Instrumentalist - Piano
Cecile Licad brings dazzling keyboard arsenal to Liszt, American composers

"Licad’s playing of all three composers was superb...There were stretches of her playing in the second movement (marked “Moderately slow, with great dignity”), that crowded out time for the contemplation of the music, but she played with a feeling of advocacy that was touching. There is a lot of surface dazzlement in the sonata, but Licad brought out the depths in the piece as well...Her lovely, long legato runs expressed the hyper-lyricism of Liszt’s thinking, perfectly capturing the rise of each emotional state, its turn toward the baroque and decadence, and its disintegration and reformation into the next experience."

George Grella, New York Classical Review
American Nocturnes

"[Licad's] authoritative yet flexible pianism adapts to the various styles with idiomatic ease.... I look forward to this series’ further instalments."

Jed Distler, Gramophone
Music of the Night: American Nocturnes

"... a stunning performance by Cecile Licad.
The playing ... is impeccable. She is absolute master of these diverse styles."

John France, MusicWeb International
Anthology of American Piano Music - Volume 1

"An exciting new release that promises to expand into a collection of American musical masterpieces ... essential listening ..."

John France, Music Web International
Cecile Licad plays American First Sonatas from MacDowell, Griffes and more

"To hear a master pianist like Cecile Licad tackle these works is a luxury not often granted when unknown piano music is concerned.... The production is a clear labour of love ..."

Celebrating Filipino artistry at Carnegie Hall

"Cecile has been noted for her confident and masterful interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s concerto. She was lyrical and poetic, as well as forceful and energetic as she played. Her tone was delicate elegance and her artistry musical magic. This brilliant artist was truly remarkable...."

Marilyn Abalos, Filipino Reporter
Cecile Licad astounds in SF recital for PH Independence

"... the pianist in a radiant fuchsia dress, entered the stage, approached the piano and proceeded to astound the audience with her superb musical skill and artistry."

Edwin Agustín Lozada, Philippine Daily Inquirer
PPO, Licad, Saraza get standing ovation in Carnegie Hall

"Cecile Licad as soloist in Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor got the most thunderous applause and a total of three standing ovations and had to oblige with an encore."

Pablo A. Tariman, Philippine Daily Inquirer
Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Licad serenade NY at Carnegie Hall

"A highlight at the PPO’s Carnegie Hall debut was the appearance of the world-famous classical pianist Licad, performing a personal favorite of hers, Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2.” It began with a poignant melody, and built up to a tense and agitated mood. Licad played it with characteristic animation, as though the keys were extensions of her person. It was only right to give her a standing ovation."

Ruby De Vera, Manila Bulletin
Cecile Licad reaps accolades

"Cecile Licad’s appeal and talent are infinite."

Tina Hidalgo Jacinto, Manila Bulletin
Spokane Symphony opens season by evoking Mussorgsky’s genius

“One noticed that the keyboard cover, which ordinarily separates the sounding board from the player, had been removed. Once the performance began, one understood why. Licad did not wish there to be any separation between any of the elements in that performance. Everything about her interpretation spoke of a drive to fuse herself into the spirit of the music and unifying herself with every other player onstage. The piece is not often performed, probably because it is so difficult. On Saturday night, those difficulties seemed to dissolve, partly through the superb focus and discipline of the orchestra, but even more through the force of Licad’s infallible technique. In more than 50 years of watching people play the piano, this reviewer has never seen its equal. In response to the audience’s rapturous acclaim, Licad returned to the stage to dispatch Earl Wild’s preposterously difficult Etude on Gershwin’s ‘Embraceable You’ as though it were child’s play.”

Larry Lapidus, Spokesman-Review
"Licad’s wielding of the overloaded harmonies, the mystical Scriabin-like tonal wanderings, and the overwhelming pathos that pervades the work, was nothing short of virtuosic. She rose to the challenge of the final movement’s jarring montage of former themes in the sonata." Read More...
Richard Yates, South Florida Classical Review
Corcoran leads Nashville Symphony and pianist Cecile Licad in riveting all-Tchaikovsky concert
“The second half began with a brief appetizer – the 'Polonaise' from the opera Eugene Onegin, which was energetically played – before moving onto the evening’s main course, the Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor. Cecile Licad, the last pianist to win the once prestigious (and now defunct) Leventritt Competition, was soloist, and she gave a riveting account. As the orchestra played the grand flourishes of the concerto’s famous opening, Licad thundered away with her double-fisted chords, hurling huge sonorities into the concert hall. Licad made the most of the concerto’s lyrical moments – she can play a dulcet pianissimo with the best of them.”
John Pitcher, ArtsNash
Licad impresses when piano shines through
“[Licad] was truly impressive in this instance [Liszt’s 'Totentanz,' a fearsome instrumental journey], balancing the elements of brutality and delicacy that Liszt set against each other.”
Garaud MacTaggart, Buffalo News
"Her arresting velocity coupled with astounding muscle gave us a dominating show of pianism from one of today’s keyboard powerhouses in music of two of the all-time greatest writers for the instrument." Read More...
David Patterson, The Boston Musical Intelligencer
"Yet the overall effect was spellbinding, holding the attention for a full hour, thanks to an uncommonly generous amount of very soft playing, with Licad demonstrating her ability to spin out some gorgeous long melodic lines." Read More...
David Beech, Peninsula Reviews
"Licad rampaged over the keyboard, delivering huge expressive sweeps with rushing waves of emphasis, increasing fury into devilish anarchy. Rumbling noises the likes of which are rarely heard came out of the piano. Rhythms were freely flexible, moving beats back and forth. This, I thought, must have been what it was like to hear Liszt himself play, making audiences swoon." Read More...
David Bratman, San Francisco Classical Voice
Visiting pianist delivers spectacular performance with Adrian Symphony Orchestra

"And then along came Licad and the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto. Hands down, this is one of classical music's masterpieces, with that beautiful main theme, its contrasting emotions, and such a perfect balance in the musical conversation that takes place between soloist and orchestra. And Licad's performance of it Sunday was one of the highlights of this or any other ASO season. Daring, imaginative, and impeccably played, this was quite simply a spectacular performance by a top-notch artist."

Arlene Bachanov, Daily Telegram
FAURÉ CELLO WORKS (CD Review ****) - with cellist Alban Gerhardt (Hyperion)
“The brief but potent bravura episode indicates the potency of Licad’s keyboard. … Licad’s right hand evokes some of that composer’s bells in the dolorous accompaniment. … Licad’s piano remains busy as ever, staccato e parlando, as required. The modal character of the melodic line eludes every definition except that of ‘Faure.’ The last pages exploit some virtuosity in both parts, the welter of colors at moments claiming Debussy as both heir and influence.”
Garry Lemco, Audiophile Audition
“Licad’s technical prowess is formidable; she plays with power and rock-solid security.… The Andante [Chopin’s Andante spianato, Op. 22] was exquisitely realized, with a pleasingly lyrical tone. … Licad was in her element as she reeled off sheets of eardrum-rattling octave runs [Liszt’s Fantasia quasi Sonata, S. 161/7], hurtling towards a piano-pulverizing conclusion that left the wooden floor palpably vibrating beneath our feet. … Cecile Licad is a phenomenal pianist whose interpretations of the Romantic repertoire are instructively idiosyncratic.”
Michael Rocha, Boston Musical Intelligencer
Calderwood's Cube Hosts Licad
"She displayed many techniques of a more belle époque such as prestissimo-pianissimo runs referred to as 'string of pearls.' Her rhythmic freedom was considerable, but controlled. The longer line was never broken."
Lee Eiseman, Boston Musical Intelligencer
"Like the works themselves, his playing and that of the pianist Cecile Licad is full of subtleties, the half-tones and inflections that make the chamber music of Fauré's final decade so elusive and fragile." Read More...
Andrew Clements, The Guardian
Fauré: Cello Sonatas, CD review
"The passion and sorrowful rapture that Alban Gerhardt and Cecile Licad bring to the Élégie are complemented by the yearning ardour of a Romance, the virtuoso flutter and bustle of Papillon, the lyrical sweep of the Sérénade and the delicate lilt of the Sicilienne, which is also familiar in orchestral guise.... They make a particularly fine duo here, working emotionally in unison, sensing the music's contours with like mind, breathing as one. In the two sonatas, their polished phrasing and naturally articulated lines enhance the music's structural cohesion, their feeling for moments of drama and repose is held in ideal equilibrium, and their pointing up of Fauré's individual harmonic shading is judged instinctively."
Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph
London Jazz Festival Round-Up
"The masterstroke, however, was to alternate jazz episodes with the piano music of 19th-century New Orleans composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk, elegantly interpreted by classical pianist Cecile Licad. The Gottschalk revival starts here."
John Waters, Arts Desk (UK)
"... the ragtime jangle of Licad's piano or the moan of Jellyroll horns giving a surreal undertow to streetlife and bawdy dance alike. (five stars)"
Mike Hobart, Financial Times
Steve Swallow/The Impossible Gentlemen/Louis - review
"Wynton Marsalis's live score, played by a storming group of his long-time associates and local players, and the awesome classical pianist Cecile Licad, rightly had the crowd cheering as the credits rolled."
John Fordham, The Guardian (UK
"Celebrated Filipino pianist Cecile Licad made a very strong impression on Russian audiences when she made her historic Moscow debut with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra on April 15 under the baton of People's Artist of Russia Mark Gorenstein." Read More...
Pablo Tariman, Philippine Daily Inquirer
Review: "Classic Innovations" Ballet
"Throughout the entire program, Licad demonstrated piano playing of the highest caliber of artistry and technical mastery."
Michael Caruso, Chestnut Hill Local
Adrian Symphony Orchestra dazzles in classical opener
"Sunday's concert featured a performance that was most definitely a high point of this or any other ASO season: a truly world-class guest artist, Cecile Licad, in a stunning rendering of Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1. Not often do you have the distinct pleasure of hearing someone for whom the instrument seems like a natural extension of themselves, but for Licad it appears exactly that way. She not only displayed a first-rate technique, with the light touch and refinement demanded of this work, but she also captured perfectly what surely had to be Chopin's intentions with this music: for its understated grace and very intimate quality to shine through for the listener.

"It was a dazzling performance by any measure, and no less so for the orchestra under music director John Thomas Dodson's baton, which certainly met the challenges Licad set up for it. And just in case you thought a piano work couldn't get any better-played than the Chopin was, the Gottschalk piece she presented as an encore was, in a word, spectacular."

Arlene Bachanov, Daily Telegram
Satchmo's Story, Music Substituting for Words
"Mr. Marsalis was in his wheelhouse, playing the trumpet with a 10-piece band whose members were mostly drafted from the ranks of his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

"They addressed a selective range of his works, articulate and soulful, along with chestnuts by Armstrong, Duke Ellington and a few others. And they shared the stage with Cecile Licad, a classical pianist who delved authoritatively into period pieces by the Creole composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk. The patchwork nature of the score meant that timing was absolutely critical, and the musicians, conducted by Andy Farber, hit every mark."

Nate Chinen, New York Times
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