Oklahoma City Philharmonic opens 24th season in grand fashion

  • The Oklahoman

“Musical precociousness can manifest itself in countless ways, from the gifted child who loves to boast about his accomplishments to those who channel their talents into more productive outcomes.

Conrad Tao clearly belongs to the latter group, a pianist of exceptional talent who made a spectacular debut on the Oklahoma City Philharmonic’s 2012-13 season opener. In a lifetime of concertgoing, I’ve encountered many artists who use music to play the piano. Tao uses the piano to make music.”


Concert Review: Conrad Tao gives Beethoven concerto intelligent treatment

  • Ottawa Citizen

“The concerto soloist was the 18-year-old Conrad Tao, a young man whose talent is well beyond the ordinary. His interpretation of Friday’s concerto was balanced and intelligent.He didn’t just toss off a bunch of notes, but neither did he plumb the score for depths it doesn’t possess. This is especially important in the slow movement where it is easy to drift into sentimentality and/or pretension.”

“The outer movements were executed with panache. The first movement cadenza was especially gratifying.”


It’s a Wrap! Dvorak, Dvorak, Dvorak at the Montreal Chamber Fest

  • Strings Magazine

“Featuring a high-flying gaggle of Canadian quartets, the concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony and a rare sighting of artistic director Denis Brott in his cellist’s chair. And yet, with all the strings, it was a 17-year-old keyboard polymath from NYC named Conrad Tao, who stole the show with a once-in-a-lifetime performance of the rarely-encountered American Suite, Op. 98.”

“Tao is ready for his own TV show: he plays music as if the composer were at his side, with color, joy and spontaneous poetry. He composes, studies, researches, writes. He uses words like “gestation” when he talks. Like that whiz kid on the West Coast, Conrad Tao should be licensed to operate by the time he’s 21.”


Conrad Tao, prodigiously talented at 17, delights Gilmore Keyboard Festival crowd at Stetson Chapel

  • Kalamazoo Gazette

“The program began with Bach’s Italian Concerto. Tao gave the first movement concerto-like contrasts, crafted a stunning cantilena melody that hummed its way through the soulful slow movement, and concluded with a bravura finale. Next were Tao’s own compositions: the captivating “Three Songs” (2010), intended to decode the relationship between a vocal line and its accompaniment (a theme throughout the afternoon). The contemplative “Cocoon” featured a searching melody paired with luscious harmonies. “Smoke” evoked the impressionistic landscapes of Debussy and Ravel. Floating clouds of music collided and reformed as the melody gradually found peace. “Catharsis” was a riot of color and sonorities.”


Gilmore Young Artist Conrad Tao gives stupendous performance in recital at Calvin College

  • Grand Rapids Press

“It was a stupendous performance, covering a considerable range of possibilities for the piano plus some 275 years of musical composition, including Tao’s own compositions. Gleaming Bach, graceful Chopin, mighty Liszt, and mind-boggling Stravinsky poured from Tao’s fingers for a full house in the new, 250-seat recital hall in Calvin College’s Covenant Fine Arts Center, a lovely room to the eye as well as the ear. The 18-year-old musician’s account of Igor Stravinsky’s “Three Scenes from Petrushka” was more than enough to show Tao had the talent and temperament for a major career.”


A Promising Star, Rising Above the Horizon

  • The New York Times

“That Mr. Tao, who gave his first recital at 4, is hugely gifted was evident from the outset. He opened with a cleanly articulated, fluid and fleet rendition of Bach’s “Italian” Concerto. He played the slow second movement with poise and feeling. His impressive technique allows him to navigate difficult works with ease; the finale of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata unfolded in an exciting blaze of notes…He brought lovely colors and poetic nuances to three works by Liszt: “Au bord d’une Source,” “Vallée d’Obermann” and the “Rigoletto” Paraphrase…”


Conrad Tao, 17, shows fully mature virtuosity in Rachmaninoff

  • The Classical Review

“Although [Tao] is clearly a master of the keyboard, his playing was so smooth and fluent that the difficulty of the work was never at the forefront; nor was there ever a hint of the look-how-hard-this-is virtuosity that marks the playing of some young keyboard phenoms. He could be grand, as in the sweeping swirls of notes that open the last movement, and his technical ability was apparent throughout, as he easily handled the rapid chords, runs and other challenges of a concerto composed by one of history’s great virtuosos. But it was his playing of Rachmaninoff’s melodic passages that really distinguished this performance, as Tao’s natural musicality brought out the concerto’s smoky, Romantic quality.”


Utah Symphony Catches a Rising Star: Pianist Conrad Tao

  • Salt Lake Tribune

“Conrad Tao is for real. The 17-year-old American pianist, whose star has only grown brighter in the 15 months since he bowled over the Abravanel Hall crowd as a last-minute substitute for Horacio Gutiérrez in Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody, showed that his return invitation was well-earned. His bravura performance of another crowd-pleasing warhorse, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, elicited a rowdy ovation from the near-sellout house on Friday.”


Piano phenom, 17, makes a blazing debut with the DSO

  • The Detroit News

“Whatever the age cut-off may be for child prodigies, 17-year-old pianist Conrad Tao has left that category somewhere back in his young past. To judge from his debut Saturday night with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Tao already owns a place among the world’s musical virtuosos. Prodigious he is indeed. To put it plainly, Tao blew the doors off Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor with a performance that was no less seductive in its lyrical beauty than hair-raising in its technical brilliance.”