“One of those special talents that comes along once in a lifetime.”
Edmonton Classical News
“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.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“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.”
“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. ”
“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.”
“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.”
The Capital Times
“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.”
“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.”
Violinist Blake Pouliot has joined the upper echelons of brilliant soloists, establishing himself as a consummate 21st century artist with the rigor and passion to shine for a lifetime. At only 25-years-old the tenacious violinist has been praised by the Toronto Star as, “one of those special talents that comes along once in a lifetime.”
Highlights of the 2019-20 season include Pouliot’s debuts with the Atlanta, Asheville, Sarasota and Madison symphonies and a collaborative experience as the featured soloist for the first ever tour of the European Union Youth Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Canada.
The tremendously successful 2018-19 season included his debuts with the Detroit, Dallas, Milwaukee, San Francisco, and Seattle symphonies, dazzling audiences by “[surging] onstage in rock star pants…[presenting] Brahms as a composer of great passion. It was compellingly – indeed, irresistibly – done.” (The Dallas Morning News) In September, Pouliot’s debut album featuring the works of Ravel and Debussy was released (Analekta Records), earning a five-star rating from BBC Music Magazine and a 2019 Juno Award nomination for Best Classical Album. Adding to his accolades, Pouliot won both the Career Development Award from the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto and the Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Arts Council.
Pouliot has twice been featured on CBC’s “30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30”. He’s also hosted CBC’s This is my Music, was featured on Rob Kapilow’s What Makes it Great? series, and was NPR’s Performance Today Artist-in-Residence during the 2017-18 season in Minnesota.
As Grand Prize winner of the 2016 Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Manulife Competition, Pouliot toured across South America during the summer of 2017 as soloist with the YOA Orchestra of the Americas performing Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons with conductors Carlos Miguel Prieto and Paolo Bortolameolli. He later returned to Montreal where he was featured in recital at the Montreal Symphony’s La Virée Classique. A prolific recitalist and chamber musician, Pouliot has performed in Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, and Toronto, and performs at Pepperdine University, the Isabel Bader Center in Kingston, and the Ottawa Chamber Music series in the 2019-20 season.
Since his orchestral debut at age 11, Pouliot has regularly performed with the orchestras of Aspen, Calgary, Edmonton, Pacific, Toronto, Vancouver, and the National Arts Centre. Internationally, Pouliot has performed as soloist with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria, and Orchestras of the Americas on their South American tour. He has collaborated with musical luminaries such as conductors Sir Neville Marriner, David Afkham, Pablo Heras Casado, David Danzmyer, Nicolas McGegan, Brett Mitchell, Vasily Petrenko, Alexander Shelley, and Hugh Wolff.
Pouliot studied violin in Canada with Marie Berard and Erika Raum, and completed his training as an associate of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He graduated from the Colburn School Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Robert Lipsett, the Jascha Heifetz Distinguished Violin Chair.
Pouliot performs on the 1729 Guarneri del Gesù, on generous loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank as First Laureate of both their 2018 and 2015 Competition.