The best performance of the evening came last, when the Russian pianist Alexandre Pirojenko played Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1... Mr. Pirojenko, a winner of the 2004 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, captured the work's exuberant character and playful outbursts and comfortably surmounted the innumerable technical demands... The patrons awarded him the heartiest applause of the evening.
Vivien Schweitzer, New York City, USA, The New York Times, May 1, 2008
...Virtuosity does not only mean to possess exceptional technical quality, but above all share a sense that referred to the tradition of the great romantic interpreters (and post-romantic): conception of the sound, the time, the phrasing based on the temporary fantasy ignition, on the poetical enchantment. Pirojenko obviously knows this glorious tradition (we also learn from his curriculum that he is fitted up collector of historical recordings), and he has absorbed it to the point to execute in a brilliant way the Liszt transcription from Horowitz for his personal use and consumption, and "revise" the text of the six Polish songs of Chopin-Liszt with interpolations derived from some historical versions of the virtuous ones of the Golden Age. Obviously also the small studies of Pozzoli appears to increase in value from such conception, in their fluent brilliance and their musical intensity. The young Russian virtuous gives to the well known Prokofiev's Sonata its right feeling, with an execution where romantic reminiscence, mechanisms requirements and one clear, alert polyphonic clarity of the parts, coexists.
Riccardo Risaliti, Booklet of the CD released by Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competition. Italy, 2007
A Show of Pianistic Brilliance
Very rarely, a pianist's style combines such technical prowess and musical understanding that he seems to be channeling the great virtuosos of the past. That was Alexandre Pirojenko at the Mansion at Strathmore on Friday night, playing with unfailing power and limpidity - but without exaggerated mannerisms or affectation.
Mark J. Estren, Washington D. C., USA, Washington Post, Monday, March 12, 2007
Young pianist shows flair beyond his years
...Pirojenko proved to be a bright star with plenty of technique to burn... Opening with Chopin's Polonaise in A-flat, Op. 61, we heard a contemplative control which let the phrases breathe musically. Chopin's Six Polish Songs, Op. 74, transcribed by Liszt, allowed Pirojenko to display a range of character from sentimental to martial, with clear command of his finger work. Rare were the delicate inflections that audiences love to savor, but it's hard not to like the bubbly outbursts and quick power of grand gestures.
Gayle Williams, Sarasota, USA, Herald Tribune, November 26, 2005
The audience was treated to a superb performance of Mozart's "Piano Concerto N 14 in E-Flat Major," featuring pianist Alexandre Pirojenko... He won my respect by the end of the first "vivace" movement, with his lengthy, perfectly executed trills, smooth as quicksilver. Twenty-eight minutes later the audience awarded him and the orchestra a standing ovation.
Peg Goldberg Longstreth, Naples FL, USA, Naples Daily News, November 20, 2005
Pianist Alexandre Pirojenko Performs for Moore County’s Classical Concert Series
The Classical Concert Series has a long history of presenting outstanding rising instrumentalists in recital. For its second concert of the season, November 14, pianist Alexandre Pirojenko presented a wide-ranging program in the Sunrise Theatre in Southern Pines. Among a plethora of contest prizes, placing first in the 2004 Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York led to this local appearance. Many musicians who have run the medal-gathering gauntlet come out with many technical skills but are found wanting in both individuality and depth of insight. Pirojenko made everything he tackled seem effortless but in all pieces his technique was subordinated to a clear over-all vision. His stage manner is very business-like and self-effacing. As his hands raced over or caressed the keyboard, the audience was transfixed by his extraordinary wide palette of color and timbre, his dexterity as he clearly articulated notes at high speed, and his broad and carefully-nuanced dynamics, ranging from the barest whisper to thundering octaves. Eschewing flamboyant gestures, Pirojenko whipped up huge waves of sounds while hardly seeming to change the distance of his hands from the ivories – a quality shared with an older generation of pianists such as Claude Frank, Earl Wild, and Luiz de Moura de Castro.
All these qualities were displayed in Pirojenko's opening selection, Chopin's Polonaise-Fantasie in A-flat, Op. 61. Beginning ever so quietly and slowly, he made the melodic lines sing and managed to hold the wild cavalcade together all the way to its fiery conclusion. Franz Liszt's arrangements of Six Polish Songs by Chopin gave the pianist scope to portray widely varied moods, now joyful, now melancholy, now dance-like, now lyrical. Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 19 in d minor makes use of the "czardas," a dance based on variations in tempo. Pirojenko pulled out all the stops as he alternated slow, sliding phrases with ominously rumbling chords. He conjured up rich sonority for Cesar Franck's Prelude, Chorale et Fugue, M.21, and his agility was astonishing during the many instances of crossed hands. Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat, Op. 83, is the middle and most popular of three "War Sonatas," composed while the composer was evacuated from Moscow. The haunting theme of the first movement is sped along by a threatening and overpowering rhythm. The lyrical theme of the second movement provides the strongest possible contrast before returning to the opening movement's intensity. The last movement blends dissonance and jazz-like rhythms and ends in a dazzling display of keyboard virtuosity. Despite the well-known conservatism of this series' audience, listeners were so swept up in Pirojenko's spell that he received a prolonged standing ovation. Their reward was a rarity in our area, the "Polichinelle" in f–sharp minor, No. 4 of Rachmaninov's Morceaux de fantasie, Op. 3. In addition to characteristic plush melodies, its comic rhythms show "Old Stone Face" in good humor.
William Thomas Walker, USA, Classical Voice of North Carolina, November 2005
Classical flavor from a young artist
...From the moment the performance began with selections from Haydn's Sonata No. 35 in A-flat major, the audience was utterly silent in a way that reflected more than the typical polite quietness veteran classical crowds know to deliver. They seemed mesmerized by Pirojenko's lively and dexterous presentation.
Emma Zayer, Washington D. C., USA, The Daily Colonial, Saturday, March 12, 2005
A Young Pianist Gives His Dazzling Keys to the City
Pianist Alexandre Pirojenko's Sunday afternoon recital at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater was the sort of concert that made a listener want to run to the phone at intermission, to urge absent friends to come quickly and catch as much as possible of the second half. Yes, Pirojenko is that good. He has the technical skills to do anything he wants with a piano; better yet, what he wants to do is sensitive, original and brilliant in all senses of the word. This young Russian - he is 25 - won first prize in the 2004 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and it was YCA that sponsored him in his Washington debut. Word of mouth should ensure that he never again plays to an empty seat. The program began with Haydn's Sonata No. 35 in A-flat. Pirojenko made no attempt to deliberately limit the piano sonorities available to this composer (who was writing for the instrument when it was still in a primitive state of development). Rather, he gloried unashamedly in the lush tone and eternally variable dynamics available only from a modern concert grand. Was this "romanticized" Haydn, then? Well, yes - and also modernized, while we're at it: Pirojenko was less interested in the dry re-creation of a performance that the composer might have heard 200 years ago than in bringing every dash of Haydn's wit, invention and sturdy lyricism dancing gloriously into the 21st century. A selection of three "Images" by Debussy was no less impressive. This is music that has moved beyond the traditional building blocks of melody, harmony and rhythm into a realm of pure sound (Debussy once said that his ideal piano would have no hammers). Talking of these works in academic terms - of their "scales," "arpeggios" and so on - seems prosaic and beside the point. What Debussy is intent on giving us are clouds, showers, flashes of lightning, and Pirojenko fully met these challenges to the imagination. We've been hearing quite a bit of music by Henri Dutilleux this season - the French composer turns 90 in January - and the "Chorale and Variations" that closed the first half of Pirojenko's program made a cogent argument for more. With its chiming chords and unfettered gallops across the keyboard, this is as unhinged and exciting a display piece for an ubervirtuoso as anything by Liszt or Balakirev. It is surprising that more pianists haven't picked it up. I particularly liked the manic, jazzy quality Pirojenko brought to Dutilleux's writing for the left hand, which flirted dangerously (and exhilaratingly) with derailment on several occasions. Six preludes by Rachmaninoff began the second half of the program. Every pianist emphasizes the composer's grand romantic effusions; Pirojenko digs deeper and presents his racked, ghostly melancholy as well. The concert closed with Prokofiev's Sonata No. 7, which can be a stomping, clangorous bore in the wrong hands but here seemed smart, fierce and inevitable. The closing Toccata movement brought the audience immediately to its feet - and not for one of your dutiful, polite State of the Union-style Washington standing ovations, either, but one with real heat and exuberance, worthy of the afternoon.
Tim Page, Washington D. C., USA, Washington Post, Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Music From the Russian Soul
...Alexandre Pirojenko, the most recent first-prize winner at Young Concert Artists, brought Debussy and Dutilleux to his recital at the 92nd Street Y on Tuesday night. In Book 1 of the "Images," Debussy's "Reflets Dans l'Eau" had its rippling, watery surfaces well attended to... Henri Dutilleux's Chorale and Variations allowed Mr. Pirojenko to indulge his musical-language skills and homegrown virtuoso training at the same time... Haydn's A-flat Sonata, on the other hand, caught the Classical style's quieter tone. It also showed that this Russian is well up on the latest thinking about period ornaments and phrasing. ...Six Rachmaninoff Preludes had their properly gloomy eloquence... The Prokofiev Seventh Sonata has become a kind of signature piece for Russian pianists, its brutal difficulties offered as a kind of dare to Western colleagues... Mr. Pirojenko played it with a cold fury kept under perfect control.
Bernard Holland, New York City, USA, The New York Times, February 27, 2005
Tout droit venu de St-Petersbourg, nous avons decouvert un jeune virtuose au talent confirme. En ouverture, il a joue une Barcarolle et la Polonaise Fantaisie en la bemol majeur de Chopin. Il demontra non seulement qu'il est un pianiste a la technique parfaite, mais aussi qu'il est dote d'une musicalite telle qu'il peut reproduire merveilleusement les plus infimes finesses des compositions du grand maitre polonais. Les compositions de Scriabine (Sonate n3 en fa diese mineur) et de Rachmaninov (Melodie en mi majeur - Polichinelle - Sonata n2 en si bemol mineur) furent egalement executees avec beaucoup de temperament, de fougue. Meme si ses idoles musicales appartiennent au passe et son repertoire couvre toutes les epoques pianistiques, son interpretation des compositions du XXeme s. ont demontre un grand sentiment de contemporaneite. Un pianiste doue, tres expressif a qui les differents auditoires n'ont pas menage les applaudissements.
Lebanon, La Revue du Liban, No 3942 - du 27 Mars au 3 Avril 2004
... de moyens exceptionnels et d'une ardente personnalite.
... exceptional means and an ardent personality.
Martine Dumont-Mergeay, Brussels, Belgium, La Libre Belgique 17-18.05.2003
Rachmaninov's Second Sonata found it's heartfelt interpreter in Alexandre Pirojenko. Living enthusiasm for music making, scope of feelings are restrained by self-control and refined culture of tone.
Michail Byalik, St.Petersburg, Russia, Nevskoye Vremya, No 196 (2793), Tuesday October 22, 2002
... there was one absolutely superb musician ... Without question, 21-year-old Russian Alexandre Pirojenko was the real thing ... scrumptious in Scriabin, and absolutely dazzling in Prokofiev's Sixth Sonata.
Michael Tumelty, Glasgow, UK, The Herald, Friday September 14, 2001
In the second part of evening public waited the surprise, personified by young pianist Alexandre Pirojenko. Being a student of the Conservatoire (piano class of Alexander Sandler), he has already become laureate of several international piano competitions. Playing the Third Piano Concerto by Sergey Prokofiev he moved the listeners by chastity of lyrics and directly electrified them by impulsive energy. Perfect virtuosity allowed him to cope valiantly with fast (sometimes excessively fast) tempos.
Michail Byalik, St.Petersburg, Russia, Nevskoye Vremya, No 83 (2543), May 11, 2001
He is brightly gifted and virtuoso by nature.
Natalya Korykhalova, St.Petersburg, Russia, Petersburg-Klassika, 02.2001 (78)
Alexandre Pirojenko, who has just won the 1st prize at the Newport International Piano Competition (UK), played a concert in Capella ... Mr. Pirojenko strongly differs from standard laureates-pianists issued by present-day high schools in dozens and hundreds. He knows perfectly not only how, but what to play due to his composition education under Prof. Alexander Mnatsakanyan. Whatever the new laureate plays there is a sharp feeling of contemporaneity, though the pianist's music idols are in the past. Mr. Pirojenko's repertoire contains piano music of all epochs - from baroque to contemporary authors, but the most interesting are his interpretations of XX century classic.
Olga Skorbiashchenskaya, St.Petersburg, Russia, Kommersant, Nr.211 Friday, November 10, 2000
Pirojenko, who had stood head and shoulders above everyone else in the semi-finals last week, underlined his superiority with an electrifying performance of the Liszt First Concerto with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. ... Pirojenko is a player of extraordinary energy and control.
Nigel Jarrett, Newport, UK, South Wales Argus, Monday, October 23, 2000
Alexandre Pirojenko showed masterly possession of the instrument: his pearly technique, precision and distinctness of octave passages evoked particular admiration. He seemed to master the technical difficulties with exceptional effortlessness and ease. Creation of visible clearness of Liszt's images should be recognized as the pianist's greatest success.
Ekaterina Okuneva. Petrozavodsk. Russia. The Youth Newspaper of Karelia, Nr.42 (9926) October 12-18, 2000
Alexandre Pirojenko (Russie) a pour le moins impressionne par son large eventail expressif, son temperament, sa superbe technique: un digne representant de l'ecole russe. Sa pyrotechnie musicale a enflamme la salle, qui ne lui a pas menage ses applaudissements.
Alexandre Pirojenko (Russia) impresses by his broad expressive range, his temperament, his superb technique: worthy representative of the Russian school. His musical pyrotechnics ignites the auditorium, which cannot help applauding him.
Thierry Guerin, Orleans, France, 28.02.2000
Kerzengrade, geradezu schulmassig sass er am Flugel und musizierte vor allem grundlegend anders. Er schlug harter an und spielte weniger aus dem Bauch heraus. Fast kuhl, auf jeden Fall aber bis ins kleinste Detail durchdacht, interpretierte er Liszts Klavierkonzert mit einer bemerkenswerten musikalischen Intelligenz. Durch starke, aber nie uberpointierte Betonung des Rhythmus sowie ausgeklugelte Abstufungen in der Dynamik gelang es ihm, das sperrige Klavierkonzert transparent zu strukturieren. Auch harmonisierte sein Spiel hervorragent mit dem Orchester ... Aus diesen Grunden hatte ich Pirojenko fur den Gesamtsieg favorisiert - Geschmackssache, naturlich. ... Lediglich Alexandre Pirojenko bot etwas "Neues": die As-Dur-Sonate von Joseph Haydn sowie "Scherzo und Marsch" von Franz Liszt. Auch hier bestach der 20-jahrige Pianist aus St.Petersburg vor allem durch seine musikalische Intelligenz, mit der er auch ohne Orchesterbegleitung die Stucke strukturierte. Die technische Perfektion, mit der Pirojenko gerade den schweren Liszt bewaltigte, muss man wohl angesichts des enorm hohen Gesamtniveaus der Wettbewerbsteilnehmer in die Kategorie "Selbstverstandlichkeit" einordnen.
Alexander Schnackenburg, Bremen, Deutschland, KULTUR, Nr. 238 Montag, Oktober 11, 1999
Glanzpunkte des Abends bildeten die im zweiten Teil gespielten Kompositionen von Frederic Chopin ... Hier konnte Alexander Piroschenko zeigen, dass er nicht nur ein technisch perfekter junger Pianist ist, sondern dass er auch mit einer hochgradigen Musikalitat ausgestattet ist, die es ihm ermoglicht, den allerkleinsten Feinheiten der Kompositionen nachzuhorchen und diese dann auch zum Klingen zu bringen.
Koblenz, Deutschland, Rhein-Zeitung, Marz 26, 1993