The U.S. press described maestro Frank Fernández as a virtuoso with complete command of the piano and a great power of communication, after his performance at the famous Ravinia Festival, in Chicago.
John Von Rhein, the city’s most important music critic, praised the concert repertory, noting the musicians “grounding in both the standard classical repertory and in Cuban and Latin American vernacular music.”
The pieces he chose allowed him to demonstrate his strong technique and “penchant for kicking up floods of Lisztian bravura,” noted Von Rhein in a review for the Chicago Tribune.
The expert described his set dedicated toChopin – consisting of three Waltzes and the Ballade No. 1 in G minor, as “impressive and idiosyncratic.”
Fernández also presented pieces by Ernesto Lecuona which according to Rhein “merge classical and popular idioms in such an inventive, pianistic way as to render genre distinctions irrelevant.”
The critic also noted that “A suite of Afro-Cuban and Spanish-style dances by the pianist’s countryman Ernesto Lecuona and Fernandez’s own “Suite for Two Pianos,” both dispatched with verve and flair, gave his recital a big splash of Cuban musical color.”
Various U.S. media outlets reported on the prize winning pianist’s successful show, highlighting his training at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.
They also recalled Fernández’s recent concert in Havana supported by the Minnesota Symphonic Orchestra, positively received by the public.
According to the press, during the Ravinia Festival the pianist treated the audience to his own version of Somewhere Over the rainbow, one of the most emblematic songs of U.S. cinema, and speaking in Spanish invited the crowd to sing alon.