Instrumentalist - Piano
Acclaim
 
Orchestral Seduction in Stamford
"Licad plays Chopin with extraordinary musicianship. She voiced complex arabesques with clarity, and often in perfect rhythm, without indulging in endless beat-stretching. This made the places where she used rubato very effective. She and Preu worked well together and projected a sense of confidence and security in this work that is much more difficult to perform live than it sounds.

"She also played with an elegant sense of lyricism. The second movement came to life with the care she gave to voicing and the lovely whispered sound she drew from the piano."

Jeffrey Johnson, Danbury News-Times
"Cecile Licad found it hard to recall the exact moment she put her fingers to the keys and began playing the instrument for which she has earned international acclaim." Read More...
Christina Hennessy, Stamford Advocate
"The performance itself fulfilled every expectation of Licad's legendary musicianship. Having heard her several times over the past 30 years, I was astonished by the continuing freshness and almost childlike wonder of her musical inspiration, coupled with one of the most dazzlingly expressive sets of fingers on this planet." Read More...
Robert Bruce Smith, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
"Whatever their audiences saw and heard when they played on two successive nights at CCP, they were one in agreeing that the two played as one, two instruments blending so seamlessly, two artistic hearts beating in unison, two parts melting, smelting, one disappearing to let the other appear, one fading in favor of the other, until melody and harmony became yin and yang." Read More...
Jullie Yap Daza, Manila Bulletin
"In what could be the chamber music event of the year, Licad and Gerhardt showed what musical rapport was all about in an evening of Janacek ('Fairy Tales,' 1923 version), Beethoven (A Major Sonata, Op. 69) and the Shostakovich warhorse. The performance was greeted by deafening cheers and applause." Read More...
Pablo Tariman, Philippine Daily Inquirer
Santa Rosa Symphony ends season with a bang
"Before intermission, pianist Cecile Licad brought similar mastery to Ravel's Concerto in G major, displaying a natural ease and athleticism in the work's outer movements."
Diane Peterson, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
"The Ravel, which begins with the snap of a whip, marked an abrupt shift. Licad leaped into her treacherous lines with tremendous drive and energy, mouthing the key phrases as she stared at the keys. She generated considerable volume and sculpted her phrases flawlessly, even under the onslaught of Ravel's continuous tremolos. When the jazz-inspired first movement ended, a sizeable portion of the audience erupted in applause." Read More...
Steve Osborn, San Francisco Classical Voice
"After winning the Leventritt Gold Medal in 1981, Licad earned international recognition and launched her career in earnest, performing with major orchestras around the world. Her repertoire as a soloist spans the works of Mozart and Beethoven, Brahms and Rachmaninoff, Debussy and Ravel, Shostakovich and Prokofiev.

"'I don't like to stick with just one type of music,' she said. 'I like to experience a lot of different composers.'"

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Diane Peterson, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
"Licad's playing of the Sonata No. 5 stressed outlines rather than inner solutions, but in the Sonata No. 10, she created some magic to complete the aurora of other worldliness. The opening bars - could they have been struck like other keyboard notes? - shimmered and vaporized. The shadings and tints that followed lifted the work beyond mere pianism and into what appeared to be a private place in Licad's iconography." Read More...
Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Cecile Licad greeted 2009 with a well-received concert at the Rockefeller Center in New York that had critics and audiences gushing.... 'With that performance, you have joined the league of the world's greatest pianists,' music critic Harris Goldsmith told the Filipina pianist." Read More...
Pablo Tariman, Philippine Daily Inquirer
"Her performance was pure crystal, light on the sustaining pedal so the runs and arpeggios sparkled and with that incredible left hand with which Licad provides the strong counterpoint to the lyrical Tchaikovsky melodies mostly carried by the right hand. It is so easy to forget the left hand in such 19th century romantically beautiful melodies. Licad is not so seduced. Nor does she need to affect her sensitive and dramatic readings of the music. One hears in her playing the thinking she does with the score. She needs no hand, head and body flourishes. It is all in the playing." Read More...
Donald Behnke, Green Valley News (AZ)
"Her performances are breathtaking and nearly always critically acclaimed. The New Yorker once dubbed her 'a pianist's pianist,' and the description has stuck. It could easily be amended to include her emotional and visceral impact on audiences. She plays with such intensity that she gets lost in the music. Her audiences tend to get lost in her." Read More...
Cathalena E. Burch, Arizona Daily Star
"Well, when I was 15 or 16, I once played a command performance for then-first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos, and she wanted me to prepare for just the last movement of the Tchaikovsky concerto. Well, for a concert like this, we didn't normally play the whole concerto, and so I was waiting for the entrance of the orchestra for this last movement, and they just started playing the first movement!" Read More...
Jonathan Lowe, Tucson Weekly
Aisle seats: Arts picks for the week
"Single tickets for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra's 80th season go on sale Monday. It's a chance to snag a seat for the encore performance of international pianist Cecile Licad (Feb. 7), whose concert with the orchestra last season left audiences floored by her technical expertise and emotive play."
Kathleen Allen, Arizona Daily Star
"For decades, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 has remained the domain of male pianists with huge hands. Then along comes dainty Filipino Cecile Licad who has proven that a good female pianist can play 'Rach 3.' She rocks." Read More...
Pablo Tariman, Philippine Daily Inquirer
"Cecile Licad has the goods. The Filipino-born pianist proved that Friday night at Artpark in a technically stunning performance of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto." Read More...
Mary Kunz Goldman, Buffalo News
Pianist Cecile Licad is considered one of the finest virtuosos performing today.
"Licad, whom The New Yorker has called a 'pianist's pianist,' is certainly among the finest virtuosos playing today. She came across as utterly fearless and committed -- qualities that seemed particularly well suited to the variation after variation of the second movement's folk melody."
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Ken Keuffel, Winson-Salem Journal
"There was no lack of power or finesse in her fiery EMF performance. Her dynamic range was breathtaking from thundering chords to the most delicate pp. The fastest passages were precisely articulated. Her co-ordination with important orchestra instrumental solos had the quality of fine chamber music. Schwarz led a finely balanced accompaniment that fit Licad's interpretation like kid gloves." Read More...
William Thomas Walker, Classical Voice of North Carolina
"She is a consummate thief. She has walked away with the hearts of countless music lovers. Licad is the incomparable mistress of the keys." Read More...
Rome Jorge, Manila Times (Philippines)
"The audience at Thursday's Tucson Symphony Orchestra concert was not alone. The musicians were just as awe-struck, watching the Philippine-born pianist with the wonderment you imagine from a child seeing a giraffe for the first time." Read More...
Arizona Daily Star
"Guest soloist Cecile Licad played the Piano Concerto No. 3 with a similar sense of dramatic purpose. Her authoritative command of the keyboard yielded crystal-clear right-hand melodies with supporting left-hand accompaniments." Read More...
Lee Teply, Virginian-Pilot
"Licad was at her best in that exquisite second movement. She chose a languid tempo for the 'A' section, its melodies hanging weightless in midair, notes dripping like honey or tumbling in delicate cascades. Her mercurial, hotheaded Gypsy of a 'B' section swept through in a whirlwind, adding depth to the return of 'A.' Licad's final measures, a pianissimo flourish rising in slow motion, simply evaporated into the air." Read More...
Ruth Bingham, Honolulu Advertiser
"The surging romanticism of the score was evident in every line of her performance, and the audience made their delight clear with a lengthy standing ovation." Read More...
Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times
"Not surprisingly, she had the notes in her agile fingers, but she had something more, which the audience responded to with a shouting ovation ... Miss Licad came across as an appealing combination of fragile grace and fiery power, either of which she could call on when the music required." [New York Philharmonic/Zubin Mehta]
New York Times
"She is blessed with a gift of making music gloriously on the piano ... a perpetual wonder. Every sound she made was beautiful, every note and phrase the result of intellect warmed by emotion. The great solo opening was magisterially announced with the deliberation of a mature artist. With a singing tone as exquisite as her appearance, she combines the poetry of a Myra Hess with the easy power of a Gina Bachauer." [National Symphony Orchestra/Mstislav Rostropovich]
Washington Post
"She combined hair-raising virtuosity and consciousness-expanding introspection with the breadth of vision and magisterial authority one would more readily associate with a keyboard veteran. She explored the range from the monolithic to the poignant ... Here was a world of no in-between, no compromises; at concert's end, one felt as if put through an emotional wringer." [in recital]
Los Angeles Times
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