Westmorland Gazette, Brian Paynes

“Katie Stillman (violin) and Simon Lane (piano), recent guests of the Kendal Midday Concert Club, showed themselves to be a wondrously musical chamber partnership. Their programme of violin sonatas by Beethoven (in A, Op 12 No. 2) and Respighi (in B minor, P 110) required a sure technical command of their respective instruments and a complete knowledge of the differing stylistic demands of the two composers.”

“Throughout the Beethoven there was true Classicism with technical sparkle, power, delicacy of touch and beautiful tone always underscoring the delightful interplay between the players. The rarely-performed Respighi, utterly contrasting in idiom and musical content, is a dramatic, passionate work that received an imposing, hugely Romantic, thoroughly convincing and enjoyable reading. Two Josef Suk encores completed the concert.”

 

Six of the Best: a personal choice by Scottish Culture Minister
Phil Miller – The Herald

Linda Fabiani, the Culture Minister, reviews the shows she has seen at the 2008 Edinburgh festivals.

Bach for Breakfast, Royal Overseas League, 100 Princes Street – Katie Stillman, violin, and Todd Yaniw, piano.
“It was a marvellous way to start the day, and I wish I could do that more often.If we could all start the day with music like that then we would all be better off. Maybe if we had some chamber music in the chamber in the Scottish Parliament we would all be nicer to each other.”

Talented duo gets series off to good start
John Packwood, 30/5/08 – The Bristol Evening Post

Katie Stillman (violin)  Simon Lane (piano): St. George’s Bristol

For the first of the summer Thursday lunchtime series, the young talented duo of Katie Stillman and Simon Lane presented two contrasting sonatas.

Ravel’s Sonata in G written in 1927 presents difficulties for both parts and in the first movement the violinist maintained a beautiful long line with some superb playing. Both soloists made a convincing job of the central Blues section whilst in the Perpertuum Mobile, Miss Stillman showed considerable skill and infectious rhythm.

Franck’s Sonata is altogether more straightforward and melodious. The languid opening on the violin prompts the pianist to respond in a grand manner which then leads into a dialogue between the two players.

The fiery allegro is followed by a recitativo which recalls earlier themes before the gentle finale in which the great tune sounded both spontaneous and joyful in their capable hands.

Stillman’s subtle tone and clever choice of tempos were complimented by Lane’s piano part – he proved an inspired partner with some highly polished playing.

What makes a good violin and piano duo?
Tully Potter – The Strad, June 2008

Tully Potter has his question answered by the end of a month’s concert-going.

“In terms of a violin and piano duo, only at the end of the month did I hear a satisfactory combination of players, in a lunchtime recital at St John’s, Smith Square, on 27th March. Then it took only a few bars of Beethoven’s C minor Sonata from pianist Simon Lane for me to sense that I was going to hear a real partnership with violinist Katie Stillman. This young Canadian studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, where she got to know Lane. I thought she drew a beautiful line in the first two movements of the Beethoven, and I liked the viola-like plangency of her middle register……….

She and Lane characterised all four movements of the Beethoven vividly and always chose apt tempos, which they sustained well. Three pieces from Britten’s Suite op.6 made a change, especially the lyrical “lullaby”, coloured imaginatively by Stillman. I enjoyed Ravel’s Sonata more than I usually do, because the artists seemed so sure of what they were doing.”

Philip Dukes – March 2007 – Royal Overseas League

“I had the pleasure of hearing Katie a number of times during the Royal Overseas League Annual Music Competition where she was a recent prizewinner. I was struck by her sensitive and passionate musicianship matched by an excellent technique, the result being utterly persuasive performances by a young artist of immense talent. Katie was able to demonstrate a consumate understanding of a wide range of music from more mainstream repertoire to contemporary techniques all delivered with real aplomb and integrity. Her performance of Lutoslawski’s “Subito” was particularly impressive and this was the view shared by the whole jury. She creates a wide range of colours and textures in her playing and is an excellent ensemble player and I would strongly urge any organisation that is in a position to help further this outstanding talent to do so without reservation. It is surely a worthy investment in such a fine young musician.”

Philip Dukes FGSM, HonARAM Professor Viola and Chamber Music, Royal Academy of Music and Head of Strings, Wells Cathedral School.

Concert reviews – London
Tim Homfray – The Strad, March 2007

“With the New Year came the Park Lane Group’s Young Artists Series, which since 1971 has been providing a platform for both new talent and contemporary music. On 8 January at the Purcell Room violinist Katie Stillman and pianist Simon Lane performed Paul Whitmarsh’s 2006 All these confessions…, in which Stillman negotiated her way through a cornucopia of special effects, ending with deliberately scrunching overplaying, and found a certain winsome melancholia along the way. She was equally adept in the double-stopped ferocity of Colin Mathews’s Chaconne with Chorale and Moto Perpetuo of 1988, where she also drew out mellifluous lines in an urgent musical landscape. There was luminous, gentle playing in Takemitsu’s From far beyond chrysanthemums and November fog, and panache and authority in Lutoslawski’s Subito, a late work marrying frantic moto perpetuo with vigorous melody.”

Park Lane Group, Purcell Room, London
Keith Potter 11/1/07 – The Independent

“……the Canadian violinist Katie Stillman and the pianist Simon Lane offered alert, sensitive and mature performances in a nicely planned programme of late 20th-century works…..”

PLG Young Artists New Year Series – 8th January 2007
Colin Anderson – classicalsource.com

“Following pieces by Colin Matthews (Chaconne with Chorale: sinuous and eloquent; and Moto Perpetuo: driving) and Toru Takemitsu (From Far Beyond Chrysanthemums and November Fog: ethereal, poetic and exquisite), the latter finding Stillman accurate and expressive in the highest registers, Lutos?awski’s masterly Subito (one of his last works, from 1994) was given a quite brilliant performance revealing the music’s web of fantasy and energy in the most compelling way”

PLG Young Artists – Purcell Room
Richard Morrison 10/1/07 – The Times

“Stillman and Lane held their nerve and revealed exemplary technique in Lutoslawski’s explosive and fiendishly testing Subito. …….”

Fanfares and Moonbeams
Nick Kimberley 9/1/07 – Evening Standard

“Park Lane Group’s annual Young Artists series is a valuable showcase for emerging talent, and a bracing way to unblock ears still clogged with pre-Christmas pap. The chosen repertoire does not draw large audiences but the players’ commitment, like their skill, is plain to see.
Pianist Simon Lane and violinist Katie Stillman kicked off last night’s first concert with Paul Whitmarsh’s All Those Confessions…, as angular as the Patrick Caulfield images that provide its title. It became something mysterious and allusive within a deliberately restricted palette of colours; Lane and Stillman caught its shifting moods, now mournful and keening, now strident. In Witold Lutoslawski’s Subito, the two instruments jostled for prominence before collapsing in a perfectly judged sonic heap”

Wigmore Hall, 20th February 2006
Geoffrey Norris – The Daily Telegraph

“The second part of this shared recital, presented by the Tillett Trust Young Artists’ Platform, was perhaps more traditional but no less striking. The violinist Katie Stillman and pianist Simon Lane played Beethoven, Lutoslawski and Elgar in a way that commanded attention not just for its technical adroitness but also for its stylistic acumen. Tone and temperament were shrewdly pitched for Beethoven’s A minor Sonata Op 23, capturing the music’s spry propulsion in the first movement and its restless unease in the last.

Lutoslawski’s Subito transcends its original function as a competition exercise, its testing contrasts of dynamics, touch and articulation distilled into a pungent miniature. Stillman and Lane performed it with a sharply focused spectrum of mood, and in Elgar’s E minor Sonata combined tenderness, wistful nostalgia and red-blooded passion in an interpretation of terrific distinction and compelling emotional force.”

Honiton Festival 2006
John Dalton, 24th May 2006 – Midweek Herald

“Katie Stillman, with pianist Simon Lane, provided stimulating accounts of sonatas by Mozart, Brahms and Debussy”

Young Artist’s Platform Fairfield Hall, 31st May 2005
Howard Thomas – Croydon Advertiser

The Canadian violinist Katie Stillman began the first half of the programme impressively with a tour de force by the Begian composer, Eugene Ysaye (1858-1931), in No. 4 of his tough Six Sonatas. Musically they are none-too-special echoes of former times but a performer who can bring them to life as can Stillman makes them sound possibly more special than they deserve.

Joined by the fine pianist Simon Lane, there followed a vivid account of Beethoven’s Sonata opus 12 no.3. This expressively driven duo breathed fresh air into the music as it passed from player to player.

Young Artist’s Platform Fairfield Hall, 31st May 2005
Howard Thomas – Croydon Advertiser

The Canadian violinist Katie Stillman began the first half of the programme impressively with a tour de force by the Begian composer, Eugene Ysaye (1858-1931), in No. 4 of his tough Six Sonatas. Musically they are none-too-special echoes of former times but a performer who can bring them to life as can Stillman makes them sound possibly more special than they deserve.

Joined by the fine pianist Simon Lane, there followed a vivid account of Beethoven’s Sonata opus 12 no.3. This expressively driven duo breathed fresh air into the music as it passed from player to player.