Concert Reviews – Alice Sara Ott with Philharmonia Orchestra

ASO Concert Reviews, News

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no.1 in B flat minor
Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor
4* concert review
Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack

“Alice Sara Ott’s startling performance with the Philharmonia, a barnstorming rendition which gripped from first note until last.”

“From the very start, Ott gave an open-hearted response to the score, taking a gleeful gulp of air before diving into the emphatic opening chords. Like a mermaid, in silvery sequinned gown, she plunged to the piano’s bass depths, sometimes splaying out her right foot for balance. It was no holds barred stuff, Ott leaning into the keyboard with such vigour that she often launched herself clean off the piano stool. At one point, she even had to swoop beneath the piano to tighten one of the castors. The first movement cadenza had an improvisatory feel, pouncing forward on the final note, almost bringing her nose to nose with the conductor. The finale was both playful and provocative.”

“A knockout performance.”


David Truslove, Classical Source

“the Tchaikovsky was given an electrifying outing by Alice Sara Ott”

“From the Concerto’s bravura opening to the exhilarating close Ott was on peak form, bringing authority and devastating accuracy to what Nikolai Rubinstein deemed “unplayable”. Characteristically barefoot, the demure-looking and slender Ott morphed into a tigress, hands leaping over the keyboard fearlessly pounding octaves with unflagging energy. Twice she dived beneath the piano to tighten an unsecured castor, but that and the remains of a chesty cold didn’t faze her.
This was one of those freshly-minted accounts that could open the ears of the most jaded listener. It didn’t rely on dazzling pyrotechnics to impress, although impress they did. It was more Ott’s involvement with the piece and a deep-seated musicality that brought something special to the first-movement cadenza, embracing fire and brimstone and the most delicate pearls of expression. The Andantino was lovingly shaped by all parties, beguilingly set in motion by Samuel Coles’s flute. Ott drew out the music’s playfulness and had the measure of the Finale, playing with assurance and vigour.”


Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International

“she brought illumination at each turn to the score”

“The freshness of Ott’s reading was a continual delight.”

“Ott seemed genuinely to be enjoying herself here, and it showed.”


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