Dallas Morning News
Pouliot “surged onstage in rock star pants, presenting Brahms as a composer of great passion…compellingly—indeed, irresistibly—done.”
“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.”
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).
Pouliot embarks on a fulfilling 2021/22 season that includes debuts with the Boise Philharmonic, Omaha Symphony, Plano Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra and Winnipeg Symphony; return engagements with the symphony orchestras of Vancouver, Naples, Nova Scotia, and Tallahassee; recitals in Sarasota, Miami, and his Philadelphia debut; and touring the works of Beethoven as returning Artist-in-Residence with NPR’s Performance Today throughout Europe.
In the 2020/21 season, Pouliot was the Artist-in-Residence at Orchestre Métropolitain, deepening his relationship with the orchestra’s music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, across a series of concerts and recorded projects. He was also seen in performance with the Orchestre symphonique de Quebec, Reno Chamber Orchestra, and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He curated and led chamber music programs presented by the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and Artis-Naples and made his return to La Jolla Music Society SummerFest. A prolific recitalist and chamber musician who has performed in Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, Rockport, and Toronto, Pouliot was joined by pianist Hsing-I Huang at McGill University, University of Toronto, and the new RISE series in Miami.
Pouliot’s debut album, released on Analekta Records in 2019, features the works of Ravel and Debussy, and earned a five-star rating from BBC Music Magazine as well as a 2019 Juno Award nomination for Best Classical Album. Adding to his accolades that year, Pouliot won both the Career Development Award from the Women’s Club of Toronto and the Virginia Parker Prize Career Grant from the Canada Arts Council. He has been featured twice on Rob Kapilow’s What Makes it Great? series and was NPR’s Performance Today Artist-in-Residence for the 2017-18 season in Minnesota and the 2018-19 season in Hawaii. In 2016, he was awarded the Grand Prize at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Manulife Competition.
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. 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 studied violin in Canada with Marie Bérard and Erika Raum, and he 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.