“One of those special talents that comes along once in a lifetime.”
“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. ”
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
One of Canada’s most promising young artists, twenty-five-year-old violinist Blake Pouliot has been described by the Toronto Star as, “one of those special talents that comes along once in a lifetime.”
Mr. Pouliot’s debut album featuring the works of Ravel and Debussy was nominated for a 2019 Juno for Best Classical Album after being released in 2018 on Analekta Records. Upcoming and recent career highlights include return engagements with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Toronto and Montreal Symphonies, and debuts with San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Milwaukee, Vancouver, Detroit and Atlanta Symphonies.
As Grand Prize winner of the 2016 Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Manulife Competition, Mr. 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 Viree Classique series.
Since his debut with the Toronto Trinity Chamber Orchestra at age 11, Mr. Pouliot has performed as soloist with the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Ottawa Symphony, Pacific Symphony, the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria and the Colburn Orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall; and with conductors Sir Neville Marriner, Nicolas McGegan, Tito Muñoz, Carl St. Clair, Alain Trudel, David Afkham, Vasily Petrenko, Alexander Shelley, David Danzmyer and Hugh Wolff. Mr. Pouliot has performed in recital in Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto, and was featured on Rob Kapilow’s What Makes it Great? series with Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.
In 2018 Pouliot won both the Career Development Award from the Women’s Club of Toronto and the Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Arts Council. In 2013 he received the Canada Council for the Arts’ Michael Measure Prize, which gave him the opportunity to tour with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto. Mr. Pouliot has also had the honor of performing a private recital for Canadian Prime Minister Stephan Harper in 2012.
Mr. 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 attended many summer music programs, including the Aspen Music Festival and School, before graduating from the Colburn School Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Robert Lipsett, the Jascha Heifetz Distinguished Violin Chair.
Mr. 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 their 2018 Competition.