R E V I E W S  &  A R T I C L E S

Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time - Out of Hardship came this musical triumph


The Age - Tony Way

Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, July 3,

Sophie Rowell (violin), Josephine Vains (cello), Philip Arkinstall (clarinet)

Good things can emerge from difficult times. The Melbourne Digital Concert Hall has scored an impressive century, notching up 100 broadcasts in just over 3 months of coronavirus lockdown and raising more than $420,000 for the musicians it hosted.

Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time was an apt choice to celebrate this milestone; not because of its apocalyptic associations, but because this seminal work was first performed in a German prisoner-of-war camp nearly 80 years ago.

Even in the most sympathetic environment, Messiaen’s deeply personal vision is a highly demanding work. Pianist Kristian Chong with violinist Sophie Rowell, cellist Josephine Vains and clarinettist Philip Arkinstall eagerly rose to its many challenges; their considerable nuance and passion made for a memorable, deeply engaging performance. Throughout the work’s 50-minute trajectory, the players were always alert to the score’s many subtleties of rhythm, dynamics, tempo and timbre, building up a brightly coloured soundscape.

Virtuosic brilliance constantly served poignant expression. In Abyss of the Birds, the third-movement showpiece for solo clarinet, Arkinstall vividly realised the music’s struggle between time and eternity. Like the composer’s beloved birds, he negotiated the dizzying leaps between registers with consummate agility. Messiaen’s ecstatic view of eternal love is evoked with two long, sensuous melodies, one for cello and another for violin. Vains and Rowell delivered these with fearless, soaring tone, empathetically supported by Chong.

Like Messiaen’s mystical masterpiece, the vital work of MDCH reminds us of the uplifting power of music in what may seem like apocalyptic times.

Rachmaninoff Paganini Rhapsody, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra 8 March 2019

The Age, 11 March 2019

FANTASY AND THE FIREBIRD, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Town Hall, 8 March 2019

Under the baton of Benjamin Northey, this exploration of musical storytelling was bookended by two explicitly narrative works alongside a trio of evocative pieces sending each listener on their own imaginative flight of fancy. In addition to these orchestral fables, the evening also seemed to tell another story. At the heart of many a good yarn is the battle between good and evil.

Pianist Kristian Chong came to the rescue with technical brilliance in Sergei Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Next to more grandstanding artists, Chong may not be the most physically expressive performer, but with playing of this clarity and dramatic intent, there was little need for gesticulatory theatrics.

Great Performers: Satu Vanska and Kristian Chong, Melbourne Recital Centre

The Age, 22 Feb 2019

Melbourne Recital Centre ★★★★ - Great performers indeed: A program of heavyweights

Violinist Satu Vanska isn’t one to be pigeon-holed. The Finnish-born principal of the Australian Chamber Orchestra is a fearlessly liminal artist, who has often defied the rusted-on stereotypes of classical performance. Rejecting the tried and true tactic of leaning on crowd-pleasers and potboilers with an occasional tangential nod to more obscure repertoire, the selection for her Great Performers recital, alongside pianist Kristian Chong, avoided the obvious in favour of the surprising.

A program spanning more than 250 years, with four heavyweight masterworks by Bach, Beethoven and Ravel flanked by two modern marvels by Lutoslawski and Saariaho, offered a showcase for every facet of Vanska’s musical identity: technician,  curator, innovator,  virtuoso.

This dexterity seemed to operate on both the macro and micro scales, in the hopscotching variety of music and the fine detail of its execution. Vanska proved capable of multiple displays of interpretive ingenuity in virtually every bar, while Chong’s understanding of the subtle inflections that shifted the piano’s presence from that of an equal partner to a supportive accompaniment tallied in perfect sync with Vanska’s meticulous approach.

Lunar New Year: Memories from Childhood (Southern Cross Soloists) QPAC

Limelight Magazine, Dr Gemma Regan 17 February 2019

A vibrant and eclectic blend of two contrasting cultures to create a unique and exhilarating concert.

Concert Hall, QPAC, Reviewed on February 17, 2019 by Dr Gemma Regan

Lunar New Year: Memories from Childhood is the first of the three-concert program for 2019 by the Southern Cross Soloists and was an eclectic fusion, featuring animal-inspired Western music with selections from Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, Chinese folk songs, and the world premiere of Carnival of the Chinese Animals, by Lyle Chan exploring the Chinese Zodiac. Special guest soloists included cellist Li-Wei Qin, pianist Kristian Chong and international erhu master George Gao. This daring program of Chinese folksongs interspersed with Carnival of the Animals in the first half was exciting and delightful, blending two contrasting cultures to create a unique and exhilarating concert.


A highlight was the world premiere of Chan’s Carnival of the Chinese Animals, narrated by Jordan Schulte. Inspired by Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, it tells the Chinese folk tale of how each animal was placed by Buddha in their positions of the zodiac based on a race between the animals to cross a river. The intelligent, yet cunning rat came first by hitching a ride on the oxen’s back and pushing the cat into the water, whereas the pig was last as it ate and napped before wading across the river.

After such an incredible collection of compositions, the finale highlighted excerpts of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. The Southern Cross Soloists presented a sensational, energetic concert showcasing the diversity of musical styles from the Orient and Europe interspersed with poignant childhood memories of the Lunar New Year celebrations.

Kristian Chong and Friends - Brahms and Tchaikovsky

Brahms and Tchaikovsky - 16 May 2018, Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre

Kristian Chong, well known to Australian audiences as piano recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician has, not surprisingly, gathered a stellar cast of collaborators for his Kristian Chong and Friends concerts to be held at the Melbourne Recital Centre in 2018. This season’s concerts kicked off with one of Australia’s most international artists, Singapore-based cellist Li-Wei Qin headlining a formidable quartet in a program of Brahms and Tchaikovsky. Li-Wei and Kristian were joined by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Concertmaster Natsuko Yoshimoto and the ASO’s Associate Principal Viola Imants Larsens.

In the first half, Brahms’ Piano Quartet No 3 in C minor was presented with persuasive authority from the outset. With the cellist centrally placed amongst the string protagonists, Qin’s innate musicianship and humanely rich tone projected effortlessly into the auditorium, most penetratingly at the beginning of the third movement Andante, which subsequently unfolded as if it were a genial conversation between long-standing intimates. Throughout, Chong was a model of tonal restraint, always providing resonant harmonic support while never swamping his colleagues in what can, in less expert hands, become overly dense textures. The fourth movement in particular was notable for the delicacy of Chong’s gossamer-like touch.

But it was the vast canvas that is Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A minor that was the great success of the evening. Its prevailing pathos was convincingly captured in the opening movement Pezzo elegiaco, Qin’s plaintive cello featuring prominently. Throughout his career Tchaikovsky was intrigued by variation form and the second movement of this trio – a theme and twelve distinctly characterized variations revealed Tchaikovsky’s capacity to highlight the three instrumentalists both individually and collectively. With the more transparent textures and often more soloistic writing available in the trio format, Yoshimoto’s unerring pitch and well-directed vibrato shone through effortlessly.


Complemented by Qin’s languidly expressive bowing and equally deft left hand, this was a performance in equal parts rapturous, beguiling and humorous. Chong’s unfailing technical command of what is a dauntingly difficult piano part served the trio well, ever-sensitive as it was to the continually shifting roles between supportive background, interlocutory middle-ground and texture-leading fore-ground. This was a thoroughly engaging reading by three equal partners each reveling in the opportunity to come together to share their collective musical conception of this most challenging and intriguing of chamber masterpieces.


A most satisfying evening of collaborative music-making.

Kristian Chong and Friends - Mozart Plus Brahms

20 November 2017 - Classic Melbourne, Glenn Riddle. https://www.classicmelbourne.com.au/reviews/kristian-chong-friends/

Kristian Chong is not only one of Australia’s busiest and most versatile pianists, he is also one of its finest, so it was no surprise that he was able to assemble a stellar cast of friends and colleagues to present the latest recital in his popular chamber music series held at the Melbourne Recital Centre. On this occasion it was a packed Salon on November 20, 2017, a balmy Monday night to hear works by Mozart and Brahms. This space provides the perfect environs to experience the intimacy of chamber music, and on this occasion no one left disappointed.

For the opening work, Chong was joined by The Philharmonia’s Assistant Concertmaster Rebecca Chan. Mozart’s unusually structured two-movement Sonata in G major for Piano and Violin K379 was composed in just under an hour. The first movement opens with a broad, majestic Adagio in G major, which segues unexpectedly into a more virile G minor Allegro. This is followed by the second and final movement – a delicate, light-hearted set of variations. Unlike many of the earlier sonatas where the violin has almost an incidental role, the violin is very much an equal partner in the musical discourse of the G major Sonata and Chan’s warm tone and tastefully restrained vibrato was perfectly suited to the opening Adagio. Her nuanced lyricism was matched by Chong, who provided eloquent support throughout. Chong’s rippling scales and perfectly judged articulation were a highlight of the ensuing Allegro. Chan and Chong then proved to be well-matched duettists in the variations, each respectfully taking their turn in the musical dialog, leading and answering as the music dictated, in what was a dynamically well-proportioned, lyrical finale. Variation 1, with its tacet violin, and Variation 5, where the violin accompanies pizzicato, revealed Chong’s effortless gift for understated cantabile.

Brahms’ Piano Quartet No 1 in G minor was premiered by the composer’s great friend and putative muse, Clara Schumann in 1861. Here Chong was joined by violinist Chan, MSO violist Christopher Moore and MSO cellist Rachael Tobin. Much of the writing pits the piano against the strings but the musical protagonists were well matched as they euphoniously explored the turbulent passion of the opening movement. The welcome prominence of Moore’s viola lent a vivid richness to the texture. Throughout, phrases dovetailed seamlessly, and where the strings played in rhythmic unison, as was often the case, dynamic gradations were as one.


But it was perhaps in the Rondo alla Zingarese finale that the four players best revealed their chamber chops. The densely textured finale that so often seems to strive for symphonic dimensions was masterfully handled, perfectly capturing the Hungarian Czardas style in what was a well-paced Presto. Exciting, yet never in danger of losing control, (as is too often the case in live performances of this movement), this was chamber music making at its finest, four distinctive musical voices coming together, seemingly relishing their new roles, and the urgency of the unfolding musical argument. It brought the concert to a stirring conclusion.

“Celebrity soloist and friends” concerts often have a certain frisson as individual players, notwithstanding their respective talents and collegial goodwill, may or may not be accustomed to playing with each other in a chamber context. Moreover, they are often brought together with limited rehearsal time in an effort to develop a unified voice. On this occasion however, this quartet of friends and colleagues played as though they were a seasoned ensemble, minus the ennui, and indeed appeared to enjoy the experience as much as their appreciative audience did.

Dale Barltrop and Kristian Chong - Elder Hall Lunch Hour Series

6 October 2017, Elder Hall, University of Adelaide

Dale Barltrop and Kristian Chong make a dream team on sonatas by Schubert and Corigliano

Adelaide Advertiser, Rodney Smith


Dale Barltrop and Kristian Chong make something of a dream team as a violin and piano duo.

This short lunch hour recital of sonatas by Schubert and Corigliano benefited from their shared musical vision and performance style that cut through challenges with confidence, precision and nuanced musical colourations in perfect harmony together. The tensile strength and polish they bring to their interpretations especially suited Corigliano’s Sonata, a big, bold outdoorsy piece of 1960s Americana with more than the occasional touch of Bernstein and Stravinsky in its pounding rhythmical ostinatos and edgy melodic shapes. Both players were on song every inch of the way, the white heat drama of its two inner movements balanced by the lyricism and high-octane velocity of the outer movements with no-holds-barred virtuosity.

There was always much to admire en route as this talented duo showed how blended intentions and polished playing can make a violin and piano duo sound totally natural.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra - Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No.2

27/28 July 2017, Melbourne Town Hall

MSO: Benjamin Northey conducts Enigma Variations. Reviewer: Glenn Riddle



It is always a joy to return to the Melbourne Town Hall to hear the Melbourne Symphony, especially to hear such a late nineteenth-century focused program that seem so concordant with the Town Hall’s imposing Victorian architecture. Whatever the acoustic foibles of our grand Swanston Street dame, there is always a sense of splendor and occasion whenever the MSO returns to its former home base...

Then came Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No 2 with guest soloist Kristian Chong. Saint-Saens himself was a mightily gifted pianist and this is evident in the unrelenting virtuosity in each of his five piano concertos. The Second Concerto, the most popular, is somewhat unusually structured opening with what is essentially a slow movement, before settling into a brisk Mendelssohnian scherzo-like second movement, finally culminating in a whirlwind tarantella finale.

Kristian Chong has established a solid reputation as one of Australia’s leading pianists with a performance portfolio that embraces an enormous range of chamber repertoire, virtuoso concertos, as well as distinctive solo recitals that have taken him around the world. Chong quickly established why this is such a well-deserved reputation with the Bach-inspired solo cadenza that opens the concerto. His rich tone filled the Town Hall, realizing the broad quasi-improvised lines with an assured sense of soloistic élan that augured well for what was to follow. Chong brought an appropriately Gallic refinement to the remainder of the movement highlighting its elegance and lyricism. Light-fingered dexterity served Saint-Saens well in the second movement. Impeccable clarity enabled the nimble elfin-like textures to emerge effortlessly, and these contrasted well with the rambunctious swing of the second theme. The thrilling Presto finale was taken at break-neck speed, yet never threatened to fray at the edges, as both soloist and orchestra, each displaying technical assurance and rhythmic tautness, worked together in perfect unanimity of purpose, exploring the movement’s shifting moods and textures.

Chong gave a masterful reading of this popular concerto, and his complete control of the expressive and technical demands of this style leads one to hope to hear him at some later date in Saint-Saens’ Fourth Piano Concerto, a too-little-heard masterpiece. As a welcome encore, Chong gave a translucent reading of Rachmaninoff’s wistfully lyrical Prelude in G major.

This was a performance to savour, perfectly suited to the environs, and the almost capacity audience responded accordingly, with enthusiasm and perhaps with a tinge of nostalgia.

Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini - Canberra Symphony Orchestra

2 and 3 November 2016

 Llewellyn Hall, November 2. Reviewed by Clinton White


Conductor - Nicholas Milton


'Soloist Kristian Chong… nothing short of brilliant'

It was time to open the piano for a performance of Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”, a demanding work of a theme and 24 variations for piano and orchestra, based on Paganini’s diabolically difficult “Caprice No 24” for solo violin, itself a theme followed by a set of 11 variations and a finale.

The soloist, Kristian Chong, was nothing short of brilliant, giving a heartfelt performance of extraordinary beauty and sensitivity with finely controlled expression, tempi and touch. The famous 18th variation was especially moving, played with deep thoughtfulness holding the capacity audience totally silent.  

Two encores were demanded and featured another Rachmaninov work and a piece for left hand by Australian composer Miriam Hyde, arranged for Chong when he broke his right arm at the age of nine years. 

2 September 2016 - Clive O'Connell - A little touch of amber in the night

BRAHMS Piano Quartet Op.26

Stephen Rose (violin), Joan DerHovsepian (viola), Brant Taylor (cello), Melba Hall

Kristian Chong joined Rose, DerHovsepian and Taylor for the big Brahms Piano Quartet in A Major, a marathon for all but particularly the pianist who has to cope with writing that is little short of concerto-standard virtuosity. Chong delighted mightily with a restraint in attack that was consistently applied and which stopped him from crashing out his part, seen as early as bar 27 of the first Allegro where the piano re-announces its opening strophes with emphasis. Unlike many interpreters who take the composer’s mahogany and apply lacquer with hefty fortissimo brushwork whenever it might possibly be applied, this musician observed his role as primus inter pares, so that the three strings remained audible, not subsumed under washes of keyboard pounding.

Chong kept his instrument’s lid open on the long stick, which can be dangerous in this hall with its lively  and all-revealing acoustic. Yet the instrumental combination remained in balance through this score’s long reaches, nowhere better than in the development pages of the first movement when the key signature changes, the dialogue becomes discursive and the best way to avoid prolixity is to tamp down the vigour; as Chong did, so that the move back to taws came across with melting sweetness.

But the night’s highpoint was this work’s Poco adagio, particularly at that marvellous revelation in bar 86 where the strings’ mutes came off and Rose and Taylor reprised the opening melody in a unison at the double-octave over Chong’s pianissimo floating chords background: chamber music-making magic where Brahms exposes his greatness of heart without self-consciousness and a privilege to be a witness at this equally generous interpretation.

1 November 2015, Stephen Whittington, Adelaide Advertiser

ELDER Hall was packed for this performance by ASO concertmaster Natsuko Yoshimoto and pianist Kristian Chong.


It was a simple enough program: two sonatas, by Beethoven and Faure respectively. They are both fine, serious works with no gratuitous virtuoso flourishes to please the crowd; this was an hour of pure music-making.The Beethoven work, in A minor, begins in an anxious mood. Natsuko Yoshimoto possesses a rare ability to dig deep into the emotional core of whatever she plays, and this was no exception; there was little relief from the prevailing anxiety, just sharper pangs punctuating it from time to time. The composer’s bipolar personality takes a sudden turn in the second movement – it’s playful and light-hearted, and the performance was delightfully light and airy. Then back to the gloom for the finale, which ended with a frantic coda in which both musicians let fly with blistering intensity.


In altogether different mood was Faure’s Sonata in A major, surely one of the most lyrical and charming violin and piano works. The piano part has about gigabyte of notes in it, which have to be played with the utmost grace while the pianist works furiously.

Kristian Chong did an excellent job with this demanding part, never outweighing the violin part. And Natsuko Yoshimoto was superb, producing a wonderfully singing violin part, full of expressive detail and subtleties of colour and phrasing. It was a luminous performance.

Mozart Piano Concerto K467 in C major, Willoughby Symphony

27 & 28 June 2015, Lynn Belvedere, Sydney Arts Guide

The second piece in three movements was Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467 delivered with the most professional performance by the accomplished Australian pianist Kristian Chong. The consummate professional musician deliberately interpreted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most perfect C Major Piano Concerto, exactly as the composer envisioned it. The ‘Deutsche Grammophon’ recording of the second movement (Andante in F major), was memorably used in the Swedish motion picture film ‘Elvira Madigan’ (1967).

Before interval, Kristian Chong treated the audience to a unique encore offering, that was stunningly performed – Miriam Hyde/Noreen Stokes: for piano, Rhapsody for left hand. (written for Kristian Chong)

15 April 2015

Peter Burdon, The Advertiser, Adelaide

Elder Hall, 8 May 2015

TWO warming sonatas took the chill off the winter weather thanks to Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Principal Cello Simon Cobcroft and nationally-renowned pianist Kristian Chong.   First up was Debussy’s remarkable Sonata for Cello and Piano in d minor. One of his last works, it extends his characteristic impressionism with its resonant waves of sound with more erratic, unpredictable excursions into remoter musical territory.

This is especially the case in the second movement, serenade, where the cello is put firmly through its paces at a time when the technical potential of the instrument were only just being realised. Cobcroft demonstrated superlative artistry in negotiating the many tricky passages.

The larger work was Rachmaninov’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in g minor Op. 19. The piece not unsurprisingly gave Chong a chance to shine, and shine he did, embracing the terrifyingly difficult piano part with gusto yet never swamping the cello with the veritable torrent of notes that pours forth.

Theirs was a real partnership from start to finish, seamlessly exchanging tune after tune – oh how many there are – and delivering some really memorable moments, like the tripping start of the second movement Allegro scherzando, the famous Andante with its glorious melody in the cello’s richest, most singing register, and the spectacular transformation of the opening themes at the end.

Ravel Left Hand Concerto (Southern Sinfonia, NZ)

1 April 2014

Brenda Harwood, Otago Daily Times

Dunedin Town Hall, 29 March 2014

Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand was written for Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein who lost his arm in World War I, and its performance by Australian pianist Kristian Chong was fascinating and thrilling. Ravel's closely woven melodies between piano and orchestra were effectively realised by Chong and the sinfonia, with the woodwinds taking a leading role.The stunning climax was the virtuosic piano cadenza, played with verve, sensitivity and great skill by Chong, whose right arm was seemingly forgotten at his side.

Megan Sterling and Kristian Chong Chong make beautiful chamber music

19 August 2013

Peter Burdon, The Advertiser


Elder Hall, University of Adelaide

Friday, August 16 2013


The musical pairing of flautist Megan Sterling and pianist Kristian Chong is a good thing for lovers of chamber music. What brilliance Sterling brings to her craft, and what skill and sensitivity in Chong's superlative, intelligent pianism. Three very substantial works and a bon bon made for a great program in the astonishingly consistent Elder Hall lunchtime series.


First, the extravagant Grande Fantasie sur Mignon by Paul Taffanel, romantic to the point of succulence and not to every taste, but a showpiece, nonetheless. Carl Vine's magnificent Sonata for Flute and Piano was given a magnificent performance. The lively outer movements had verve and vigour, and the central movement a pure, unwavering tone in the many long phrases that give this work a very spacious feel. Saint-Saëns Romance for Flute and Piano is an altogether less cloying romantic diversion, gorgeously melodic and deceptively simple for it.

The discovery of the day was American Lowell Liebermann's Sonata for Flute and Piano. An elegiac opening is followed by a furious and exciting presto that dazzles without being ostentatious. Chong was on fire, his right hand an ostinato blur as the left dove downwards in climactic cadence after cadence, while Sterling took her instrument to dizzy heights. The ABC's microphones were happily present, and here's to many broadcasts to come.


Talented Trio show Flair and Versatility

13 August 2013

Yoshimoto, Qin and Chong Play Trios
Melbourne Recital Centre
11 August 2013


Such is the strength of their individual reputations as both soloists and chamber musicians that Natsuko Yoshimoto (violin), Li-Wei Qin (cello) and Kristian Chong (piano) can eschew an appellation under which to perform their occasional piano trio outings. Such confidence is well deserved as they demonstrated in an exhilarating exposition of two evocative and contrasting piano trios.


Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 2 Op 67 in E minor is a mature work written against the backdrop of the emerging atrocities of World War II, but amid the despair surfaces the trademark wry humour and irony. From the opening cello harmonics though to its perfectly placed final chords this reading impressed for its intensity, clarity and precision. Uncompromising attack from Yoshimoto and Qin contributed to the excitement of the brief Scherzo. Powerful and even chords from Chong formed the basis for an exquisite and impassioned lament by both strings in the Largo.


Lightening the mood considerably was Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No. 1 Op 49 in D minor. Chong flew across the keyboard with crystalline passagework and rippling arpeggios achieved with a marvellous spare pedal, and gave a superb voicing to the opening of the slow movement. With clear projection from both string players the problems of balance that can often afflict this grouping of instruments were notably absent.


While less is often more, their encore of the Winter movement from Astor Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires showed their versatility across genres, shifting easily from free rubato to percussive brilliance.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/talented-trio-show-flair-and-versatility-20130812-2rs7b.html#ixzz2inNkdjtL

This formidably talented trio combined their exceptional resources to create what proved to be a most enjoyable recital.

12 August 2013

The transition from the Russian Festival with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Hamer Hall on the previous evening, when Natsuko Yoshimoto acted as concertmaster and Li-Wei Qin featured as soloist for Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations on a Rococo Theme, to the intimacy of a trio recital in the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall on Sunday afternoon made for an interesting comparison. With Kristian Chong at the keyboard, the trio chose two contrasting mainstays of the piano trio repertoire: the Piano Trio No 2 by Shostakovich and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No.1.

Ensemble le Monde shows they are world class

2 August 2013

Ensemble Le Monde

Ngeringa Farm

Sunday, July 28


A rainbow stretched promisingly across the horizon as the crowds returned to the recital room in the beautiful Mt Barker Summit setting for the second half of the latest concert in the consistently excellent Ngeringa Concert Series.

Tinalley String Quartet - Brahms Piano Quintet

23 July 2012

Kristian Chong, the invited pianist, got along very well with the group. Managing to get a remarkably sultry tone out of his Steinway, he seemed to expand the existing coloring of the group for that grand Brahms’ quintet, contributing as much oscuro as chiaro.

Chong's poetic energy with Chopin - The Firm, Solo Recital

October 2010

The Firm's fifth subscription concert, courtesy of Melbourne pianist Kristian Chong, featured composer-guru Frederick Chopin and cast a very long shadow indeed. In fact, the entire second half comprised the Chopin Preludes, those elegant aphorisms beloved of audiences and pianists the world over for their melodic and harmonic invention that encapsulates the essence of Chopin's manner without garrulous discourse.

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Schumann Festival

October 2010

Graham Strahle, The Australian


The highlight of the opening chamber program was an impassioned performance by violinist Natsuko Yoshimoto and pianist Kristian Chong of the first of Schumann's Sonatas for Violin and Piano.

Australian String Quartet with IIya Konovalov (violin) & Kristian Chong (Piano), Australian National Tour 2008, CHAUSSON Concert for Violin, Piano & String Quartet

March 2008

(The Age, Clive O'Connell Melbourne March 2008)


...After interval, the quartet took a suporting role in Chausson's Concert Op.21, which put the talents of the two guests under a searching spotlight. Violinist Ilya Konovalov, concertmaster of the Israel Philharmonic, produced a vibrato rich sound, setting the pace for his colleagues.

BRITTEN Concerto, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (Adelaide Advertiser, Aug 2006

18 August 2006

Stephen Whittington, The Adelaide Advertiser

This concert of relatively unfamiliar music had a number of ingredients that made it a success. The music was colourful and varied. Britten's Piano Concerto has drama, humour, virtuosity and even a touch of the bizarre. Shostakovich's Sixth Symphony upends symphonic conventions in an original fashion, while making brilliant use of the orchestra.

Schumann Piano Quintet, Flinders Quartet

20 November 2007

Iwaki Auditorium, Melbourne (The Age, Australia, Clive O'Connell)

A guest with the Flinders Quartet, pianist Kristian Chong melded into the ensemble with excellent musical tact, collaborating in the first movement of the Schumann E Flat Quintet with an attractive restraint that allowed the strings every opportunity to make their contributions to the work’s sound world. Even in the pacy scherzo, where the piano is a whirlwind of action, Chong kept to his dynamic marker without hogging centre field.


14 June 2009

'Five, from Top to Bottom'

Iwaki Auditorium


(The Age, Australia, Clive O'Connell, June 17th 2009)

Fresh from his hard work at Saturday's Piano Landmarks concert, where he gave above and beyond his allotted tasks, Kristian Chong dominated a persuasive performance of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet, setting up a considerable authority from the opening prelude onwards. Roger Young and Alison Rayner combined with hard-edged grace at the top of the string mix, Brigden brought her certainty to the middle level and Rachel Atkinson produced a plangent cello voice in the intermezzo. Of the morning's offerings, this proved the most moving.


13 June 2009

Melba Hall, June 13

(The Age: Clive O'Connell)


AFTER a three-year break, Piano Landmarks has revived, assembling an imposing body of colleagues to present an inventive program ranging from Bach to contemporary Australian. Two of those scheduled to play were ill - Caroline Almonte and Ian Holtham - but half of the four  programs were reshuffled. Almonte's reading of the Goldberg Variations was replaced by Aura Go in the Mozart C minor Fantasy, and the day's star, Kristian Chong, offered a determined Bach Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue alongside his performance of Rachmaninov's Corelli Variations: not letter-perfect but close to it and idiomatically ideal.




July 2005

Harare - Zimbabwe, Recital 14-July 05


Concert-goers in Harare were richly rewarded for using precious fuel to attend the recital at the Harry Margolis Hall last night of Kristian Chong, a superbly talented youngster now based in London where he is able to benefit from the tutelage of  some of Britain’s top piano teachers. This artiste is mature beyond his years, possessing death-defying virtuosity and a full command of the dynamic range of the modern concert grand.

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