Noah Bendix-Balgley au naturel.
Calm authority does not exclude passion.
The second concert of the evening opened again with a chef d’oeuvre, Debussy’s Sonata. The American Noah Bendix-Balgley, aged 24, approached it in an impressive manner that showed mastery, style, and taste (together with the pianist Reiko Hozu). (He)…multiplied its colors, elegantly supporting its versatility and changing moods – and one knows how much richness this short sonata contains – and always with great naturalness…
The approach taken by the young American to the unpublished, required piece ”Agens“ by the Korean Cho Eun-Hwa, is different than anything else heard so far: feline, poetic, … The sonorities are sufficiently soft and rounded (Noah plays on a 1779 Lorenzo Storioni), the phrasings are supple, as in Debussy, and the dialogue with the orchestra is excellent. The musician appears to maintain a peaceful rapport with the piece… This allows him an interpretation that is sensitive and mature, yet in an astonishingly classic manner.
The dominant traits of this musician’s playing are, in fact, naturalness and maturity, ideal terrain to deploy a Brahmsian ‘organic’ inspiration. All technical character and all ostentation are wiped away, even in the cadence. The first movement escapes from the competition. One only listens to Brahms.
…the adagio was introduced with grace, in the service of an ample and serene hymn-like melody. The return in the final dance is earth-bound, popular, wild, and nevertheless spirited… Noah shows he can also take risks and enjoy himself in the process.
–Martine D. Mergeay, La Libre, May 27th, 2009