JON MANASSE press reviews
"CLARINET PIECE WAS RARE JEWEL. Monday’s program was already strong, but a new concerto was a show-stopper.
The Virginia premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s magnificent new clarinet concerto outshone everything else. When it came to superlatives, soloist Jon Manasse’s splendid performance pretty much sucked all of the oxygen out of the room. When the concerto cruised to a breathless finish and the standing ovation and shouts of bravo were echoing through the hall, it seemed clear that we had heard a piece that will remain in the repertoire for decades to come. But it will take a player of Manasse’s caliber to do justice to Liebermann’s work. This bravura work requires not merely a professional player, but a virtuoso."
THE ROANOKE TIMES
"A [Newport Music Festival] 'Schubertabend' offered another discovery, Jon Manasse, a sublime clarinetist. His playing completely overshadowed the singing in The Shepherd on the Rock, and afterward he and Dmitry Sitkovetsky led a deeply moving performance of the Octet for strings and winds."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
"Manasse's work was a revelation. One comes to expect players in this festival to come to the stage with the full complement of stylistic knowledge and a formidable command of his/her instrument. In fare from the Brahms Trio for Clarinet, Piano and Cello to Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, Manasse's spotlight moments proved him a player of incomparable skill and technique, with a liquid tone over the entire range of the instrument and an almost metaphysical command of his instrument's overtone structure."
"Manasse’s clarinet sings through each phrase with agile eloquence and reveals the iridescent quality of the instrument. His playing on this new release [with Gerard Schwarz/Seattle Symphony] reminds us why Mozart and Spohr were so eager to write for this instrument. Beautiful tone and impressive technique can make the clarinet sing–almost as if we were hearing the human voice."
MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO
"For Copland's jazzy, sentimental Clarinet Concerto, Jon Manasse was a beguiling soloist, shaping the languid melodies of the first movement sweetly and zipping nicely through the up-tempo second movement."
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"At the center was an absolutely first-rate clarinet soloist, Jon Manasse. He had the taste, the sound and the technique to project this most beguiling of wind instruments in one of its more beguiling repertory pieces [Mozart Clarinet Concerto]."
THE NEW YORK TIMES
"The renowned American clarinetist Jon Manasse and the Seattle Symphony offer renditions that are rich and warm yet fully transparent, perfectly balanced yet naturally expressive. Manasse’s exquisite sound and unmatched lyricism and control fit the Mozart Concerto like a glove, and music director Gerard Schwarz obliges with a delightfully supple orchestral palette. Manasse always has room for more volume at the right places, but few soloists have his remarkable command and expressive sincerity."
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
"And there was a heavenly moment when clarinetist Jon Manasse fluttered above the duet like a cherub tumbling in the clouds of a Mannerist painting."
THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL
"The soloist, Jon Manasse, clearly at the very top of any list of the world’s great clarinetists, is an astonishingly eloquent player, and he displayed virtually all of the clarinet’s possibilities in the concerto [by Lowell Liebermann]."
EVANSVILLE COURIER & PRESS
"The [Brahms] Clarinet Quintet contains some of the most unforgettable music ever composed for this medium. Violinists Federico Agostini and Fionnula Hunt, violist Cynthia Phelps and cellist Ronald Thomas played with a muscular, almost overly aggressive style in the first movement, yet served as a worthy foil to the mouth-watering tone of clarinetist Jon Manasse. It just got better from there, with every ounce of music squeezed lovingly from the score."
"JON MANASSE AND THE SEATTLE SYMPHONY: MOZART – SPOHR CLARINET CONCERTOS
It’s not hard to find a good recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, but it is difficult to find one with the same silky finesse that Manasse gives in this recording just released on the Harmonia Mundi label. Everything he plays, from Mozart’s lingering slow movement to the swift pace of Spohr’s up-tempo movements, is smooth and effortless, like a ribbon of sound floating through the speakers. The Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz provides a lively and exacting accompaniment that elevates Manasse’s performance."
democratandchronicle.com (Rochester, NY)