Concert reviews: Ilyich Rivas conducts Dvořák, Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich

On Friday 7 March 2014, 20-year-old Venezuelan conductor Ilyich Rivas made his debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall. He conducted a programme of Dvořák, Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich with piano soloist Simon Trpčeski.

The concert was repeated at Southend on Saturday 8 March and Eastbourne on Sunday 9 March.

Here are the press reviews ...

'The fresh air swept into the hall with this engaging young Venezuelan, who jogged onto the platform, had perhaps the clearest beat of any conductor I've seen in the past year and led the way through the pieces with some fairly extraordinary freeze-frame gestures that are certainly unusual yet seemed to work a treat. He let the music's passion, beauty and visceral élan sing out to his and our hearts' content. Particularly impressive was the way he handled gear-changes with smooth assurance, maintaining an impeccable sense of timing, and ultimately - best of all - leaving us marvelling at the wonders of the music, first and foremost ... It may be a cliché to say "history in the making" - but honest, guv, we don't say such things too often.'
Jessica Duchen (blog), 8 March 2014

'The Venezuelan led this attractive mix of pieces with confidence, visual enthusiasm and interpretative individuality ... Rivas and the LPO offered an exemplary partnership for Simon Trpčeski, who brought much freshness to familiar Tchaikovsky. It was Trpčeski's fantasy and delicacy that compelled the listener, a lightness of touch and a non-percussive way with fortissmos that spoke of true musical artistry and which illuminated persuasively the solo part's potential for discretion.'
Colin Anderson, Classical Source, 8 March 2014

'Throughout the concert there were a number of outstanding solo contributions. Oboist Ian Hardwick, flautist Katie Bedford and first cello Kristina Blaumane along with leader, Vesselin Gellev, performed beautifully, lifting this concert to another level. Add to this an orchestra on fire and a conductor with boundless energy and talent, and you have a golden combination.'
Renée Reitsma, Bachtrack, 11 March 2014

Read the concert programme online here