The Best Classical Music Recordings of 2015

This outstanding Israeli-born pianist explores the theme-and-variations genre here. He gives lucid, exciting performances of variations by Oliver Knussen, Luciano Berio, George Benjamin and Peter Lieberson (all composed between 1982 and 2003), then ends with an exhilarating account of Brahms’s Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel.

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

Benjamin Hochman is a prime example of another New York type, the up-and-coming soloist. What makes him unusual, however, is the unabashed emphasis he has given to modern repertory, which he balances effortlessly with the classics in his recitals and recordings.

Russell Platt, The New Yorker
The thoughtful, accomplished Israeli-born pianist Benjamin Hochman devised a fascinating program of works in variation form for this splendid new recording... There are extraordinary performances of a meditative George Benjamin piece and Peter Lieberson’s elaborate 1996 Piano Variations, all building to the final offering: a commanding, exuberant account of Brahms’s great, and daunting, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel. Read More...
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
Benjamin Hochman gives new meaning to piano variations
In the beautiful new recording by Israeli pianist Benjamin Hochman, the piano often sounds clear and bright, with sounds cascading like refined pearls, while at other times it can be likened to a full symphonic orchestra, tumultuous in its multilayered complexity and sound hues.
Noam Ben-Zeev, Haaretz

"On one special night, the exciting, inquisitive pianist Benjamin Hochman played a bold program of contemporary theme-and-variations pieces."

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

"Classical music doesn't get better than this."

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

"Hochman led the audience through this rugged, majestic landscape with such rhetorical authority that there was no hint of movement among his listeners when he paused between sections. The minute he was done, the audience launched immediately into ovations."

Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

"The excellent and inquisitive Israeli-born pianist Benjamin Hochman pays homage to Schubert with vibrant and stylish accounts."

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

"Elegant, polished, and heartfelt... Hochman penetrated to the rustic heart of Schubert's turbulent emotional world."

The Boston Globe

"In Brahms’s Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Cello in A minor they were joined by Benjamin Hochman — stepping in for André Watts, sidelined by tendinitis — whose sensitive playing produced beads of frosted glass in the Adagio and a muscular, impatient drive in the final Allegro."

The New York Times

"Mr. Hochman’s sensitive performance compelled you to listen. In his comments he was soft-spoken and intelligent, and those qualities characterized the playing of this gifted, fast-rising artist as well."

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

"Hochman is clearly intent on making his own mark on this profound work. He’s very, very good, offering singing tone, clarity of line and a deft touch. He brings out the inner voices, playing throughout with calm assurance and authority. There’s nothing flashy or ill thought-out here. It’s all Bach all the way."

Santa Fe Reporter

"Hochman distinguished himself mightily in the summer’s first Bach Plus program last Saturday… Bach’s introductory note to the six partitas states that they were “Composed For Music Lovers To Refresh Their Spirits.” With Hochman in charge, they do and they did.”

Santa Fe Reporter

"The young Israeli-American pianist Benjamin Hochman has been stirring up quite a bit of interest recently... Hochman displayed quality and variety of tonal production which were deeply satisfying."

The Boston Musical Intellingencer

“The performance of the Schubert Sonata was that of a pianist giving his all for every note, yet always holding something back, a balancing act that seems particularly appropriate for Schubert. The performance was never about timbre, but the range of colors he brought to bear on this piece, on the whole evening, was phenomenal.”

Sequenza 21

"Hochman's playing was serene, virtually Olympian in its overview."

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"Fluidity and resiliency were two hallmarks of Mr. Hochman's playing, and they came to the fore immediately in the Praeambulum to Bach's Partita No. 5, executed with the smoothness of cream but the transparency of water."

New York Times
Notable Debuts for Seattle Symphony

"Hochman's demeanor is poised, and quietly confident. His playing is beautiful to hear. From the first moment, his crisp, articulated touch was noticeable, clear but not forceful, even with pedal, and he shaped the phrases in the long cadenza with grace."

Seattle Post-Intellingencer

"Barely moving at the piano, he played [Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat major, K.271] with a refreshingly unaffected style, with nicely shaped phrasing and pristine articulation. The slow movement was a highlight, with its smiling-through-tears quality and the pianist's luminous touch in its long-breathed themes."

The Cincinnati Enquirer

"This was big, bold music making, perfect for the incipient Romantic sensibilities of a composer who still seems to be underplayed even though his fame is universal. Mr. Hochman especially played the stuffing out of [Mendelssohn's D Major] sonata. His solo passagework in the hymnal section of the Adagio was positively inspiring."

The New York Sun

"Pianist Benjamin Hochman was a powerful protagonist in Prokofiev's spiritual odyssey."

The Washington Post

"A white-heat performance."

The Vancouver Sun

"Such breathless perfection that time seemed to stand still."

The Kansas City Star

"A superb pianist. The glowing heart of the concert was a performance by Hochman and the Jerusalem Quartet of Schumann's Piano Quintet. The playing by these five typified the ideal of chamber music as a humane conversation about essential things."

The Globe and Mail

"Anton Webern's Variations for Piano Op. 27 were hypnotic in their sharp precision and reflected music as pure as crystal. In the breathtaking playing of Hochman the musical material was brought to abstract wholeness."


"Benjamin Hochman, making his PSO debut, displayed the sort of Mozartean touch and clean tone that you can't teach. The Israeli pianist played with attention to line, patience in phrasing (especially in cadenzas) and some of the best trills I have heard. One sublime passage in the first movement had Hochman echoing himself exquisitely, and he switched intuitively from melancholy to upbeat in that temperamental middle movement."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Festivals should be places of discovery. I heard my first recital by the young Israeli Benjamin Hochman, a pianist whose Beethoven and Brahms announced a maturity beyond his years.”

The Toronto Star

"It felt as if Hochman was revealing a secret about a piece so well known … now that's magic.”

The Day, Connecticut

"This pianist has an ability to make the piano sing… Hochman is so adept at the introspective style of late Brahms, that one just wants to weep."

Free Times

"After hearing Benjamin Hochman perform the Ravel, it should be obvious to anyone in the audience that all of us heard a world-class pianist.”

Opus Colorado
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