“ Pillai does an excellent job and his remarkably sweet tone remains so in the face of every obstacle. His handling of the solo part is clearly articulated, almost spoken, with none of the all purpose phrasing one often hears in this repertoire.”
“ Violist, Ashan Pillai performs with remarkable élan.His ability to translate the harp's astonishing range of special effects into articulated string playing is particularly noteworthy ”
“ Exquisitely played with radiant viola tone ”
“ The Fantasy Sonata amply demonstrates the high caliber of playing in mobius – Ashan Pillai's viola is warm of tone and evocatively handled ”
" Pillai began with Kodaly's astonishing Viola transcription of Bach's Chromatic Fantasy played with Bravura and emotional intensity... glorious viola tone "
" An impassioned rendering....splendidly partnered by violist Ashan Pillai "
" He pushes the limits of expression in this work and medium "
" A sound of contralto beauty.....a fine impression "
"Pillai began with Kodaly´s astonishing Viola transcription of Bach´s Chromatic Fantasy played with a combination of bravura and emotional intensity which drew a truly justified response from the audience..glorious viola tone"
" They do well to probe so deeply into this elusive, oblique musi "
" A fresh, young, brilliant professional "
" A player to watch for... "
" A radiant display of youthful talent... he played with minute control and imaginative projection "
" Handsome tone... beautiful,eloquent playing "
" Most composers are Most composers are lucky if their rrorks receive a handfrrl of recordings. Thanks to Naxos, the music of Leonardo Balada is more than generously preserved, from chamber pieces to operas. The focus on the newest disc of Balada creations is music for winds, brass and percussion, with concenos for piano, cello and viola prominendy featured - and experdy played by the Carnegie Mellon 141nd Ensemble. @alada has been a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh since 1970.) The repertoire represents the Spanish-born American composer in many phases of his career, from electronic and avant-garde sources to neo-classicd inclinations. The elecrronic element is a subde inspkation in Cumbres ('Heights'), a l97l 'Shon Smphony for Band'in which clusters play a large role. Balada has a gift for instrumental layering and chatter, and he takes the players to extremes of range and dynamics with almost gidd;r modernist delight. He is in a playful mood in the Concerto for piano, winds and percussion (1973), whose soloist - here the crisp, expressive Enrique GraF- enters into animated and Chopin-like dreamv conversation with his colleagues. The earliestwork, the Concerto for cello and nine plavers (!962, rev 1967), embraces the solo instrument's profound character while also taking into account its nimble possibilities. Four decades later, the Viola Concerto (2009-10) places soloist and ensemble in a cavalcade of vibrant interactions. David Premo and Ashan Pillai, respectively, do the solo honours in these work.
" The Kalliwoda is a treasure and Pillai's performance exemplary"
“ Everything breathes naturally…. What gorgeous, rich tone colours violist Ashan pillai creates”
" A young virtuoso of high calibre "
" You cannot fault the playing......a lot of style and assurance "
"The Violin Concerto is a much later work and here it receives its world premiere recording, with the challenging solo part brilliantly played by Ashan Pillai. All of this music is challenging for listeners as well as musicians, presented to perfection here. An important issue. Thank you once again, Naxos! © 2015 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review"
"The Spanish-American composer is fortunate to have a record label acting as an unstinting champion of his vast range of music from opera to solo piano works. However…this new release…concentrates on a particular part of Balada’s career when he encountered experimental electronic music in New York in the early 1960’s. I suppose his message was ‘anything you can do with synthesizers, I can do with conventional musical instruments’. The result, to say the least, is fascinating, as if robots had been given a living heart. Cumbres, written in 1971 for wind band, brings free flowing sounds interacting with chugging staccato chords that propel the music forward with considerable virtuosity. The mood continues in the Piano Concerto from 1973, the keyboard and orchestra, to quote the composer, ‘more often than not at odds’. The soloist is almost in perpetual motion, the element of electronic influence adding a thumping bass accompaniment, though the keyboard role, with its spiky brilliance, has its roots in early 20th century French music, and is ideal for the dexterity of the American pianist, Enrique Graf. The Cello Concerto, originally completed in 1962, is in a three-movement structure when the composer was closely associated with Stravinsky’s neo-classical period, the cello part, for much of the work, being part of the general texture. By the time of the Sonata in 1979, the electronic period had initiated Balada’s experiments in related sound textures, the only work from the present century coming with Ashan Pillai’s brilliant account of the short one-movement Viola concerto completed in 2010, by which time Balada had returned to a modern tonality. The remarkably gifted musicians from the Carnegie Mellon University play this extremely demanding music with total confidence and enviable commitment, the 2010–11 recordings being of excellent quality. © 2015 David’s Review Corner"
" Enfin, on decerneva une mention speciale a l´altiste Ashan Pillai, tout a fait exceptionnel"
" Il restitue cette musique avec gout "
“ Für die beiden beiden Bratschenkonzerte ist mit Ashan Pillai ein junger Virtuose gefunden worden, der sich durch Esprit und Klarheit auseichnet und der in den zwölf Etüden fur Solobratche überdies zeigen kann, was er technisch drauf hat”
" Pillais Instrumentalfuhrung die zauberhaften Piècen mit naturlicher Grazie an den Horer “
" Brilliant interpretations "
" Beautiful sound, phrasing and effortless technical command "
"El comienzo de la sonata Árpeggione es suficiente para comprender que todo habrá de escucharse con sobrada de calidad y matices multicolores. Suena Schubert en manos de aquellos capaces de tan emocionante declaración de principios"
"Ashan Pillai, treu la màxima expressivitat del seu instrument en aquesta sonata de Schubert".
"Pillai sabe sacar la máxima expresividad a un instrumento que se caracteriza por un sonido melancólico, femenino como suele decirse, vaporoso en los agudos y aterciopelado en las notas medias y bajas. Pillai evidencia una elevada capacidad interpretativa exhibiendo una técnica impecable que afloró a lo largo de todas las obras.”
“... la musicalidad de Pillai que mostró una dimensión elocuente del phraseo, poniendo verdadero color a la pieza”
“... i com a més destacable, a part de la belleza del particular mon de Sibelius , l'excellent aportacio del solista de viola, Ashan Pillai, una de les joies de l”OBC “
"Ashan Pillai, que va abocar amb transparència i bellesa colorísitica les suggestions descriptives de les dues obres (Harold en Itàlia i Don quixote)"
"Harold en Italia tuvo el intrépido viola Ashan Pillai, quien dio muestra sobrada de una excelente preparación y buen gusto interpretativo ... vivió la aventura las más veces como héroe en solitario"
"Un so preciós i homogeni i una particular elegancia posada ben relleu a la Sonata Arpeggione... Pillai va resoldre de forma esplèndida "
"...al intrépido viola, Ashan Pillai, quien dio muestra sobrada de una excelente preparación y buen gusto interpretativo"
"En este disco tocan con mucho refinamiento, destacando sobre todo la viola de Ashan Pillai en el trío y la Sonata Fantasía... una combinación deliciosa"
"Ashan Pillai poseyó la obra con autoridad... y la calidez rítmica de la viola adecuadísima al caso"