"The overlap between competition winners and important artists is slender at best, but sometimes a musician does fall into both camps. Such is the case with violinist Frank Huang, the winner of the 2003 Naumberg International Competition, who made a stunning debut in Herbst Theatre Monday night under the auspices of San Francisco Performances.
A boyish-looking 25-year-old out of Houston, Huang boasts an astonishing collection of technical and interpretive skills -- if there's anything he can't do with a violin, he cleverly kept it off Monday's program...Just as striking is Huang's command of phrasing and melody...And on top of all that, he has technical chops that are truly fearsome. No flurry of virtuoso writing, no rhythmic complications or multiple stops seemed to hold any terrors for him."
"Huang made everything he played seem easy without leaving a note to chance. Evidence of his technical skill came at every turn: the breathtaking blend of trills and inner voices in the Tartini, the magisterial command of the Martino sonata's multilayered drama and wide emotional range, the soaring spiritual beauty in Schubert's exquisite variations on his own song, "Sei Mir Gegrusst." In the end, what impressed most was Huang's total grasp of each musical idiom he addressed and his ability to communicate such a variety of styles with force and immediacy. A debut recital of this quality used to be an automatic passport to a major career. I wonder if it still works that way.
"On this CD, the prize-winning young American violinist Frank Huang plays varied examples of the genre, and plays them all very well...a CD which presents fine examples of the multi-faceted fantasy genre, excellently played."
"Naxos' series by laureates of musical competitions around the world has produced some interesting recitals - none better thought out than this one... Mr. Huang plays all this music with impeccable intonation and a lovely tone... But he and accompanist Dina Vainstein are welcome discoveries."
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