Mozart's famous Piano Concerto in A major, can hardly be described in words. The audience allowed themselves to be charmed by the sensitive and virtuoso performance of the American pianist James Dick and The South Westphalian Philharmonic. The short, dark minor-key melodies alternating with the lively and virtuosic rondo finale offered the soloist and the orchestra every opportunity to excel. The audience greeted the wonderful dancing and lucid presentation with great applause.
-- Siegener Times, May 23, 2016
Mr. Dick’s passion for perfection was evident...Simply beautiful. A superb performance...The pianist was magnificent in his performance of this concerto (Beethoven’s Piano Concerto, No. 5). The emotion of the piece was expressed clearly and masterfully.
-- The Riverside Symphonia
Joining the Cassatt String Quartet was James Dick, the founder of Festival Hill at Round Top and a noted pianist. The program started with the world premiere of Dan Welcher’s Scherzo for Piano Quintet (2011). This work was an accessible contemporary work that deftly wove the quartet passages with the chromatic and fluent piano part, reflecting the fact that the composer had known and worked with Mr. Dick for a long time and used some family references with subtle charm….The Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81 (Dvorak) comprised the second half of the program. This monumental work challenged the performers to be at their very best as they created the rich and colorful sounds required to bring this work to life. The four movements reflected the composer’s penchant for folk-like melodies while exploring the depths of sound that can be produced by the combination of the five instruments. It was the crown jewel of the week’s events…truly a regal concert.
-- Ronald Bennett, Odessa American
But of all the music-making that week, perhaps the most memorable came in a rehearsal of Chopin’s E minor Piano Concerto, when Dick walked out on stage and I heard him play for the first time in several years. Toronto concertgoers with long memories may recall a joint recital he gave at the St. Lawrence Centre with the cellist Yehuda Hanani. It would not have prepared them to experience the lightness of touch and poetic sensibility he brought to Chopin’s first published concerto. Pianists just don’t play Chopin this way these days. Historical accounts suggest that Chopin himself probably did.
-- William Littler, Toronto Star
The Chamber Orchestra Kremlin under its music director, Misha Rachlevsky, returned to town with the pianist James Dick, a beloved figure in San Antonio but too seldom seen here in recent years….Mr. Dick, a consistently thoughtful musician, stressed the autumnal qualities in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto’s opening allegro. In the compact, intensely concentrated slow movement, Mr. Dick responded to the strings’ accusatory taunts with meditative songfulness at first and turned ever more deeply inward, searching. This is not a showy concerto, nor is Mr. Dick a showy pianist, but he produced luxuriously crafted runs in the outer allegros -- his legato runs were like streams of molten gold.
-- Mike Greenberg, Incident Light
Soloist Dick, who originally premiered the piece, handed himself not just intellectually but physically in a manner that reflects his personality – not showy but passionate, dramatic and at the same time as mellow as the gorgeous Steinway that is prepared to his specifications.
-- Gil French, American Record Guide
His interpretation (Beethoven’s Bagatelles Op. 126) emphasized the music’s profundities without neglecting its surface glitter. His "Appasionata" was intense, brilliant. The same balance of thoughtfulness and technical bravura was heard in his performance of Chopin’s Polonaise No. 5.
-- Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post
The sooner Mr. Dick returns to London the better; pianists of this caliber are rare on the South Bank or indeed anywhere else - an artist of such innate musical sensitivity and superlative pianistic skill, establishing an enviable and entirely understandable rapport with the audience.
-- Bryce Morrison, Music and Musicians, London
Many things about Dick's musical and pianistic persona proved reminiscent of his onetime mentor, Clifford Curzon, including a patrician civility and a lucid, beautiful sonority that never becomes harsh but is never bland. There is, too, an architectural proportion that gives even Lisztian bravura passages a sense of purpose and emotional containment... The wonderful C minor Schubert impromptu unfolded with succinct clarity and purpose, its gnashing dissonances potent and poignantly appreciated but never abrasively underlined or exaggerated... The compact, pianistically difficult Beethoven sonata (No.26 in E-flat, Op.81a, "Les Adieux") got a perceptive and cultivated treatment in a shapely, soberly energetic exposition... he gave us all his insights without artifice or clutter... As for Liszt, the work made a proud and serene impression.
-- Harris Goldsmith, American Record Guide (Alice Tully Hall, New York)
James Dick, to whom the work (Benjamin Lees Etudes for piano and orchestra) is dedicated, presents a stunning performance.
-- Walter Simmons,Fanfare
It is a rare privilege to collaborate with an artist whose vision and skill are equally matched by intense humanity. James Dick¹s music making is as pure and heartfelt as it comes. Not a single note is approached casually the entirety of the score is realized down to the smallest passing gesture, and we get the sense that he has absorbed the music directly from the composer. It was also an immense pleasure to perform with a soloist whose sensitivity extends throughout the orchestra, inviting each and every player to share in and learn from the performance.
Music Director, Fort Dodge Area Symphony
Music Director, Central Iowa Symphony
Dmitri Shostakovich, Piano Quintet in g/Gabriel Faure, Piano Quintet in d/ James Dick, piano; Eusia Quartet (RTR013) There is practically nothing to fault in this performance. Balance and ensemble are dead on; tempi are carefully chosen and fit the music like a glove. The string playing is warm and spacious and Mr. Dick piano shines in a glow of silvery elegance. This is some of the most cooperative chamber music playing that I have ever heard, totally devoid of needless show and pretense. It is what fine music making should be playing in service to the music for the purpose of edifying the listener.
-- Kevin Sutton,MusicWeb
Liszt's First Piano Concerto is a bit more familiar to concert-goers, but the Second is deeper, more personal and altogether more beautiful. The Second's meat is its introspective, lyrical poetry. Dick's thoughtful temperament, elegant touch and understated but firm rhetoric kept the emphasis where it belonged, and he was no slouch in the dazzlement department.
-- Mike Greenberg, San Antonio Express News
Dick joined Bussiki and the BVSO in a performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto that one could tell would be wondrous after only its first few measures. Dick’s playing of the opening chords radiated with warmth and devotion. Dick spun his special silvery sound into myriad colors and textures, but plenty of growl was there when it was needed to cut through the full orchestra. His brilliant double and triple trills made memorable decrescendos and ended right on target with Bussiki’s orchestral entries.
-- Penelope Kosztelnyik, The Eagle, College Station, Texas
There followed a graceful, finely spun performance of Mozart's G-major piano concerto, K. 453, featuring James Dick. He gave an unusually expressive, ruminative interpretation of the second movement. The final holds the bright little tune that Mozart's pet starling learned to whistle. Dick's reading of that theme and variations fairly danced with brisk, crystalline passagework.
-- Diane Windeler, San Antonio Express News
Shiva's Drum is the most stimulating new concerto in years. Paired with Welcher's concerto is the Saint-Saens Concerto No. 2 in g. The two works serve as an impressive showcase for the orchestra and pianist James Dick. Dick commissioned 'Shiva's Drum' and his playing seems to encompass all the dimensions of the music. Every composer should be blessed to have a new work performed at this level
-- Bradford Gowen, Piano & Keyboard Magazine
The playing of James Dick was of a caliber that one remembers as an experience of one's lifetime. It was generous and ebullient, with a dash of daredevil showmanship. He displayed his command and understanding of the subtleties of the piece (Tchaikovsky, concerto for piano and orchestra No. 1) and still gave the audience the rousing delivery that has made the composition one of classical music's greatest hits.
-- Abner Burnett, Midland Reporter-Telegram
The high point of the concert was the Lees. It is a brilliant piece. As its title would suggest, it is indeed a series of etudes for both the piano and the orchestra. The soloist, James Dick, gave the first performance of the work about 25 years ago with the Houston Symphony conducted by Lawrence Foster. My tape of that performance did not really prepare me for the impact the work has in concert. Every subtle shading of the work was clearly articulated by the soloist and conductor Robert Spano. It is a virtuoso of the first order. The excitement of the performance, the impact of the work, and an almost immediate standing ovation was further enlivened when the composer appeared on stage.
-- Professor Karl Miller, University of Texas at Austin
Dick is an affable and prodigious narrator of story. -- Antoine Livio, La Lettre du Musicien, Paris
It wasn't just that Dick's technical expertise and artistic savvy gave the solo element a demonstrative profile. His poetic soul infused even the most dramatic moments with a sensibility and inevitability that readily communicated.
-- Jay J. Foraker, Southside Reporter, San Antonio (Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with Robert Spano, conductor)
The performance was charming. Dick played with great care and exquisite musicianship.
-- Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle (Mozart Piano Concerto in A K.488 with Christopher Hogwood, conductor)
There was no lack of big juicy climaxes or powerful sonorities handled masterfully and in good taste in pianist James Dick's performance at the National Gallery.
-- Joan Reinthaler, The Washington Post
A magical musical moment... Pianist's performance of Chopin's 1st was perfection.
-- Eric E. Harrison, Arkansas Democrat and Gazette
In the first part of the evening, we heard Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major by American soloist, pianist James Dick. The soloist provided a clear musical interpretation and carefully communicated with the orchestra and conductor. The performance was beautiful, impressive, and was a moment enjoyed by all.
--Zeljka Surla, Dubrovnik News
At the concert, soloist James Dick from the U.S. performed Beethoven's 5th piano concerto. Despite the rain, he performed Mozart's Symphony No. 39 in E-flat major of Wolfgang Amadeus in the second part of the concert. The delighted audience gave the musicians standing ovations.