Visiting artist Philippe Bianconi played that virtuosic favourite, Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.3.Bianconi radiated confidence - happiness, even, walking out onstage to tackle this challenging, angular piece. You got the idea right away that the concerto was in good hands, as he revealed in its sharp corners and chromatics.
Bianconi has a fine rhythmic sense and he was relaxed enough to interact well with the orchestra and Music Direcor JoAnn Falletta. He always seemed alert, aware of everything going on around him. The slow movement was haunting and in the last, the romantic themes soared.
And the sparks flew. Both Bianconi and the orchestra- it is the orchestra's piece as much as the pianist's - took advantage of the music's innate showmanship, nailing illicit applause after the first movement and an almost instantaneous standing ovation at the end. This concerto, like Rachmaninoff's big concertos, was made to bring the house down. it did, and Bianconi rewarded us with a breathtaking, exquisitely quiet excerpt from Schumann's "Symphonie Etudes".
Buffalo News, Mary Kunz Goldman