Jory Vinikour, harpsichordist, conductor

Acclaim

The Complete Harpsichord Works of Rameau
2012 Grammy Nomination for Best Classical Instrumental Solo

~ “... Vinikour is such a perceptive artist, and is so superlative in technical accomplishment, that Rameau’s harpsichord brainstorms sound disarming and at times even revolutionary.
   “Vinikour’s performances are so buoyant, glistening or noble that you’ll likely find yourself glued to your speakers (or headphones). And if you’re accustomed to hearing the harpsichord at some distance in a concert hall, be prepared to listen as if you’re standing next to the keyboard or hovering over the strings.”
   – Gramophone, October 2012

~ “... listening to the energetic, eloquent playing of Jory Vinikour on these discs provides countless insights into the artistry of Jean-Philippe Rameau.”
   “... rather than applying emotional contexts to the music externally, Mr. Vinikour finds in each piece its own individual colors and allows them to glow through his playing.”
   “Playing with elegance and an innate sense of phrasing that allows lyric inventions to shine through the natural flow of the music, Mr. Vinikour achieves the distinction of offering playing that is genuinely moving. Gifted with access to an instrument capable of musical magic when united with the hands of a master, Jory Vinikour proves anew in the harpsichord music of Rameau that he is a master of both the practice and the poetry of music-making.”
   – Voix des Arts, 5 October 2012
[ read full review ]


Rinaldo, Lyric Opera of Chicago

~ “When were you last at an opera where a harpsichord soloist got a standing ovation? Perhaps the genius performer, Chicago-born, Paris-based Jory Vinikour, gets this all the time. It was new to me and delightful.”
   – Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times, 1 March 2012 [full review]

~ “The music has a virtuosic harpsichord part, played brilliantly by Jory Vinikour. Onstage a dancer pretends to play the gargantuan harpsichord. The real battle is between Ms. van den Heever, who sends chilling phrases flying, and Mr. Vinikour, in the pit. He wins. A diva put in her place by a harpsichordist! Chalk one up for the period-instrument movement.”
   – Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, 1 March 2012 [full review]


In recital at Yale Collection of Musical Instruments

~ “Dazzling. Sensual. Penetrating. ... Not all modern performers on the harpsichord can employ the instrument’s powerful range of expressive techniques. Jory Vinikour, however, wowed audiences with spectacular displays of virtuosity and subtle dramatic expression ...”
   – Bachtrack, October 2011 [full review]


JS Bach: Flute Sonatas, with Joshua Smith, flute, and Jory Vinikour, harpsichord

~ “Nothing is shirked, no challenge is met with anything other than absolute mastery, and yet the music-making is of such quality that there is no sense of effort. For artists who enjoy the levels of virtuosity attained by Mr. Smith and Mr. Vinikour, the supreme difficulties of the music are in its interpretation. Nevertheless, this appearance of ease should not distract from the incredible feats of technical execution that fill this recording.”
   – Voix des Arts, 27 October 2009

~ “These duo sonatas and the Partita for solo flute are given exemplary (and hugely enjoyable) performance by Joshua Smith and Jory Vinikour. ... This is music-making of the highest order by virtuosos who use all their abilities to convey the beauty and sheer joy of this music. This is a fabulous recording. Run, don't walk, to get a copy.”
   – Pan, The Flute Magazine, December 2009

~ “... flawlessly presented by Joshua Smith on the flute and Jory Vinikour on the harpsichord. ... This amply awarded and decorated duet seems a hand and glove arrangement, and I hope we’ll hear more from them, they are so comfortable within the Baroque structures. Relaxed, they capture the architecture of the music in its time and place with the kind of flair and delight Bach himself would have enjoyed ...”
   – Fanfare, 4 March 2010

~ “... at 66 minutes total playing time for the CD, we almost get too much of a good thing. Then, in comes the splendid harpsichordist, Jory Vinikour to the timbral rescue. He and Smith share the glories equally in the four Sonatas. The give and take suggests lots of wonderful music making together.”
   – Audiophilia, 17 November 2009

~ “It’s very fine playing and a sign of how far the HIP movement’s come: instruments and technique used to illuminate the music, rather than poor old Bach being assaulted by the latest flute fashion and performers’ ego (on the one hand) or rendered ‘musically correct’ by dry-as-dust HIP scholars (on the other).” (HIP=“historically-informed performance”)
   – Brightcecilia Classical Music Forum, December 2009

~ “There is a special joy to be found when two equals engage in a complementary endeavor such as this one. They chase each other up and down the scales and in and around the complicated melodies in such a way that you’ll want to participate, too. They make it sound SO easy, but of course, it’s entirely the opposite.”
— Cool Cleveland, January 6, 2010


Bach Flute Sonatas with Continuo & Musical Offering Trio Sonata with Joshua Smith, flute; Jory Vinikour, harpsichord; Ann Marie Morgan, baroque cello; Allison Guest Edberg, baroque violin

~ “The second disc, a splendid extension of the first ... is obviously the result of musicians bonding -- clearly revealed in the music making, but photographically represented by the collage of fingers that forms the background for the CD label and the inside of its jewel case. ... The playing is uniformly and predictably flawless.”
   – ClevelandClassical.com

~ “Flautist Joshua Smith and the other performers in a new recording of Bach’s flute music are representative of the skill of modern players on old instruments: they imbue the works with warmth and color entirely suitable for the time in which Bach wrote the music, without unnecessary Romantic-era flourishes and without turning the pieces into display vehicles for Smith or anyone else. This is cooperative music-making at its finest ...”
   – InfoDad.com

~ “... the performances are doubly persuasive, elegant and academically informed, revealing both the music's surface beauty and its textural intricacy.”
   – Cleveland Plain Dealer


Performance reviews

~ “Mr. Vinikour’s performing presence was one of intense concentration. No weaving or bobbing to the music, his body was in quiet repose while his fingers did the work with utmost efficiency. The result was a performance of almost religious grandeur.
   “... Mr. Vinikour’s playing was not flashy but was characterized by subtlety and refinement. His tempos were on the slow side; in the repeats he often added sensitive additional ornamentation. The rhythmic pulse was rock solid, but flexibly adapting to the music, stretching and contracting to the musical sense of the moment.”
   – ClevelandClassical.com, April 19, 2011

~ “Playing the ‘Goldberg’ is a task of Herculean proportions for harpsichordists – and, often, pianists – audacious enough to take the plunge. ... At [Baldwin-Wallace College Bach Festival], Vinikour stated the opening aria with subtle patience, giving the stately phrases ample space to sing. He proceeded to characterize each variation through flexible tempos, sensitive use of registration and nimble negotiation of the tricky cross-hand figurations.”
   – Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 17, 2011

~ “Jory Vinikour ... cues musicians and telegraphs rhythms with the slightest of gestures while busy at the harpsichord. Let’s call it leading by example.
   “A Baroque specialist to the manner born, Vinikour’s confident bonhomie and effortless virtuosity were on fine display February 17 at the downtown Colburn School’s Zipper Hall, latest in a series from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Equally at ease facing an audience as his musicians or harpsichord, Vinikour’s introductory remarks and closing Q & A were also engaging and informative.”
   – LA Opus, March 9, 2011

~ “Mr. Vinikour is among the sadly few truly exceptional artists whose work I have encountered during my thirty-one years, and I feel emphatically that any individuals who have heard Mr. Vinikour’s playing will agree that the brilliance of his musicality and the quality of his contributions to the contemporary ‘early music’ environment fully justify the prominence his performances receive on [the Voix des Arts] site.”
   – Voix des Arts, 02 March 2009

~ “In addition to complementing Mr. (Joshua) Smith with accompaniment of equal elegance and sensitivity, Mr. Vinikour offered as evidence of his incredible skills in performances of Händel’s G-major Chaconne, Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A minor, and three pieces by Jacques Duphly. In all of these pieces, there was never the sense of hearing ‘old’ music composed for an antiquated instrument. Mr. Vinikour’s greatest accomplishment, in my opinion, is his ability to unite his seemingly insurmountable technique with an inner feeling for the emotional impact of the music he plays that belies the somewhat impersonal response of the harpsichord. Few artists cause an audience to reassess its collective understanding of an instrument, but Mr. Vinikour achieves this for the harpsichord with his playing, historically-informed but heart-inspired.”
   – Voix des Arts, 15 December 2008

~ “Two bona-fide Baroque virtuosos, Soprano Céline Ricci and Harpsichordist-Conductor Jory Vinikour, joined [Musica Angelica] in a program titled “Virtuoso Tapestry” ... Bach’s Concerto in d minor, MWV 1052, providing the main vehicle for harpsichord soloist Vinikour, who also conducted. ... he’s a digital dazzler fully on par with Ricci’s vocal wizardry. Vinikour’s Bach was suave and propulsive, with a particularly pleasing delivery of the aria-like Adagio.
   “Throughout the concert, Vinikour, as conductor, led the crack Musical Angelica band with efficiency, charm and verve, infusing his duties with an optimistic bonhomie fully in sync with the extroverted nature of the High Baroque era at its most self-assured.”
   – Rodney Punt, The Martini Republic, 1 May 2007

~ “... soprano Celine Ricci ... found a sympathetic partner in the conductor/virtuoso harpsichordist Jory Vinikour in a well-chosen program of bravura Handel arias ... No clash of Titans here, just two fine musicians relishing each other’s company and making delightful music together.
   “After the intermission, it was Mr. Vinikour’s turn to show off at the harpsichord. The d-minor concerto by J.S. Bach, with its extended cadenza in the first Allegro, served this purpose admirably. In the beautifully-controlled Adagio, the harpsichord produced the illusion of the singing human voice – easy to do on the modern piano, but nearly impossible on the harpsichord. It was a breathtaking feat.”
   – Classical Voice, 28 April 2007

~ “Harpsichordist Jory Vinikour took his spellbound listeners on a 90-minute journey through the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations Sunday afternoon at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Playing from memory, he conscientiously observed all repeats. The performer's intense focus helped draw the good-sized crowd into the musical experience. The accomplished harpsichordist brought the sublime music to life with integrity and skill.”
   – Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 2001

~ “Without doubt, one of the most promising figures of the new generation of harpsichordists.”
   – El Nuevo Siglo (Columbia), March 1995

~ “...immaculate virtuosity, an authentic poet of the harpsichord.”
   – Denni Republik (Czech Republic), May 1995

~ “...impressively fluent...performed with vigour and imagination, the evening's main event was Vinikour's account of Handel's Suite in d minor. This was powerful music eloquently played. As an encore, we heard a brace of Scarlatti sonatas, K. 420/1, these being, if anything, even more brilliant.”
   – Hampstead and Highgate Express (UK), July 1995

~ “...the recital given by Jory Vinikour amazed all those impassioned by that remarkable instrument, the harpsichord. The virtuosity with which he played the Suite in a minor of Rameau triggered thunderous applause. He deserved the enthusiastic audience's ovations.”
   – L'Est Republicain (France), April, 1991

~ “Harpsichordist Jory Vinikour enthused the public with his effortless virtuosity and artistic intensity. Whether in dialogue with the orchestra or in the extended solo cadenza, Vinikour’s presence and artistic superiority showed always, and was rewarded by much sincere applause.”
   – Leipziger Allmanach (Germany), January 2003

~ “...(Poulenc's Concert Champêtre) was subtly played by soloist Jory Vinikour. Even the restless audience was silent.”
   – Rotterdam Tagblad, (Netherlands), December 1995

~ “The undisputed winner, Jory Vinikour, brilliant virtuoso, gave a performance of Soler's b minor sonata of exceptional bravura, replete with double-trills.”
   – Ruch Muzycny (Poland), May 1993

~ “If listening to the harpsichord is almost an art in itself, Vinikour's playing makes the effort richly rewarding. Vinikour infuses his work with personality and confidence. '(Vinikour) makes a concert an experience, in the very best sense of the word,' says Igor Kipnis.”
   – Christian Science Monitor, December 1994

~ “...one of the finest harpsichordists around today. A big musician and a mature artist.”
   – Indianapolis Star, October 1996


Goldberg Variations CD

~ “This is an exceptional Goldberg Variations... Few harpsichord recordings sound this good. More important, perhaps, Vinikour’s is a joyously spirited performance. Vinikour’s graceful lyricism, his light-fingered speed, as in the lightly dancing fifth variation, and his occasional nobility, as in the elegant 16th variation, reveal a musician who is tasteful as well as nimble, and idiomatic as well as scholarly.”
   – Fanfare, January 2002

~ “With a plethora of available recordings of J. S. Bach’s (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations, some of near legendary status, one approaches yet another addition to the discography of this masterwork with trepidation. In few other instances does the weight of a recorded legacy make the challenge of offering a fresh, individual voice (and of overcoming the danger of being deemed inconsequential) so daunting. All the more reason then to admire Jory Vinikour’s magisterial new account, which convincingly dispels the listener’s fears that this is ”just another” version. By turns ruminative, lyrical, brilliant, and regal, this new CD warrants the following recommendation : even if you already own several outstanding recordings of the Goldberg Variations, do not fail to check out this one.”
   – Early Music America, Fall 2001

~ “This is stylish playing, executed with a sensitive and easy touch, and there's none of that tell-tale thud of the key that bedevils readings by those less adequately technically equipped.”
   – BBC Magazine, February 2002

~ “The thought of yet another version of this keyboard masterpiece joining the nearly 50 others in the record catalog doesn't exactly quicken the pulse. But the Chicago-born Vinikour, who is pursuing a busy performance career in Europe, puts a distinctive stamp on his set. With every repeat observed, his version combines thoughtful scholarship and imaginative vitality, making the variations a fresh listening experience.”
   – Chicago Tribune: Top Ten Classical CD’s, December 2001

~ “His reading of Bach’s Goldberg variations is quite unique, in a discography where every harpsichordist worth his or her salt has ”done” the Goldbergs. ...Vinikour gives perhaps the most emotional performance of this variation (no. 25) available for harpsichord. The combination of the fluid phrasing and crisp sound of his harpsichord is unforgettable. This is a brilliant, lively recording of the Goldberg Variations, by a young harpsichordist who will certainly make a name for himself as a soloist in the years to come. Vinikour’s energy is quite exciting, and this is one of the most interesting harpsichord recordings of this work available.”
   – Classical Music on the Web, January 2002

~ “Jory Vinikour, an American harpsichordist based in Paris, makes his debut on Delos International with an invigorating performance of the Goldberg Variations. Vinikour makes the journey through the varied variations with the spirit of an explorer coming upon surprise after surprise. His artistry is vibrant, flexible, clear and keenly attuned to the musical demands. Vinikour’s performance maintains the momentum no matter where Bach’s lines may be headed or how many voices are active at once.”
   – Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 2001



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