“While Palestinian-Israeli pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar navigated the work’s glittering runs and crisp flourishes with a light, elegant touch, his interpretation was most impressive for its emotional sophistication.
The andante was approached with delicate introspection, the solo line emerging with almost reluctant spontaneity before building to a painfully hushed fervour. The final movement captured all the frenetic madness of youth, Ashkar drawing out the contrasting flashbacks to the first movement’s elegance and lingering in the brief melancholic stillness that precedes the frenzied rush to the finish line.
As an encore, Ashkar gave a gently hesitant rendition of Traumerei from Schumann’s Kinderszenen, brilliantly capturing the work’s fragility and nostalgia.”
Eamonn Kelly, The Australian, 5 May 2014