Hailed as a “heroic virtuoso,” and “a dazzling performer,” Mark Salman's performances have been described as “powerful,” “astonishing, exacting and evocative,” “dramatic,” “wildly imaginative” and “touchingly lyrical.” Of his performance of Beethoven's Hammerklavier sonata one authority stated, “there are probably only five or six pianists in the world who can play [it] as perfectly.”His performance of Liszt’s transcription of the Beethoven Seventh Symphony was named one of three “Performances of the Year” by the Seattle Weekly.
Evenings with Horowitz. Mr. Salman was a co-founder of the Delmarva Piano Festival in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, which ran for seventeen seasons. His performances have included his debut at the Newport Music Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, an eight recital series devoted to the works of Franz Liszt in Seattle, three recitals featuring Schubert’s final three sonatas, a complete cycle of Beethoven’s five piano concertos and Choral Fantasy with Orchestra Seattle, “A Chopin Celebration,” a series of three recitals celebrating the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth, and five recitals in honor of Liszt’s 200th birthday. Mr. Salman is regularly heard as a concerto soloist with northwest orchestras, including Orchestra Seattle, Auburn Symphony, Bellevue Philharmonic, Cascade Symphony, Federal Way Symphony, and the Northwest Sinfonietta. As a chamber musician, he appears regularly with Simple Measures. Mr. Salman is a Steinway artist. He is on the faculty of the Seattle Conservatory of Music.
Besides his wide-ranging repertoire, Mr. Salman is perhaps best known for his expertise on Beethoven, having performed the complete cycle of the thirty-two piano sonatas on both coasts as well as in 18 broadcasts on KING-FM in Seattle. In production is Beethoven and his 32 Piano Sonatas – A Musical Universe, a sixteen-part video series featuring Mr. Salman’s performances of the complete sonata cycle, hosted by the noted author and commentator, David Dubal. DVD volumes one and two have been released on the Great Composers label.
Schubert Late Sonatas, two all-Chopin CDs, including Chopin’s Intimate Art: The Mazurkas, Mozart’s Piano Concertos K. 488 and K. 503 with the Northwest Sinfonietta, the Transcendental Piano, featuring works by Alkan, Beethoven and Liszt, two DVDs in the series Beethoven and his 32 Piano Sonatas – A Musical Universe as well as American Interweave, featuring contemporary American works for cello and piano. Also available in limited release are the first four live performances from his 2004-2005 Liszt series and his Beethoven concerto performances with Orchestra Seattle.
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The Stranger (Seattle) (Chopin Recital Review): “… a dazzling performer… I was bowled over by how Salman conjured the grandiose–and aggrieved–pride in Chopin’s first ballade. And the two Op.10 Etudes he played were a knockout; I wanted more… the famed “Black Key” etude sparkled and sounded easy.”
Seattle Weekly: Performances of the Year: “… Mark Salman's performance of Liszt's thunder-and-lightning, all-but-unplayable transcription of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, chosen to close his eight concert traversal of Liszt's piano works. He roared through the finale sounding like he had, oh, six or seven hands with a dozen fingers each.”
The Herald, Everett,WA (Saint-Saëns Second Piano Concerto): “Salman's performance was marked by a real kinetic energy that was tremendously exciting. His notes seemed to fly out of the keyboard toward the orchestra, like a ball leaping off the bat.”
The Stranger (Seattle) (The Piano Music of Franz Liszt—from the Ulta-Romantic to the Avant-Garde): “I was nailed to my seat. Hunched over the piano, Salman is fearless and bold, pounding out fearsomely grandiose chords, yet in a trice, he's acutely aware of a suddenly emerging lyrical line and eloquently shapes notes with a supple pedaling most pianists would envy.”
Michael Potemra, Literary Editor, National Review ("Beethoven and His 32 Piano Sonatas—A Musical Universe" DVD): “Salman performs … with great vigor and sensitivity. Music lovers will revel in this video.”
Jed Distler, composer/pianist (“Beethoven and His 32 Piano Sonatas—A Musical Universe” DVD): “Leave it to the talented, ever-evolving Mark Salman to put a fresh spin on these oft-played works.”
Michael Musgrave, Emeritus Professor of Music, University of London (“Beethoven and his 32 Piano Sonatas—A Musical Universe” DVD): “ … First rate: technically masterly and the interpretations clearly conceived, so that the effect is spontaneous and the spirit of the music comes right through.”
Tacoma News–Tribune (Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1): “Astonishing … Exacting and evocative … .”
Changsha Wanbao, Changsha, China: (Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 plus encore): “[Mr. Salman] played with energy and enthusiasm … in the moonlight unearthly quiet and beautiful notes came out of his fingers and touched the audiences’ heart … .”
Seattle Post–Intelligencer (Beethoven Sonata Cycle): “Technically he has it all … Salman gave every note its due, however soft or tiny or thunderous. Each one was shaped, and he touched each with care, so that runs and arpeggios were strings of delight. Making use of the widest dynamics the piano has to offer, his loudest playing never sounded like banging, and his softest the barest whisper. Phrasing was also thoughtful, endings were exquisite, and he never lost his way in the overall structure, making it clear to the listener … At times his playing was gentle, charming, tender, delightful, at others raging or torrential … .”
Tacoma News–Tribune (Mozart Piano Concerto No. 25, K. 503): “ … One could only marvel at Salman's prodigious technique, spinning out notes and embellishments at a speed that would leave lesser pianists in the dust. Even more impressive, however, was Salman's evenness of touch and his ability to shape a phrase with exquisitely shaded dynamics … .“
Tacoma News–Tribune, Conductor Christophe Chagnard, interview: “I would make music with Mark [Salman] any day, anywhere … .”
Delaware Cape–Gazette: “ … consummate mastery of keyboard technique … wildly imaginative … dramatic, yet touchingly lyrical … .”
Tacoma News–Tribune: “ … The Piano Concerto No. 1 by Shostakovich closed the concert in a most impressive manner … a supercharged performance that left the audience breathless. It was hard to decide which was more impressive—the whirlwind opening and closing movements, or the introspective, gorgeously sculpted inner movements … .”
Seattle Post–Intelligencer (Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1): “ … Salman made the most of the challenges the composer provided for him. The work's inner lyricism was given a full, luxurious expression, the outward bravado lots of punch and energy … .”
American Record Guide (Transcendental Piano, CD): “ … a young artist gifted with a sensitive ear, a rich and fluid technique … Mr. Salman handles [the Alkan] with a wealth of lyricism … .”
Prodigy Classical Music Service: “ … Mr. Salman performed the last [Beethoven] sonata. He let the variations and fugue unfold with calm and bliss in the style of Rudolph Serkin. He kept me enraptured...”