Acclaim for Drew Petersen’s Debut Steinway Recording

Drew Petersen

"We begin with the headily Impressionistic Fantasy Pieces of Griffes, which are evocatively coloured, with Petersen particularly relishing the Slavic tinges of the third piece. From Ives’s Concord Sonata he excerpts the luscious third movement, ‘The Alcotts’. It’s played with palpable affection, and the way he references Ives’s appropriation of the ‘fate’ motif from Beethoven’s Fifth without overstating it is just one example of the subtlety of his musicianship."

"A really stunning, full-bodied sound makes this disc shine. Petersen showcases American piano works with superb technique and measured voicing. A very palatable selection." ****
BBC Music Magazine

"Fearless playing, with recordings to match; this pianist is destined for great things.”
Music Web International

“All too often, piano recital programs are predictable: they tend to focus on popular favorites (Chopin, Brahms, Bach, etc.) or on virtuosic display (Scriabin, Liszt, Bach, etc.), or both. This one, by the impressive young pianist Drew Petersen, does neither. Instead, it focuses on works by American composers–some of them more familiar (Charles Ives’ “Concord” sonata; Samuel Barber’s E-flat sonata) and some of them less so (Elliott Carter’s only piano sonata, played here with hardheaded brilliance, and the premiere recording of Judith Lang Zaimont’s Attars, in which she proves that “bracing” and “impressionistic” aren’t necessarily a contradiction in terms). Here the focus is on Americanness, and the kaleidoscopic manifestation of that quality across a diverse spectrum of compositional voices during the past century. As a pianist, Petersen is a wonder–but he keeps the focus on the pieces themselves, and in so doing makes a powerful argument for what might seem at first to be a rather idiosyncratic program.”
CD Hotlist

“Another disc from Steinway & Sons brings us piano music by American composers, including a living composer, Judith Lang Zaimont, born in 1945. For last year’s American Pianists Awards, she wrote a piece—a suite, really—called Attars. The competition was won by Drew Petersen. And he is the pianist on this new disc.

I went to a dictionary for a definition of “attar”: “a perfume or essential oil obtained from flowers or petals.” In her suite, Zaimont has five attars, or five movements, in any case: “Roses,” “Musk,” “Pink Lotus,” “Jasmine,” and “Frangipani” (what a wonderful name).

“Roses” is pleasantly sweeping, or nicely rippling. Perhaps the fragrance is moving through the air. This music strikes me as Debussyan. The next movement, “Musk,” is Debussyan too, and bluesy. How about “Frangipani”? A bold and delightful waltz, possibly tipsy.

I will say about Attars what I said about Préludes fragiles: they ought to be programmed (and this is especially true of the newer work).
The New Criterion

"This release marks the recording debut of Drew Peterson, a fast-rising American pianist still in the program at the Juilliard School. His all-American program, which he has performed live in whole or in part many times, is suited to the mission of the Steinway & Sons label, which has done well to sign him to its roster.”
All Music

“Drew Peterson’s playing is clean and crisp, avoiding the bathos some pianists have found in ‘The Alcotts’…Elliott Carter’s sonata is the surprise joy of this recital…Peterson not only fills the sonata with warmth but glides through the fugue as if it were child’s play, capturing the almost Bernstein-like rhythms that were in the New York air in 1945.”