Kevin Hekmatpanah




Dvorák Concerto
Tchaikovsky Pezzo Capriccioso

Kevin Hekmatpanah Photo

The program opened with a blockbuster, the Dvorák Concerto.  After a very long introduction, guest artist Kevin Hekmatpanah dug into his cello in a vigorous opening, and the vigor never stopped throughout the first movement. Hekmatpanah's technique is tremendous, and he was on top of all the composer's demands upon him. [In] the second movement, phrases were passed back and forth from solo cello to orchestra, and the slow even music, done with marvelous poise, was exquisitely lovely.  In the third movement there was a building excitement ... and then it was finished, and the audience came to its feet shouting its approval. The second number also featured Hekmatpanah, the Tchaikovsky Pezzo Capriccioso.  The cello in this one simply blazed.  There was rapid-fire playing which made 'The Flight of the Bumble Bee' sound like a piker. Even though I saw and heard it, I would be willing to assert that it is not possible to play those runs that fast. Technique indeed! --- Chronicle Scene; Omak, WA

Gonzaga Symphony

For the music lover, Spokane holds few pleasures as great or as dependable as the concerts of the Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra under its conductor, Kevin Hekmatpanah. The reasons are simple: The orchestra is made up of a blend of gifted students and committed older members of the community, some of them former and current professionals. The result is music-making of unflagging energy and enthusiasm. Unaffected by budgetary considerations, the orchestra is of considerable size, which makes Hekmatpanah capable of delivering massive sonority when he wants to, which he did often on Monday night. The conductor is a performing musician of wide experience who employs a boundless passion for music and impeccable training to do what Fred Astaire claimed as his only goal: " leave 'em in the aisles, begging for more." Hekmatpanah can also draw on a worldwide network of professional performers of the highest rank, who are willing to travel great distances to perform with his orchestra..."The Light Cavalry" Overture of Suppe, the "Rienzi" Overture of Wagner and Tchaikovsky's Marche Slav all benefited from the rich sound of the orchestra ... 10 cellos! These Romantic works were written for only one purpose: to excite the strongest possible emotions in the audience through rousing melodies, infectious rhythms and brilliant orchestral effects. Mission accomplished. --- The Spokesman Review; Spokane, WA


At the concert, a listener, sensing the electricity between the two performers, would have thought that the two had been playing together for years. They wended their way through music that demanded, by turns, great virtuosity, dramatic projection, tender lyricism, whimsicality and excitement. Throughout this tour-de-force they displayed a near-perfect accord, blend and balance, while anticipating and sharing every nuance. Hekmatpanah displayed his impressive command of the cello in the intricate finger work of the Francoeur E Major Sonata, the elegance and grace of the Beethoven "Magic Flute" Variations, an exuberant energy in the Mendelssohn [Sonata No. 2] and Brahms [Sonata No. 2] and a deeply resonant and expressive tone quality throughout. --- Yardley News; Yardley, PA

They played several classical presentations, then presented the Dance of the Elves by David Popper, which is best known for its speed. Parts were so fast it was difficult to see his hands move across the strings. After well-deserved applause, they turned to the slower Song without Words by Felix Mendelssohn. Fast or slow, the cello sang like a violin. We are used to cellists just playing the dum, dum, dum of the bass accompaniment; but here, it had a voice of its own, and the concert was uniquely revealing of the true range of the instrument. It left one in awe of the power of a few strings, and the ability of the musician playing it. It was enough to entice one into music lessons on an instrument usually dismissed as dull. There was certainly nothing dull from the cello in this concert. --- Deer Park Gazette; Deer Park, WA

Hekmatpanah played a full-length recital, including music by [Bach], Frescobaldi, Chopin, Weber, Paganini (yes, it had fireworks, but so did some of the others), Tchaikovsky and Wieniawski. We know him from previous appearances here, where he formerly was conductor of the Okanogan Valley Orchestra, and as guest artist since then. He plays superbly, leading his cello from a whisper to a shout as the music demanded. Nau at the piano, was in perfect ensemble as they worked from the quiet of a Chopin Nocturne to the fireworks of Paganini. Charmingly presented program notes, which he delivered vocally, helped us understand the pieces and their periods. The two artists gave us some wonderful music. And part of what they played was arranged by Hekmatpanah. ---Chronicle Scene; Omak, WA

Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations

Hekmatpanah held his own via his own distinctive features as an artist. His playing is very dramatic, often to extremes. He juxtaposes sensitivity with an almost reckless abandon, which gives his performance a gripping flair ... the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations [was] a piece which seems to have been written expressly for Hekmatpanah, as a vehicle for the expression of his impressive technical skills, with its virtuosic passage work and spectacular cadenza.--- Sidelines; Murfreesboro, TN

Haydn D Major Concerto

Cellist Kevin Hekmatpanah's fine reading of Haydn's D Major Cello Concerto highlighted [the] concert ... Hekmatpanah sported a bright and penetrating sound that found its finest moments in the first movement's daunting cadenza. Here, his left hand negotiated the passage's numerous technical hurdles with pizzazz and grace and at the fastest possible tempos.  In the slow middle movement, Hekmatpanah captured the music's lyrical qualities and effected classy contrasts in dynamics, particularly in parts that went from loud to soft. A rollicking rondo movement brought the Haydn to a spirited conclusion. --- The Arizona Daily Star; Tucson, AZ

Elgar Concerto

Soloist Kevin Hekmatpanah tackled the Elgar [Cello Concerto] with vigor and authority, projecting deep rich sounds from his 18th century Dutch instrument both with his strong bowing and pizzicato plucking. This concerto is not for the faint-hearted player. Its music is murky and mysterious and deeply moving.  for the most part Hekmatpanah brought virtuosic force to it as the bass tones rumbled into the room and rolled over the listener's gut. The music does that and so did the player. --- The Daily Times; Salisbury, MD

He played brilliantly (as expected), and the orchestra backed him tightly all the way in a very demanding work. He, of course, played the difficult thing by memory. The audience rose to applaud at its conclusion. --- Chronicle Scene; Omak, WA

Haydn C Major Concerto

An unusually gifted musician, Mr. Hekmatpanah's flair for the instrument as soloist combined with the sensitivity of a natural musician became apparent in an early stage ... his concept [of Haydn's C Major Concerto] was profound and his rendition was totally convincing. The conductor's esteem was joined by the feeling of our seasoned orchestra players and subsequently expressed in an enormous receptive reaction of the applauding audience. Mr. Hekmatpanah is an exciting musical personality. --- Dieter Kober, Chicago Chamber Orchestra

Schumann Concerto

This was a towering performance [of Schumann's Cello Concerto]. Hekmatpanah's technique on the cello is an established fact. Here we heard (and saw) it again, also noting that even when the cello was silent between sections, he was tightly with his orchestra, twice bringing them in on tutti attacks with sharp movements of his head ... with brilliant solo work matched by brilliant support, the concerto was the high point of the program. There was a marvelous rapport all around. --- Chronicle Scene; Omak, WA

Shostakovich Concerto

Hekmatpanah captured the relentless, in-your-face quality of the Shostakovich's [Cello Concerto No. 1] opening movement's dominant four-note motive. He sailed through the second movement and cadenza, in which the soloist somehow plucks and bows notes at the same time. Another memorable concerto performance by a returning artist ... Hekmatpanah soloed almost two years ago in Haydn's D Major Cello Concerto. This time, he used a different instrument, a recently acquired 18th century Dutch cello; one listener rightly associated the instrument's rich booming sound with a canon.--- The Arizona Daily Star; Tucson, AZ

After the intermission, Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 composed in 1959 was performed by Kevin Hekmatpanah. At the very beginning of this work, the soloist introduced the initial theme of the concerto that proceeded, along with strings and wind instruments, into numerous and continuous variations. At the end of the first movement, it was evident that the society for the Prevention of Clapping at the Wrong Times had been lacking in their duties. But, never mind, I'm sure that the enthusiasm shown by the audience was appreciated. Hekmatpanah demonstrated considerable mastery of his chosen instrument. He made the music soar with a technically impressive left hand and an accomplished bowing with his right. It was all over too soon. --- The Pueblo Chieftain; Pueblo, CO

Saint-SaŽns Concerto

The piece opened with fireworks, and did I hear a descending line in thirds? - That's doublestopping, two strings played at the same time - and difficult. The piece seemed to have three sections but was played without pause. Hekmatpanah's creamy tone ran over light figures in the strings, later repeated in the woodwinds. Later there was imitation between the soloist and the woodwinds as the same figure was tossed back and forth between them. There were times when the cello ran clear into the violin range. This was high-caliber playing by both soloist and symphony. --- Chronicle Scene; Omak, WA