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Reviews


“Ott’s brilliant premiere, the debut of a masterpiece. The National Symphony audience gave a five-minute standing ovation to the premiere of David Ott’s Concerto for Two Cellos. The real discovery of the evening was Ott. His concerto is dramatic; it sings; it has a sense of dialogue; brilliant display; pensive musings; rich harmonies. It is a superb piece of music.”

Washington Post

“Ott has composed an appealing work. His Concerto for Two Cellos aims neither for pathos nor profundity. It’s a substantial piece nonetheless. Constructed along traditional lines, Ott’s concern for clarity and logical progression along with his gift for striking orchestration and inventive melody. His style is a lean Romanticism that avoids nostalgia and sentimentality. He also appears to love-and understand-the sound of the cello, which is surely why cellists are drawn to this piece.”

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“If, as the critic Eduard Hanslick said, Brahms’ First Symphony was Beethoven’s 10th, then David Ott’s Second is Shostakovich’s 16th. Ott’s Second is not only accessible, it is fascinating. From the solo cello opening, the music grabs your ears, and takes you someplace, goes from here to there, moves through time with a purpose, and reaches for a place of rest and finds it.”

Indianapolis News

The highlight of the evening, as expected, was the world premiere of “DodecaCelli” by David Ott, a brilliant and appealing work conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich. Ott’s smoothly melodic style gives the cello a marvelously abundant opportunity to do that.”

Washington Post

“But most noteworthy in terms of style and expression was David Ott’s work who emphasizes melody and triad-related harmony as the main channels for expressive communication. He also maintains high stands of musical integrity, proving that ‘accessibility’ need have no negative connotations.”

Milwaukee Sentinel

“In Ott’s 40-minute Symphony No. 2, he shows he has an arresting melodic gift one might say is equal parts Bernstein and Britten. Like Britten, Ott is able to communicate compassion in sound and musical line. Though the symphony initially appears to be elegiac, its expressive message is basically upbeat, with easily as much pep in the writing as long lines. Ott’s symphony speaks directly, clearly and forcefully to the ear and heart; especially considering the enthusiastic ovation the audience gave. It would seem to have a future in the repertory of our nation’s orchestra.”

Grand Rapids Daily News

“Friday night’s concert by the Syracuse Symphony showed that once in a while – all right, once in a very great while- a new piece of music can take off and make it to the finish line while something called Tchaikovsky is left at the gate. Ott’s writing bursts with an honest lyricism that had to touch every listener. It is a step forward from the plaintive gestures that marked American symphonic writing at mid-century. Ott has a palette of a great variety of colors at his disposal and used them with natural grace.”

Syracuse Post-Standard

Ott’s Symphony No. 2 builds bridges to skeptical listeners of new music. Ott’s music is certainly eventful, gorgeous in its details, sometimes overwhelming in its effects. He has written an expertly crafted, proudly sentimental symphony. While it’s at it, the work practically revokes modernism, like many pieces of serious music being written today Maybe this is what we need: Modernism was an awful nuisance, anyway.”

Indianapolis Star

“Ott has scored big with the Chicago Symphony, the National Symphony and the American Symphony Orchestra and scored widely with orchestras and music festivals throughout the heartland. Few New York-centered composers can match David Ott’s playlist.”

Newark Star-Ledger

“The most gratifying discovery on the program was David Ott. No flaming radical, Ott prefers to work in a serious romantic idiom, yet he came up with some very pleasing melodic ideas. His Concerto for Two Cellos is mostly a piece that Rostropovich’s friends, Prokofiev and Shostakovich would have appreciated.”

Los Angeles Daily News

“The first full performance of David Ott’s Piano Concerto in B flat went beyond excitement. Ott has literally scored a big win with this concerto. On the whole, the concerto is broad, brassy, eclectic and highly percussive. In its biggest moments, and there are many, it moves with the driving intensity of a thousand thundering chariots.”

Charlotte Observer

“Ott’s Viola Concerto composed for Paul Neubauer had a driving quality that settles into a wonderfully poetic, high visual second movement, before it pushed in to its demanding conclusion. Rarely unfocused and never incoherent, this piece moved beyond anything that could be classified as genre neo-romantic and into a level that is becoming distinctly Ott’s own. Great music doesn’t come along every day and a great composer even less often. Judging from this milepost, he may well get there.”

Knoxville Journal

“I was impressed by the excellence of construction of the piece, its rich scoring for both chorus and orchestra, including effective answering passages for woodwinds. The music has modernistic touches but is basically traditional in harmonic structure and has immediate appeal to the listener.”

Salisbury Evening News

“The audience, usually cool to new works, was anything but last evening. The response to David Ott’s concerto raised about as much hair on the back of the neck as the music itself.”

Fort Meyers New-Press

“Rarely does one hear an sort of premiere these days; rarer still is the chance to hear a work that will surely, become a major addition to the symphonic repertoire. It is difficult to imagine that both violinists and orchestras won’t seize upon this concerto for its audience-pleasing beauty and its musician-pleasing substance. Ott has produced a three movement work which explores the capabilities of the violin in great depth, making virtuosic demands on the soloist while at the same time allowing room for playfulness, sophistication and emotional freedom. The piece deserves many, many hearings and will certainly bear up under further scrutiny. Ott is a deeply talented composer who is already attracting much attention, as musicians are thirsting for new repertoire that they can dig into with some hope of pleasing their audiences.”

Reading Times

“David Ott, charmed everyone at Sunday’s concert. His humility and humor won the audience over as he talked about stumbling into composing. His music, though, made it clear there was plenty of talent involved, too.”

Lancaster News

“David Ott’s Cello Sonata has written straight faced romanticism, minus any of Schnittke’s irony or Bernstein’s pop sensibility. Ott goes no further than Shostakovich but for all of its shock-of-the-old tactics, the piece is loaded with affable melodies and emotional turbulence.”

Washington Post

“Before a large and enthusiastic crowd, the Decatur-Millikin Symphony and Chorus gave the premiere of David Ott’s oratorio, “Lasting Good.” His style, using the full palette of the orchestra and calling for a choral sound which provided a fascinating and highly personal picture of Illinois. It proved an inspired choice. His oratorio provided a brilliant conclusion to the program.”

Decatur Herald

“The evening was capped off by composer David Ott’s brilliantly-written Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2. It is a breathtaking display of piano virtuosity coupled with orchestra nuance and color.”

Berkshire Telegram and Gazette

David Ott’s Violin Concerto, premiered by New York Philharmonic Associate Concertmaster Charles Rex: “Stunning! Beautiful poetic!! Here’s a work Mr. Average Music-Lover can enjoy even without prior knowledge. Ott belongs to that group of composers concerned with genuine musical communication with today’s audiences. It yields a sense of beauty and emotion, so lacking in music of today’s music. The work combines obvious compositions technique with welcome emotional expression , and at times Ott and Rex held Saturday nights’ audience spellbound with the deep feeling Rex and the orchestra projected. Ott offers depth of expression well beyond his 48 years.”

Reading Eagle

“Ott is a composer with something to say and he says it in a highly original voice. Although Ott seems to have assimilated a variety of influences (one hears echoes of Britten and Shostakovich), his style is uniquely his own.

Bellevue Journal

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