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“These [titles in Symphonic Poem CD] are in the nature of showpieces for Cheung’s artistry, to be sure, but they’re beautifully done, and they attain the elusive quality of making the sounds of the instrument into a discrete world of their own. …”

James Manheim, All Music Guide

“Bach as you’ve never heard it … [Mr. Cheung] surmounts the contrapuntal hurdles and offers a stylish, deeply expressive interpretation [of the Goldberg Variations] notable for its clear voicing, eloquent phrasing and wide range of color and dynamics …”

The New York Times

“… Mr. Cheung’s performance of his own arrangements [of the Bach’s Goldberg Variations] was expressive, sensitive and unpretentious, and left the listeners with the feeling of comfort. The artist created perfect legato by carefully matching the reverberation and decay from one note to the next.””… the Etudes are engaing and communicated with authority. The piece caused a roar of applause and will certainly constitute a precious addition to the standard marimba repertoire.”

New York Concert Review

“Tuneful, neo-Romantic yet technically difficult, these pieces not only showcased Mr. Cheung’s mastery of his instrument but also demonstrated his considerable skill and promise as a composer in his own right – one who writes the kind of music people will want to hear.”

The Washington Times

“Absolutely incredible! Considering the complete Goldberg Variations include a theme (Aria), 30 variations and a concluding Aria, with a total performance time of about 53 minutes, the sheer volume of notes is a major feat in itself. Those thousands of notes in a classic harmonic setting are performed with amazing accuracy by young marimbist Pius Cheung.””One could spend pages discussing the appropriateness of transcriptions from the Baroque period, but there would be general agreement that there is some relation between the marimba, with its struck bars of wood, and the clavier or harpsichord, with strings that are plucked or struck.”

“Cheung adds a tasty amount of musical nuances that Bach would have likely approved of had he heard today’s modern marimba. The richness of tone of the instrument is clear on the recording and the bass line is especially warm and secure. It should be noted that the 30 variations are not motivic variations but based on the bass line and harmonic structure of the opening Aria. This performance brings out the bass line is a subtle but effective way that perhaps the clavier could not. Only a few adjustments were made from the original music and those are limited to taking some of the lower bass notes that were out of the marimba’s range up an octave and editing some of the ornamentations. Variation 28 is an exception with a number of adjustments from the original.”

F. Michael Combs
Percussive Notes
Publication of Percussive Arts Society

“In my opinion, Pius Cheung is a remarkably gifted and accomplished young artist. I always enjoy listening to his elegant and virtuosic music-making.”

Gary Graffman
World-renowned Pianist

“The music of Bach seems to adapt well to a greater variety of instruments and styles of interpretation than that of any other classical composer. His masterpiece of the simple theme and 30 variations known as the Goldbergs has been transcribed for pipe organ, sax quartet, cello quartet, string quartet, synthesizers, you name it. The concert marimba is an excellent instrument for the performance of Bach transcriptions and this is not the first work of the master to be adapted for it. Yet adaptation is incredibly difficult due to the physical layout of the instrument, the use of the mallets, and the limited range compared to the piano or harpsichord.””The marimba virtuoso in this recording feels that the music of Bach doesn’t belong on any one real instrument – that it is so “pure” that it goes beyond any real instruments. That is certainly supported by the failure of Bach (and other composers of the period too) to specify exactly what instrument or instruments a particular work was written for. Cheung says further ‘In music that is so perfect formally, rhythmically, contrapuntally, and harmonically, I feel it will always be able to shine in different tone colors, dynamics, tempi, articulations, and phrasings.'”

“I recall the first time I heard the Goldbergs performed by a saxophone quartet. It was a revelation, and this marimba version is as well. The different voices are brought out more strongly and the clarity of the percussion instrument drives home the various melodic lines with more emphasis than on a piano or harpsichord keyboard. The micing picks up all the details but is not so close as to over-stress the percussive hits of the bars. An excellent alternative to the usual keyboard version of this Bach masterpiece. As Charles Ives would have said, ‘A real ear-stretcher.'”

John Sunier
Audiophile Audition

“Pius, Your Bach CD is brilliant. It’s so warm and musical, and truly engaging. I would think this is a recording that would do well in the world …. lots of folks would like to put it on and listen, both actively and in the background. Your playing is extremely sensitive and appropriate for Bach. Congratulations on such a wonderful disc.”

Jennifer Higdon
World-renowned Composer

“Pius Cheung is an extremely gifted, expressive artist: a musician who plays, of all things, the marimba! He applies his unique, virtuosic style to a largely romantic repertoire all his own. In his early 20s, he already possesses enormous vision and is well on the path to taking the possibilities for the marimba to a new level.”

Nancy Zeltsman

“I heard the marimba recital that Pius gave in the ZMF, and I was amazed by his mastery of the instrument and music he played. The smooth and musical tones reminded me of the sound of an organ in the wonderful acoustics, and what he played seemed virtually impossible by one person. I think we have discovered the Chopin of the marimba. I wish Pius all the best changes in the future, so that he can continue to amaze his audience with his musicality.”

Prof. Peter Prommel
Timpani and Percussion & International Relations Coördinator
Hochschule für Musik Detmold

“Pius Cheung has burst on the scene as the neo-romantic marimba virtuoso.”

Canadian Music Center

“Pius Cheung’s marimba playing is brilliant and spellbinding. His intensity as a musician is riveting. His music is hauntingly romantic and emotionally rich — very satisfying to listen to.”

Don Liuzzi
Principal Timpanist, Philadelphia Orchestra

“As one of today’s leading marimba artists, Pius Cheung has taken the marimba to a more profound level of expression. His virtuosity is only overshadowed by his beautiful musicality.”

Victor Mendoza
Yamaha Artist
Professor, Berklee College of Music

“Pius Cheung’s depth of musical knowledge melded with his brilliant intuitive instincts puts him in that supersonic rarefied stratosphere of consummate artists. Mr. Cheung’s marimba concerto is fine work which showcases his talents as a fine composer as well as marimbist extrodinaire.” “Mr. Cheung’s arrangements of Arnold Schoenberg’s “Five Pieces for Piano” is but the tip of the iceberg of this gentle man’s gifts.”

Michael Udow
Principal Percussionist: The Santa Fe Opera
Professor of Percussion: University of Michigan

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