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Musical World

Julius Drake

  • Accompanist
  • Pianist


Julius Drake Reviews of concerts
Shriver Hall recital with Ian Bostridge. 5 April 2009

' At every step of the way, pianist Julius Drake was as masterful at getting to the heart of Schubert's music as the singer was. Never just an accompanist, Drake showed himself to be quite a poet at the keyboard. And his technical skills got as much of a workout as his expressive ones; in such perpetual motion challenges as 'Auf der Bruck' and 'Im Walde' he maintained exceptional control'

Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun, 7 April 2009

Wigmore Hall recital with Mark Padmore & the Doric String Quartet. 6 January 2009

'It was the latest in a series devised by the pianist Julius Drake, whose programme-making skills and wide-ranging friendships have made him a pivotal figure in London's busy recital scene'

Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 7 January 2009

Wigmore Hall recital with Angelika Kirchschlager. 28 September 2008

'Schubert came first and...Julius Drake's light-filled piano playing recreat[ed] the glint of water and the rustle of spring'

Hilary Finch, The Times, 1 October 2008.

Recital with Alice Coote, Wigmore Hall, 30 March 2008

“For sure, it felt as though Coote and her wonderful pianist Julius Drake were able to view the songs from the male and female perspective simultaneously, and that made for extraordinary inner tensions. We sensed this might be a special experience; just how special proved startling ” “......... and not even Drake’s exquisite solace in the introduction to “ The Inn” could deflect us from the cruel irony of the final songs”

Edward Seckerson, The Independent, 2 April 2008.

“[Alice Coote] with Julius Drake as her trusty and empathic companion at the piano, has created a Winterreise of searing musical strength”

Hilary Finch, The Times, 1 April 2008.

“[…] with pianist Julius Drake her equally intense and perceptive partner”

Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 31 March 2008.

"marvellously accompanied by Julius Drake”

Dieter Bartetzko, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 27 March 2008.

“Alice Coote was confidently accompanied by the superb pianist Julius Drake, who is one of the accompanists most in demand worldwide (one gets an impression of this by simply looking at the schedule on his website).”

Markus Gründig,, March 2008.

"Julius Drake’s initial civilised casual playing does not conceal the thoughtful interpretation. ... Drake created the atmosphere, letting agitated streams flow and cocks crow, his dynamic artifices always newly astonish. The duo ending with the ‘Leiermann’ is downright unsettling and leaves the audience stunned.”

Daniel Honsack, Frankfurter Neue Presse, 27 March 2008

Opera News


"Julius Drake's superb pianism is the common denominator in many of today's most exciting vocal recitals."

Brian Moll, Opera News, January 2008

Recital with Sergei Leiferkus, Middle Temple Hall, London, 2008

"vividly partnered by Julius Drake"

Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 29 February 2008

"Julius Drake's fiercely sympathetic but never overstated accompaniment, rippling through It Was in the Early Spring, and teasing out scarlet threads of melody"

Neil Fisher, The Times, 29 February 2008

Schubert: Winterreise, with Alice Coote, University of Chicago Mandel Hall, 2008

“Alice Coote and Julius Drake, her splendid accompanist, delivered a deeply affecting performance of these 24 tragic songs on an appropriately frozen night in Hyde Park. [...] An accomplished recitalist in his own right, Drake proved a comparably engaged partner in musical and poetic exploration. […] The audience went out into the cold night as dazed and drained as the wanderer himself.”

John von Rhein, The Chicago Tribune, 18 February 2008

Schubert recital with Bostridge, Santa Fe Pro Musica Classical Weekend, St. Francis Auditorium, 26 January 2008

"Julius Drake's gemlike musicianship"

"...given the huge range of mirroring and supporting colors Drake effortlessly drew from the piano"

"Bostridge and Drake paid us the strong compliment of presenting their work at the level they thought it should be, not at a level we might find convenient."

Craig Smith, Pasatiempo, The New Mexican, 1 February 2008

Recital with Bostridge, Röschmann, Quasthoff, Carnegie Hall, 19 January 2008

"Mr. Drake plays Schubert with a skill and devotion that say, 'This is what I want to do.' "

Bernard Holland, The New York Times, 21 January 2008

Recital with Gerald Finley, Wigmore Hall, 18 October 2007

"Julius Drake, at the piano, offered a virtuoso prelude and postlude to Whether the day reigns, and his vividly costumed playing made little salon melodramas of each song"

"Then the calm currents of The Housatonic at Stockbridge, with Drake providing the great river's glinting surface..."

Hilary Finch, The Times, October 2007

Recital with Ian Bostridge, Wigmore Hall, 3 July 2007

"Pianist Julius Drake was every bit as insightful and original as the singer."

- Daily Telegraph, July 2007

Recital with Christopher Maltman, San Francisco Herbst Theatre, 29 April 2007

"Julius Drake [is] an appealingly muscular presence with superb fingers and a musical imagination equal to that of the singer."

Stephanie Friedman, The San Francisco Classical Voice, 1 May 2007

"Maltman's set of Debussy songs showed softness, restraint and the enormous talents of accompanying pianist Julius Drake, who was equally engaged all evening."

Washington Post, 30 April 2007

Recital with Mark Padmore, Middle Temple Hall, 24 April 2007

“Julius Drake is one of the most sought-after pianists by UK singers, and the Temple Song series has his bulging contacts book to thank for a roster of programmes that would be highlights at the Wigmore Hall.

…with the song Pause…Drake slowed the pace down to one of real contemplation. It made the song a moment of self-knowledge, the fulcrum of an intelligent and moving interpretation.”

Erica Jeal, The Guardian, May 2007

Recital with Joyce DiDonato, Concertgebouw, 3 April 2007

"...the phenomenal master of song accompaniment, Julius Drake."

Thiemo Wind, de Telegraaf, 6 April 2007

Recital with Gerald Finley, Carnegie Zankel Hall, 23 March 2007

" Mr. Drake was splendid in a variety of moods and styles."

Bernard Holland, The New York Times, 26 March 2007

Recital with Gerald Finley, Roy Thompson Hall, 9 March 2007

"Perfect pairing of piano and voice on par with greats" (Headline)

"...a piano collaborator very much on his own level of accomplishment and artistry. Together the two men delivered a recital extraordinary in its strength, its musicianship, its imaginative sensibility, its dramatic range and its rock-solid vocal and pianistic skill."

"Drake knows exactly how to play. He is a pianist of strength, character, exquisite precision and the courage not to vanish into paroxysms of dainty discretion when he has a singer of Finley's calibre and vigour to play up to."

Ken Winters, The Globe and Mail, 12 March 2007

Middle Temple Hall Recital, 14 February 2007

"Concerts often aim for that serendipitous state where music, performers, venue and occasion meld in magic fusion; the offering by the pianist Julius Drake and four vocal friends was one of those rare events that actually achieved it."

"Supported by Drake's responsive touch, the four singers spun wonderful spells."

"An evening in heaven."

Michael Church, Independent, 20 February 2007

Recital with Simon Keenlyside, Wigmore Hall, 25 January 2007

"...gloriously accompanied by Julius Drake."

Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 29 January 2007

Recital with Bostridge, Röschmann, Quasthoff, Musikhalle Hamburg, 1 November 2006

"Julius Drake accompanied faultlessly on the piano."

Hamburger Morgenpost, 3 November 2006

"Drake was superb in working out the colours of the music."

Helmut Peters, Die Welt, 3 November 2006

"Not only were the singers first rate but also their discreetly splendid pianist, Julius Drake. To call him an accompanist does not do him justice, for he showed himself to be a great one."

Hamburger Abendblatt, 3 November 2006

Recital with Ian Bostridge, Rheingau Musik Festival, 30 June 2006

"[Bostridge] had an oustanding, sensitive accomanist in Julius Drake."

Richard Hornicke, Wiesbadner Kurier, 3 July 2006

"...his accompanist, the excellent Julius Drake who pays attention to every detail. (...)He had sensitiveness and subtlety for two."

Annette Becker, Frankfurter Rundschau, 4 July 2006

"Julius Drake has more than a supportive role. He succeeds in shaping the direction of the music and his brilliant play meets the nerve which awakens the songs and makes them come to life."

Frankfurter Neue Presse, 5 July 2006

Recital with Alice Coote, Alice Tully Hall, New York, 2006

“Mr. Drake shared many of Ms. Coote’s gifts. Some pianists make concerts like these into equally shared duo performances. This player seemed happier, in his quietly elegant way, to operate not side by side but a few places to the rear.”

Bernhard Holland, The New York Times, 4 April, 2006

Recital with Alice Coote, Wigmore Hall, 24 March 2006

"Two groups of Schubert songs were sung without a break. Drake had devised a continuum of youth and death, dream and waking life that expressed the very heart of Schubert and which he bound together in his piano playing... Drake constantly fine-tuned the shifting colours of Coote's voice as he supported her every response throughout the evening."

Hilary Finch, The Times, 28 March 2006

Recital with Joan Rodgers, Middle Temple Hall, 15 February 2006

"Much credit must also go to her accompanist, Julius Drake, the mastermind behind this classy series, whose sensitiveness to his singer's needs and exquisite touch in his own solo moments combine to make him worthy of the mantle of the peerless Gerald Moore."

Anthony Holden, The Observer, 19 February 2006

USA Tour with Ian Bostridge, September-October 2005

"Julius Drake's recorded performances have delighted me as have few others, so when he appeared in concert at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill early this past fall, I attended.

Since that evening I have wanted this opportunity to express to him my joy, delight and admiration for his intelligent and sensitive musicianship, and his dedication to perfection. His was a performance that was enviably fine musically, technically, and in his artistic union with his soloist. It met a standard that I deeply admire and that very few achieve.

Please communicate to Mr. Drake my genuine admiration and appreciation for all that he brings to the art of music."

Carlyle Seymour Hodges, Professor Emeritus of Music, Mount Holyoke College

'Drake's graceful pianism,..propelled and colored each song. In "Totengrabers Heimweh" ("Gravedigger's Homesickness"), Drake brilliantly gave the piano harmonies an ethereal quality that paid homage to the late piano sonatas of Schubert's hero Beethoven.'

The Washington Post, September 2005

Recital with Alice Coote, Harewood House, Leeds, 2004

“Julius Drake – the ideally sympathetic pianist”

Michael Kennedy, The Sunday Telegraph, December 2004

Recital with Alice Coote, Wigmore Hall, November 2004

“Drake seized the moment, scaling the music and supporting the voice with both subtlety and daring.”


Hilary Finch, The Times, 18 November 2004

“Throughout, Julius Drake proved an ideal accompanist, imaginative and sensitive, especially in the Berlioz.”

Fiona Maddocks, The Evening Standard, 16 November 2004

Die Winterreise, Padmore Oxford Lieder Festival, 11 October 2004

"Julius Drake provided the scenic stage-management and nudged emotional response in his piano accompaniment, his postludes were graphic, his final chords eloquent."

Hilary Finch, The Times, October 2004

Recital with Alice Coote, Wigmore Hall, January 2004

“Coote and Drake – on his best and subtlest form – made it gripping. [..] Drake matched her sensitively, line by line. His and Coote’s exploration of the songs was exemplary and unwinking.”

David Murray, Financial Times, 16 January 2004

Recital with Alice Coote, Edinburgh International Festival, 2003

“Were those real tears rolling down [Alice Coote’s] cheeks as Julius Drake’s heart-aching accompaniment played out the final weeping moments of Schumann’s Frauenliebe und –leben?”

Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman, 20 August 2003

Recital with Matthias Goerne, 2001

"Drake’s work was a thrilling demonstration of pianistic skill, attentive listening, and imaginative sympathy. His playing simultaneously responded to Schubert’s notes, rhythms and harmonies; to every word of Wilhelm Mueller’s tests, and to every nuance of Matthias Goerne’s delivery – he was as frightening and as desolate as Goerne, and he made the omnipresent brook not a passive listener but a force of nature. Goerne and Drake reached the highest achievement of performing artists: The baritone made us forget he was singing, the pianist made us forget he was playing. Instead they took us to where they were, at the white-hot core of feeling.”

Boston Globe, 13 July 2001

Diary of One Who Vanished, English National Opera at Lincoln Center, New York, 2001

"Drake made the piano part sound positively incandescent. For my money, this inspired accompanist is now the best in the business."

Peter G. Davis, New York Magazine, 2001

Diary of One Who Vanished, English National Opera at Royal National Theatre, 1999

“Taxing piano writing that Julius Drake projected powerfully”

The Guardian, 30 November 1999

“With a life of their own, the piano accompaniments could easily have turned into a maze of woolly congestion, were it not for Julius Drake’s command of syntax and colour”

Financial Times, 30 November 1999