianapolis Symphony, Andrey Boreyko, The Indianapolis Star, July 31, 2010

"The sonata's first movement was turbulent, while remaining appropriately balanced, and the slow second movement was poetic rather than sentimental, with Bailey producing a warmly expressive tone on his highest string. Both musicians relished the dancing hemiola figures in the third movement, shifts of the downbeat between duple and triple groupings, and played with impressive bravura and accuracy."   - Recital w/Orion Weiss, Kennedy Center for WPAS, The Washington Post, May 6, 2010

"Warmth, thoughtfulness and intimacy pervade Zuill Bailey's remarkable new version of Bach's Cello Suites...he demolishes the old idea that the Bach Cello Suites have something fusty and academic about them. Not so: In Bailey's hands, this is music of both profundity and joy."   - CD Review, Bach Suites on Telarc, The Washington Post, May 6, 2010

"From the first notes, this disc commands attention above most others currently available and might be headed for classic status thanks to the combination of vision, temperament, and technique that comes together to great effect...Bailey's technique is such that no movement is too intricate for his stylish details."   - CD Review, Bach Suites on Telarc, The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 14, 2010

"Bailey's mission is to underscore the music's brilliance, but he ends up proving his own as well."   - CD Review, Bach Suites on Telarc, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 14, 2010

"Thirty-seven-year-old American cellist Zuill Bailey has made brilliant use of his current contract with Telarc Records to make one of the more impressive collections of the Bach Cello Suites to come along in quite a while."   - CD Review, Bach Suites on Telarc, The Buffalo News, February 7, 2010

"Bailey wasn't overly showy as he finessed his way through the famed Elgar Cello Concerto. His demeanor on stage wasn't overwrought or grandiose, just low-key intense. Simmering, even."   - Elgar Concerto, Fresno Philharmonic, The Fresno Bee, November 23, 2009

"With expert bow technique and a genuine emotional sense of the material, cellist Zuill Bailey charged into Elgar's Cello Concerto Saturday at the William Saroyan Theatre with the Fresno Philharmonic, Theodore Kuchar conducting, and delivered a riveting performance."   - Elgar Concerto, Fresno Philharmonic, FresnoMusicCritic.com, November 22, 2009

"Violinist Elena Urioste and cellist Zuill Bailey went for drama and fervor in the first movement, lovely expansiveness in the second and rhythmic strength in the third. Bailey took the lead throughout, the deep, rich sound of his 1693 Matteo Goffriller cello permeating the orchestra with burnished tone. "   - Brahms Double, Beethoven Triple, Piotr Gajewski, National Philharmonic, The Washington Post, November 1, 2009

"A bolder, more satisfying account of Beethoven's five sonatas for cello and piano is hard to imagine. Zuill Bailey and Simone Dinnerstein make ideal interpreters, celebrating the surprises, heat and tenderness that make each score unique."   - Beethoven Sonatas on Telarc, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 29, 2009

"Mr. Bailey illuminated the cello's substantial part while performing three Beethoven sonatas with pianist Simone Dinnerstein, to celebrate their new Telarc release... Their ardent performance of the third sonata was the highlight of the evening. Mr. Bailey spun out the seductive opening melody with a rich tone..."   - Beethoven Sonatas at Le Poisson Rouge, The New York Times, August 29, 2009

"Few performers speak acceptably from the stage, let alone well; most mumble or shout or pontificate. Bailey spoke well, even charmingly, and without condescension...He then took on the demanding C-Minor suite and played it with aristocratic poise."   - Bach Cello Suites, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, The New Mexican, July 31, 2009

"Cellist Zuill Bailey's playing of the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in E Minor (Op. 85) made me reconsider my opinion of Elgar."   - Elgar Concerto, Portland Symphony, The Maine Sunday Telegram, May 7, 2009

"Zuill Bailey is well on his way to becoming a cello superstar. He certainly has what it takes: amazing technique, impressive musicality and stunning artistry. And his latest CD, which happens to be an all-Russian affair and his first for Telarc, is the perfect showcase for his talents."   - "Russian Masterpieces" CD Review, The Deseret News, March 14, 2009

"Bailey proves a master of the art by giving us one of the finest readings I have yet heard of this wondrous score!"   - "Russian Masterpieces" CD Review, Audiophile Audition, January 23, 2009

"There's no chance of drowsiness with Bailey, whose vigorous and rough-hewn playing style proves a winning tonic for this music, causing you to hear it afresh, and perhaps even to reappraise its merits."   - "Russian Masterpieces" CD Review, Classics Today, January 22, 2009

"Having Bailey around is an event. Not only is he one of the world's finest cellists, but he is also well known as a caring human being. The nearly full house at the Koger was treated to a true class act with his performance of Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, a work that demands virtuosity of the highest level and intensely sensitive musicality. Then a relaxing and mesmerizing Nocturne in C-sharp Minor capped the first half of the concert. A grateful house offered an extended ovation."   - Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations, South Carolina Philharmonic, The Free Press, November 19, 2008