“Brilliant talent – he can be proud of it in front of all world.”
“For the first time we heard Shapovalov in Munich, he was playing Tchaikovsky. Since that time Maya /Plissetskaya/ and me consider him one of the best performers and the best cellist of today.”
“Denis Shapovalov possesses a rare inspired and poetic gift, splendid music orientation, great sensitivity of the ensemble, the ability of penetrating, exposing and delivering the composers concept to the audience.”
Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger (Germany)
“He plays with great, extraordinary musicality: it’s a true song of soul.”
Time and Music
“Performance of a mature cellist Denis Shapovalov became a real adornment of the concert. He merged into the united whirlwind of brilliant passages with the conductor Yuri Bashmet and his orchestra. Cellist’s true mastery was revealed in the ability to tower above the virtuosity and to give the audience minutes of genuine enjoying the Music.”
Oxford Times (UK)
“Shapovalov is a deeply thoughtful player.”
“Denis Shapovalov made an excellent impression with his own vigour, taste, technical brilliance. What he does is exciting, sincere, vivid and sovereign. That is what we call “God’s Gift”.
“Shapovalov didn’t lose a visual contact for a moment with the orchestra. Between him, the conductor, the first violin and other musicians all the time as if it has been tense a connecting thread. Remarkably excellent playing!”
The News Journal (USA)
“Shapovalov’s performance does reveal his youthful enthusiasm and aggressive musicianship. It’s a young virtuoso of much promise and a secure future.”
Moscow Musical Herald
”Speaking about Schumann’s Concerto, too bad not everyone heard Shapovalov’s playing. It was a mature and absolutely sincere performance, of which any soloist could be proud and which could be a diamond in the records collection of any music recording company.”
Da capo al fine
“Being a conductor comes natural to Shapovalov – his outstanding musicianship manifests itself in this role as well. His keen musical sense, refinement, vibrancy and confidence on the stage are now accompanied by imperative conductor’s gestures.
Far from everybody can act as a conductor and a performing musician in one concert, while Shapovalov had been easily changing these two roles throughout the evening. At the end of the first part he artfully performed Haydn’s concert, playing and conducting at the same time, which fascinated the listeners.
Rheinische Post (Germany)
“He plays with his eyes closed, completely immersed in the sound of his instrument. With great assurance, easily, without any visible effort, the musician performs virtuoso passages, but in the first place he reveals himself as an impeccably refined musician and master of melodism.”
“He masterly led the orchestra standing at the conductor’s desk. His particular manner –expressive body movements and gestures, wide range of facial expressions and self-abandonment – did not fly under habitual academic rules. Shapovalov’s charisma and vigor just won the hearts of the audience”.
In terms of orchestration, Shapovalov’s Symphony fantasy turned out to be impeccable: powerful tutti, graceful solos and dialogues of instrumental groups demonstrated his excellent compositional knowledge. This postmodern cascade miraculously did not crumble into small details, thanks to its compact form and unified symphonic development
“After reading the names of three parts of the concert in the program – “Joseph rocks”, “Adagio a la Baroque” and “Rhythms of Life” – one might guess that there apparently would be no academic concert.
A classic, almost Vienese beginning of the modern concert sounded somewhat surprisingly – it turned out that the author tended mostly to melodism and harmony. Through experiments with genres, tunes and coloring Shapovalov found his own musical language distinguished by vivid imagery and some kind of theatricality.
Shapovalov skillfully juggled various musical genres without losing the listeners’ attention even for a moment, rushing from Baroque with its swellbow strokes and acoustic effect of an echo to rock with expressive riffs and growling quints.
Shapovalov as a performer possesses skillful technique and special attitude towards cello timbre and he brought out his full potential in his new composition. The orchestra, being inspired by the soloist’s enthusiasm, literally followed his every movement. A virtuoso rapid-fire final which stunned the audience by its drive suddenly gave way to an elegant waltz, then to a beautiful lyrical theme and ended triumphally with a citation from Schubert’s String quintet in C-major.
The very name of the concert – “Concerto di Bravura” contains the author’s self-irony. This “bravura” is well-deserved and fully-justified though: the author is in his element both as a composer and as a performer among all musical styles and genres that are represented in the concert. After the tremendous ovation the orchestra performed “A little night music” by Mozart which sounded like “encore”.
New prominent compositions seldom refill cello repertoire and the musician took the wheel. Now the concert which the Conservatoire received as a gift for its anniversary has a chance of going down to history not only as a composition written in record short time but also as a composition which you would listen again and again.”
“The task shifted to the orchestral accompaniment of Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo Variations”; it did not confuse Shapovalov who had been playing the leading part, but made him act like Don Quixote – sometimes amusing, sometimes thrilling the audience by sudden transformations of small into big, of inconspicuous into significant, of transient into essential.
In Shapovalov’s sound we may hear – if not see – immensity and tenderness, sultry tremolos and romance. The risky choice of Tchaikovsky’s “Variations” turned out to be the most modern, lively and prankish experiment.
And then came innumerable “encores” — spicy Gershwin’s “Clara’s lullaby”, electrified Adagio from Mozart’s Symphony No. 13, Nocturne with Adagio sostenuto from Tchaikovsky’s String quartet No. 2 and even Piazzola’s Libertango.
Having thrown a scarlet scarf over his neck at some moment and playing a “star”, Shapovalov thus humorously dispelled his “stardom” in front of your very eyes, while also being mindful of charming the audience by academic calories and rocker’s drive wherever necessary.
Denis never lost control over his actions: he frightened the people pretending to throw his cello from the stage, scenically finished his solos by raising his bow into the air and no less scenically made selfies with other musicians while the audience roared in applause. It was lively, playfully, cheerfully and made the people in the auditorium and on the stage feel the sense of community.
Only one thing was absent which is an invincible obstacle to perception of music and real human relationships — even a hint at rivalry and glorification of his own figure as a victorious hero.
Such final of the first festival day let everybody speak about European spirit of the festival in Kazan.”
“Rock vs Rococo” Project Reviews
“There was real drive and energy in the Rock Symphony, while there was not any electric instrument on the stage! Rock-Rococo Variations became a powerful energetic cocktail from different epochs and styles.”
“To taste different cultures and mix “ingredients” – is Shapovalov’s credo. He is in a constant search, charging everyone with his inexhaustible energy.”
“Hard rock and gallant rococo are opposite styles. Especially surprising was their combining in the project of the Tchaikovsky Competition winner. Tchaikovsky was performed impeccably. And then Shapovalov took electric cello and exploded with rock reefs. Who won the battle of rock and rococo? Of course, the audience – cheering in the first part and delightfully screaming in the second.”
Krakow Proms Festival Director Mariusz Szimansky
“Denis in a classical repertoire – it’s a pleasure of the highest performance mastery. In Rock-variations there is a balance between different styles surprisingly organically observed. We received many rave reviews from the audience!”
“Above the Earth” Project Reviews
“Shapovalov aspires to unite universalism and perfectionism, academic forms and up-to-date technologies. His show became a real revelation of the Moscow Biennale of Performing Arts.”
“Shapovalov’s multimedia show– it is new classics in colors.”
“The premiere of the multimedia show took place at the Moscow International Performance Arts Center. The hall was totally full: the audience was really curious to hear what music can be offered by a classical performer, who has never studied composition.
The musicians’ enthusiasm passed on to the audience. The video and light effects worked as a setting – the emphasis was placed on Shapovalov’s music, which is difficult to describe or to compare with anything.
The different music styles – classics, jazz, rock, pop, avant-garde, – were sown at the fertile field and yielded amazing fresh fruit. There is good reason to believe, that an absolute new trend in musical art was born, and it has a rare set of characteristics – bright, deep, interesting, and at the same time is very comfortable for different audiences’ perception.”
“At this concert the hall was crowded out. The cellist Denis Shapovalov is well-known and loved by the audience – he puts on his eccentric soutane and comes to perform Don Quixote or any other academic repertoire. He does this marvelously. However, as it turns out, his soul is not totally full only with classical music.
Most of the program was slow and melodious. Those items, which were made in the spirit of the energetic instrumental rock, sounded very catching. The existing group was vivid and well coordinated, and the performance was quite well prepared.
Shapovalov is a modesty model – doesn’t call himself a composer, just a music author. He thinks not a banal melody and of course his cello narrates it with a heartfelt cantilena. Sometimes it growls and dances with syncope, no worse than a bass guitar.
We don’t have ensembles like Kronos-quartet, which confidently strides from classic to rock and back. Shapovalov ventured and succeeded. Tomorrow he again will play classical music.”
“In the Shapovalov’s show, which was organized with a good drive and taste, the multimedia load was placed on his cello. The two-part music performance consisted of separate romantic pieces with names like “Above the city”, “Lonely tango”, etc. Due to Shapovalov’s musical opuses we could watch phenomenal cello’s capabilities to be a queen of different styles – from classics to blues, from rock to pop, from jazz to psychedelics and minimalism. The concert of the classical musicians, who used different sounds, images and roles, was truly first-rate.”
Performances with pianist A.Vershinin Reviews
La nouvelle republique (France)
“Don’t sit at home, go and listen to them, it’s worth it! Hats off for your talent, gentlemen Russian musicians!”
“Shapovalov and Vershinin form an incomparable duo! Сello and piano seem to sound like one instrument. That is astounding!”
The Advocate (USA)
“They play together with an interlocking instinct, a union of style, temperament and understanding, that is exciting to experience. Both are the masters of their instruments.”