Piano Acclaim

From Concert Artists:

Talon is perhaps the most unique young pianist that I have come across in my long career as a teacher and performer. Not only does he possess brilliant technique; it is his deeply musical voice, coupled with grand temperament, that is at the forefront of his pianism. It is not uncommon to encounter brilliant pianists who, despite their fine instrumental command, fail to interpret Chopin well; however, Talon differs in this important attribute—he is a Chopinist. His poetry speaks naturally through Chopin’s music. It is my strong belief that this rare combination will propel him to achieve greater success in his already established early career as a pianist-musician.

Eduardus Halim, Concert Pianist
I worked in masterclasses with Talon for two summers at the Frost Chopin Academy (2018, 2019) and found him to be among the best of the young American participants I have worked with. Since that time, Talon has continued to develop and mature into a young artist for whom I have great respect. His thoughtful disposition and emotional intelligence provide for interpretations I find deeply satisfying, both on a structural and emotional level.”

Kevin Kenner, Concert Pianist
I have had the privilege of working with Talon Smith for years, and his performances leave a lasting imprint on the audience with his strong profile of temperament and flair, coupled with coloristic nuances and sensitivity.  Attracting the ears of the listener with his beautiful tone and convincing timing, he is able to fill every moment of his music with love and limitless imagination, all the while controlling the balance to keep perspective on the big phrase.”

Rufus Choi, Concert Pianist
Talon Smith is an astonishing pianist! He is one of the most talented pianists I have had the privilege to work with. His gifts are complete: Virtuosity, artistry, musicianship, and creativity.”

William Grant Nabore, Artistic Director, Oberlin-Como Piano Academy & Visiting Teacher in Residence Oberlin Conservatory
"The Barcarolle began gently and was highly expressive dynamically yet with his velvet soft touch. Graceful cantabile melodies painted elegant water colours of shall we say Venice. A fine performance. I was tremendously impressed by his Berceuse.  It had such an affecting innocence, beguiling tone and charming L H counter point which he gently highlighted. Glistening cascades of notes like gems. Some marvelous rubato with a perfectly steady L H above which arabesques of absolute simplicity - an ideal of Chopin. One of the finest I have ever heard."

Michael Moran, Concert Pianist
“I love the clarity of Talon Smith’s playing, the tremendous respect that he has for Schumann, the passion without indulgence or sentimentality, the ease with which he builds the structure of this very difficult piece, the atmosphere of the ‘legend’ section. Striking musical maturity for someone so young. His voicing is thoughtful, his concentration is wonderful throughout. Last moments, Beethoven allusion—truly special. Bravo.”

Inna Faliks, Concert Pianist
“Talon Smith is a wonderful pianist, and this piece fits him so well. I always enjoy the poise, the conviction, thoughtfulness, and depth of his playing. Bravo.”

Inna Faliks, Concert Pianist
“Talon Smith is deeply musical with expressive playing. He has excellent clarity in sound and texture and great pace and timing. He has impeccable technique and superb musicianship. Grand performance. Bravo!!”

Dr. Chih-Long Hu, Concert Pianist
“Magnificent performance. Remarkable balance of passion and logic. Talon’s playing is deeply musical and poetic. Excellent voicing and shaping. Superb execution in the 2nd movement development.  Bravo!!”

Dr. Chih-Long Hu, Concert Pianist
“High-level playing. Intelligent thinking and beautiful pianism throughout. A marvelous, sensitive ear. Beautiful cadenza! Deeply prepared. Bravo, this piece has Talon’s name written on it.”

Dr. Sharon Mann, Concert Pianist
“Very sensitive timing to his intro. Voicing at the top exquisite. Thrilling. Appropriately dreaming. What a great performance of a great piece. It was a great pleasure hearing Talon!”

Dr. Sharon Mann, Concert Pianist
“Great performance, brilliant fingers with bright tone and clarity in voicing and dynamics. Brilliant playing, very expressive and parts voiced very well. Great job in showing various touch of keys, contrasts in articulations, and dynamics. Also, phrases very nicely shaped, music well-paced. Clever use of pedal. Bravo! For lots of GREAT works!! I will see Talon Smith at Carnegie Hall!” 

Dr. Yung-Chiu Wang, Concert Pianist
“Talon Smith is a BIG talent with natural pianistic ability. He has plenty of technique and good control of the instrument. Excellent overall conception and execution. It’s obvious that he feels the music very deeply and that he is expressing himself and communicating those emotions to us. Talon is an excellent pianist. I enjoyed hearing him very much.”

Richard Dowling, Concert Pianist
“Highly mature and sensitive playing. Talon listens and thinks about the music in sensitive ways. The ending was artful, thoughtful, and poetic. Great talent—many good wishes.”

—Jerry Wong, Concert Pianist
“Brilliant pianistic playing right out of the gate. Very impressive display of virtuosity. Talon Smith’s technique is such that it allows him to do whatever he likes to with great ease!”

Dr. Sarkis Baltaian, Concert Pianist
“It is very clear that Talon loves this music. The clarity of his playing is terrific. I LOVE that he wrote his own cadenza and a really good one at that! Great achievement. Bravo to Talon!”

Jeffrey Sykes, Concert Pianist
“Talon Smith has excellent tempo. I loved his shaping of the motifs and his work on the detached triplets as they pass between his hands. This was a very elegant and intelligent performance!”

James Gardner, Conductor & Musical Director 
“Talon has beautiful sound and a mature approach to this piece. Very sensitive with harmonic change. A good understanding of Chopin’s style. Bravo!”

Dr. Judy Huang, Concert Pianist
“Talon Smith’s playing is right away very musical and mature with very interesting and distinctive tones. It is a pleasure to hear him.”

Francoise Regnat, Concert Pianist

AV Symphony Orchestra:

“Talon Smith has SUPERB MUSICALITY. Wonderful inflection/dance in his pianism! Great, wonderful rich tone and clarity. Strong fingers!”
“Excellent performance! Great drama! Great tone, musical variety, and expression. Wonderful technical virtuosity. Great attention to balance of voices, inner and outer.”
“Very powerful performance, excellent control. Energetic and exciting!! Great dynamics, lovely shaping of the arpeggiated runs up and down.”

Baroque Festival:

Talon’s musicianship appeared immediately! Musical and intelligent playing. An excellent performance.” Baroque Festival
Talon Smith is so musical with excellent imagination! You can tell from the very first notes.
Talon Smith is very musical. He is very talented.”

Loved the percussive attack on the opening staccatos. Just the right amount of pedal. Terrific performances.” 

CM Piano Festival:

I loved Talon’s brilliant Allegro con brio in the Beethoven Sonata. Yes, it was brilliant. Gorgeous playing in the Ravel. Terrific performance.”
Talon has amazing artistry throughout! Amazing clarity of beautiful voices. Impressive. Flawless memory.”
Talon has a wonderful style! Great use of silence for dramatic effect. Beautiful phrase shaping. Awesome technical work. Beautiful melodic voicing. Wonderful artistry.” CM Piano Festival
“Talon Smith’s technical facility is amazing! Fabulous artistry. Such a delight to hear!”
“Talon’s Beethoven was beautifully voiced and very expressive!”
Talon Smith has impressive clarity and speed. Such clarity in all voices is quite impressive.
“Wow, Talon has fast, clean, and accurate fingers! His music is superbly voiced and shaped. All fabulous. Bravo!”

Elvin McGaughey Music Foundation:

“The chromatic infusion into the key of C is a clear indication of Schumann’s state of mind and a true statement of his personal torment. Talon Smith captured it so well in the Fantasy and managed to deal with incredible profound ideas. Being able to put it all together in such pianistic statement was really impressive understanding and playing on Talon’s part. As a music critic and pedagogue, I have no suggestions on how to make anything any better. Talon Smith’s talent stands superbly high in the world of music.”
“Talon Smith plays with great conviction and passion. So much heart and soul. I love the involvement that he has with his music. Bravo!”
“Expressive rubato. Beautiful phrasing and shaping! Strong hands! Powerful sound! Played with much focus and care—Bravo! Excellent performance! Talon Smith is an exceptional young talent!”
“Talon played with amazing maturity and understanding. He listens so well and knows exactly the sound that he wants to produce from his playing. A talent rare for one so young and yet able to grasp the essence of this great piece.”
“Talon Smith has excellent musical sense. He has both technique and a discerning ear. I am impressed.” Elvin McGaughey Music Foundation

MTAC Piano Festival:

“Wonderful to hear Talon Smith today…Beautiful voicing throughout—especially inner voicing! It was an inspirational performance – and some of Talon’s rests were quite golden! His body language is musically engaging without being overly dramatic – he is a compact player that demonstrates a wealth of musical understanding, intelligence, and passion for the instrument.”
“Beautiful opening! Great pacing and balance – good phrase shapes. Talon Smith’s performance was a remarkable one; musical, well-paced, technically secure, and significantly sophisticated. Bravo!”
“Very convincing, strong, mature playing with excellent technique and tone quality. Talon Smith does not just play the notes, he really feels each one.”
“Outstanding performance—very commanding both technically and musically. Talon has a good understanding of tone production with excellent playing. His octaves were quite spectacular. Fine pacing and sense of drama. Successful performance and a pleasure to hear. Bravo!”

Paderewski Festival:

“Really excellent performance. Talon’s variations in tone are always interesting and energizing. Wonderful ornaments and melodic shaping!”
“Talon Smith is very secure technically. Musical and very outstanding performance. Bravo!”
“I enjoyed Talon Smith’s performance very much. He puts a lot of heart into his performance!”

Piano Celebration Festival:

Talon Smith gave a wonderful performance with great feeling.”
Talon takes everything Beethoven puts on the page and makes it come to life in delightful music bringing out what is important all along the way. Excellent use of dynamics to add color and shape. I enjoyed the touches/tones in different sections Talon used to create different moods. Talon’s playing reflects his understanding of Beethoven and ‘explains’ it to his audience. Precise, polished, musical, and exciting performance.”

Sylvia Ghiglieri Piano Festival:

Talon plays Bach with great spirit from the start. Bright, clear, singing playing that is joyful and ebullient. Beautiful. Wonderful phrasing and great balance of sound. WONDFERUL PERFORMANCE and PLAYING.”
Talon’s Bach had a great opening and the greatness continued throughout! Great sound! Beautiful relationships between right and left hand. Great shaping of the phrases. Every voice is clear. Very musical.”
Beautiful singing in melody with excellent phrasing.”
Talon performs wonderfully, musically, and intelligently.”
“Beautiful phrasing! Great clear thirds! Incredible! Talon Smith has a lot of talent. It was a pleasure hearing his performances.”

US Open Piano Festival:

“Very charming melodic treatment. Talon’s playing has disciplined touches and clear intentions of his musical ideas. Congratulations for his creativity. His cadenza is brilliant. Excellent performance.”
“Talon performs with passion and conviction throughout. He has exquisite sound and his gradual changes in tempi were especially effective—well conceived and very convincing. He plays with keen understanding. Bravo!” 

London Keyboard Trust:

The extraordinary Talon Smith! From the very first notes of the early Beethoven Sonata, it was clear that we were in the hands of an unusually mature musician. An unrelenting drive to the Allegro vivace was only alleviated by the almost orchestrally conceived interpretation of the Largo appassionato. Chords that were crystal clear in the first movement suddenly became dense and pregnant with weight and meaning. Scrupulous attention to detail showed off all the charm and drive of the Scherzo. The Rondo played with a freedom that is implied in Beethoven’s writing and was given full reign to contrast with the extraordinary percussive outbursts that were played with an almost obsessive insistence. Nothing had prepared me for the sudden change of colour and density of sound that immediately filled the air with a passionately driven performance of the Allegro Maestoso of the Chopin Sonata in B minor. Such forward movement and lack of sentimentality gave only greater density to the finesse and nobility. A crystal-clear Scherzo played indeed molto vivace. Not the usual jeux perle but an incisive precision allied to a flexibility that for once led to a Trio with a shape and form that had grown out of the Scherzo. A majestic opening of chords in the Largo. What a surprise to hear too Chopin’s own subtle pedal effects in a performance that had an architectural solidity allied to fantasy and deeply felt feeling. The Finale certainly played Presto but also with the reserve of “non tanto” that allowed Talon to throw himself into the final pages with an excitement and extraordinary precision. From the bare bones of the Scherzo through the plasmatic movement of the Allegro molto to the bleak isolation of the Sostenuto. It had a mesmerizing effect on an audience caught unawares by the sudden chameleon like changes of the musician. Little were we expecting the onslaught that awaited with the second of Prokofiev’s War Sonatas. Like a man possessed Talon threw himself into the fray with a total abandon that made the few moments of serenity even more terrifying. A wonderful palette of sounds drawn from this black box that had nothing to envy from a full symphony orchestra. The sublime Andante caloroso was played with an almost understated cantabile that made the climax even more heartrending and colourful. The savage relentlessness of the Precipitato was breathtaking as it progressed in a seemingly endless crescendo until it’s final disintegration. A true tour de force that brought an ovation from a public completely overcome by the virtuosity and musicianship of this young star. A sumptuous Etude Tableau op.39 n.1 played as an encore filled the hall with the grandest of sounds. A fullness without ever hardness because of his supreme sense of balance anchored in the bass harmonies. A public that would not let Talon go was offered one of his own compositions. A beautiful Barcarolle, an impressionistic piece with some hypnotic sounds that glistened in the treble whilst hinting at glories that lay in the middle register of the piano just waiting for this seducer’s caressing hands.