Press and Reviews
CBC TOP THIRTY UNDER THIRTY, 2018 (Robert Rowat, CBC Music):
It is not easy for a foreigner to play Chopin in Warsaw - the city of the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition - especially in the hall where CHOPIN Music Salon in Staszic Palace concert series takes place on a regular basis. In Poland, even someone who is not a music lover learns about Chopin either in the cradle or, in the least, it is impossible for them to get on an aeroplane of Polish airlines, a long-distance train or sit on a bench in Krakowskie Przedmieście without hearing Chopin’s music… After all, Chopin is considered to be a representation, an emanation and the quintessence of Polishness. Is it then possible for a foreigner to play Chopin if they were raised without Polish willows, kujawiaks and obereks?
A Canadian, Jarred Dunn, is one of the people who can. His concert, on the 30th of March 2019 in the Mirror Hall (PL: Sala lustrzana) was a big cultural event that brought not only aesthetic sensations, but also showed the work of a genius Polish composer in a broader - considering both time and space - perspective. Of course, the playing of the brilliant Canadian performer did not lack the “Polishness” that he had a chance to learn thoroughly from the best Polish teachers during his Master’s Studies in Katowice or later in Bydgoszcz. The “Polishness” was audible in every piece: from Nocturne in C minor op. 48 with its drama that was built by the pianist from the very first chords and the tragic ending, through Scherzo in E major op. 54, played with a great sensitivity, brilliant sound and technical mastery, to the brilliant Polonaise Fantaisie op. 61, a piece that is very complex harmonically and difficult in many aspects.
In every piece Jarred Dunn showed his virtuosity, amazing sense of style, elegance and noble - but not excessive - sensitivity, passion - without being pathetic, beautiful piano and powerful forte, melodious - but not sugary - cantilena, broad phrasing and very rich, nuanced range of sounds.
But this is not all. Suddenly, when listening to Dunn’s playing, I heard not only the romantic side of Chopin who took off the classical corset; I also heard Debussy’s Clair de Lune and even preludes of Scriabin, who - according to the legend - used Chopin’s scores as a pillow.
There was something more in the Canadian’s playing that was very familiar to me, as a freethinker: the kind of reflection, afterthought and doubt about humans, their passions and dramas. In the centre of Chopin’s music, there stands a man with his emotions, happiness, but also his tragic fate. I was listening attentively to the humanist music, for which God is an “unnecessary hypothesis” and in which the mysticism, sometimes ascribed to Chopin, appears to be a very rich fantasy of the composer and the performer.
It was an amazing recital, performed by a prominent Chopin interpreter. It helped the audience realise once again that this entirely Polish music - just like any great art - belongs to the world cultural heritage.
-The Atheist Review, Nina Sankari (Warsaw)
(translated by Patryk Czyż)
"Undoubtedly, one of the most important and powerful moments of the concert was the performance of the ever-growing pianist Jarred Dunn...the 1st place winner of the VII International F. Chopin Piano Competition in Vilnius...Jarred Dunn, the critically-acclaimed Canadian pianist, who, it has been said, is an evocative, technically-perfect virtuoso, revealed all of this on the stage of St. Catherine's Church this evening. The audience expected much from F. Chopin's musical pearls, the Four Scherzi Op. 20 (b minor), Op. 31 (b-flat minor), Op. 39 (c-sharp minor) and Op. 54 (E major). Mr. Dunn's interpretations are admirable; he has subtle, refined sound, and an impeccable technique; spiritual and uplifting performance. He is a warmly acclaimed performer who can be deservedly called a piano sound color magician."
-Muzikos Barai, Vilnius, Ingrida Milasiute
"A virtuoso with the most exquisite touch. Exactly the way Chopin ought to be played -- he would have approved, too."
-Freethought Today, Annie Laurie Gaylor
"Particular attention was drawn to young Canadian pianist Jarred Dunn, who performed the popular D Minor Concerto of Mozart. Invited on the recommendation of the conductor, the Canadian pianist demonstrated on the stage not only technically perfect performance, but attentive listeners felt his understanding of Mozart's style, in a perfect ensemble with orchestra, with a subtle and deep inner experience created by a real musician."
-First Channel of the Belarusian Radio, Tatyana Yakusheva
"Jarred Dunn's Etude-Tableau in C Minor Op. 33 no. 3...changes of mood are presented with no earthly attachments and even something nebulous: they are perishable like a breath, a spark that soon vanishes, only flares for a moment of pure being. A very emotional lecture."
-Murrhardter Zeitung, Von Petra Neumann
"Jarred Dunn is a person who possesses extraordinary ability in many aspects beside his talent as a musician and concert pianist...I consider him to be an important musician, pianist, scholar, and writer within the great art of serious music. Audiences enjoy Mr. Dunn's discussion and analysis of such works as the Liszt Sonata, Chopin Ballades, Mozart Concertos..."
-David Dubal, WWFM: The Classical Network
“The Engulfed Cathedral, as played by Jarred Dunn, was evocative and mystical, and both the buildup, as the cathedral rose out of the sea, and the descent, as it went back into the water, were impressively done."
-New York Classical Music Guide, Donald Isler
“A brave interpreter of Mozart with fresh ideas, Mr. Dunn keeps the audience’s interest with a fine technique, appealing interpretations, and intriguing presence.”
-Erki Pehk, conductor, Artistic Director of OperaProms
"A true philosopher, who searches for the truth behind everything he does."
-Seymour Bernstein, Steinway Artist