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Pouliot “surged onstage in rock star pants, presenting Brahms as a composer of great passion…compellingly—indeed, irresistibly—done.”

Dallas Morning News

“Pouliot’s virtuosity went from moments of great power and brawn to stratospheric notes so delicate they sounded like they could fall from the high-wire at any moment.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer

“One of those special talents that comes along once in a lifetime.”

Toronto Star

“Pouliot cuts a striking figure, and, with his light purple jacket and bad boy haircut, he ­reminded this listener of the British superstar violinist Nigel Kennedy in his younger days. Nor was the comparison too far-fetched musically, for here is clearly a young ­violinist of great promise, producing not only a lovely, mellow violin tone in the more contemplative first two movements, but also an exemplary sense of pacing and colour in, for example, the end of the second movement. Here was sentiment, not ­sentimentality, just what the concerto needs to avoid sounding too mawkish.”

Edmonton Classical News

“Pouliot joined the orchestra for a consuming rendition of Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy” for violin and orchestra. He played with a completely captivating mix of musical fervor, some blindingly fast technical passages, simply stated traditional folk tunes, and a completely disarming grin that popped up in the middle of musical pyrotechnics.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Pouliot puts the listener at ease and makes them receptive to what he has to say, ­executing the concerto with a superb sound and well-placed sweetness. Passing from admirable to overwhelming, there is even a little something in my ears that I can hardly define, a kind of brilliance, with sharp harmonics, and a singing strength in the upper register to equal that of the lower. ”

Le Devoir

“The disconcerting ease he has in articulating sentences, the richness of his sonority, the voluptuousness of his playing in all tempos and the coefficients of difficulty, these are all qualities that place him ahead in the world, elite among performers of all ages.”

La Presse

“His playing throughout was immaculate, at once refined and impassioned and characterized by the full use of his bow. Unreserved, he played the violin lovingly and with technical precision. Pouliot is also visually expressive in a distinctive way. When not playing it’s apparent that he’s listening, looking at the orchestra and responding almost as if he’s hearing their part for the first time. The audience, though well-versed in concert etiquette, still couldn’t help but to applaud between movements.”

Arts ATL

“He also displayed a gorgeous high register, ringing notes that resonated beautifully in Overture Hall…The highlight of the evening may have been the second movement of the concerto. Stylistically, this movement resembles Mendelssohn’s well-known “Songs Without Words.” Pouliot tastefully rendered the songful tune and kept the audience hanging on every last note — pure gorgeousness.”

The Capital Times

“Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy uses melodies from Scotland as its basis in four movements. Essentially a violin concerto, it featured guest soloist Blake Pouliot, a young Canadian. Pouliot’s violin cast a sweet, lean, silky sound. He seemed effortless in his graceful playing, even in the virtuoso sections of the jolly final movement. Pouliot’s extroverted personality came forth in that movement, showing the pure joy of music making. I couldn’t help but smile in pleasure listening to him.”

Shepherd Express

Described as “immaculate, at once refined and impassioned,” (ArtsAtlanta) violinist Blake Pouliot (pool-YACHT) has anchored himself among the ranks of classical phenoms. A tenacious young artist with a passion that enraptures his audience in every performance, Pouliot has established himself as “one of those special talents that comes along once in a lifetime” (Toronto Star).

Blake Pouliot’s 2023/24 symphonic highlights include Shostakovich 1, Bruch 1, Tchaikovsky, Korngold and Sibelius concerti across the US and Canada with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal with Roderick Cox, Artis-Naples and NAC Ottawa with Alexander Shelley, and Quebec City Symphony with Clemens Schuldt, among others.

In Europe this season, Pouliot makes his Spanish debut with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Spain at the Teatro Monumental in Madrid, performing the Tchaikovsky concerto with Rossen Milanov alongside which Pouliot will also play-direct Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons in a separate chamber program.

During his time as Soloist-in-Residence of Orchestre Métropolitain in 2020/21, Pouliot and Yannick Nézet-Séguin performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 and Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons which led to Pouliot’s 2022 debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center, performing John Corigliano’s The Red Violin (Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra) with Nézet-Séguin. Highlights elsewhere include Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal in 2022/23, with Angela Hewitt and Bryan Cheng, as well as performances of the Paganini, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns concerti and Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy in subscription series across North America.

As a chamber musician, Pouliot returns this season to NAC Chamber Festival, Aspen Music Festival, and La Jolla Summerfest where he performed the festival-opening concert last year with conductor Alan Gilbert, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada for his third consecutive year as Artist-in Residence. He will also make his chamber debut with Festival Napa Valley at the San Francisco Conservatory. Previous recitals include Koerner Hall in Toronto, Seattle Chamber Music Society, and the world premiere of Derrick Skye’s God of the Gaps for violin and electronics at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Pouliot released his debut album of 20th century French music on Analekta Records in 2019. Featuring Ravel’s Tzigane and Violin Sonata in G, Debussy’s Violin Sonata in G minor and Beau Soir, the recording received critical acclaim including a five-star rating from BBC Music Magazine and a 2019 Juno Award nomination for Best Classical Album.

Since his orchestral debut at age 11, Pouliot has performed with the orchestras of Aspen, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, Madison, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, and Seattle, among many others. Internationally, he has performed as soloist with the Sofia Philharmonic in Bulgaria, Orchestras of the Americas on its South American tour, and was the featured soloist for the first ever joint tour of the European Union Youth Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Canada. He has collaborated with many musical luminaries including conductors Sir Neville Marriner, David Afkham, Pablo Heras-Casado, David Danzmayr, JoAnn Falletta, Marcelo Lehninger, Nicholas McGegan, Alexander Prior, Vasily Petrenko and Thomas Søndergård.

Pouliot has been featured twice on Rob Kapilow’s What Makes it Great? series and has been NPR’s Performance Today Artist-in-Residence in Minnesota (2017/18), Hawaii (2018/19), and across Europe (2021/22). Prior to that, he won the Grand Prize at the 2016 Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal Manulife Competition and was named First Laureate of both the 2018 and 2015 Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.

Pouliot performs on the 1729 Guarneri del Gesù on generous loan from an anonymous donor.

OCTOBER 2023