Wigmore Hall, London: 11 January 2010
"Ashok Klouda played Beethoven in a very suave way – who would have thought that was possible ? – relishing the jokes, there are a lot of them here, and giving full rein to the lyrical impulse. The Dvořák Rondo is a lovely throw-away piece of fluff and our player, by enjoying himself, truly entertained his audience. The Schumann Pieces in Folk Style came across, oddly, as the most serious of the three cello works. Yet, Klouda found a rich vein of lyricism and profundity I’d never noticed before. His playing was big and audacious and the emboldened playing lifted this somewhat slight piece into another realm.
... A stunning show well appreciated by the Monday night audience risking the poor weather."
For the full review, please see:
"The organisers of Music at St Andrew’s’ are to be congratulated for presenting such wonderful concerts throughout the year –never more so than on Saturday 17 January. A large, appreciative audience was treated to a marvellous recital by a young cellist, Ashok Klouda with Joseph Middleton at the piano.
The programme was well chosen –containing many different styles and began with Bach’s ‘Sonata in G major’ (originally for viola da gamba and harpsichord). From the very first phrase, we heard the beautiful sound this cellist produced and both players showed their perfect ensemble. (I did feel that – just for this item – the lid on the very modern piano might have been lowered).
This was followed by the delightful ‘Rondo in G minor’ by Dvorák – performed with great character by both players.
Beethoven wrote ‘5 Sonatas for cello and piano’, and the one chosen was Op 102 –very different from his Op. 5. It gives equal importance to both instruments and looks towards the late String Quartets in its intensity. It was played with passion and conviction.
After the Interval, we had a novelty – a solo sonata by Sándor Veress – a Swiss composer of Hungarian Origin. It was composed in 1966 and full of the most dazzling techniques I have ever seen! I doubt if I would have listened to it on Radio 3, but to WATCH this amazing cellist held me spellbound. He illustrated some of the techniques beforehand and showed his sense of humour by remarking: “It only takes 12 minutes – see you at the end!” The excellent Joseph Middleton then returned to join Ashok to perform the ‘5 pieces in folk style’ by Schumann. Unlike the better know ‘Fantasiestücke’, originally composed for clarinet (but often played on the cello), these 5 pieces were written specifically for cello, and were a delight to hear.
I had a distinguished violinist sitting in front of me who looked at the programme with astonishment to read the final item was the Scherzo-Tarantella for VIOLIN and piano by Wieniawski transcribed for the cello by our soloist. It was an amazing display of dazzling virtuosity and received rapturous applause – not least by my violinist friend who stood up clapping and smiling. We were treated to a beautiful, gentle encore – the slow movement of Chopin’s cello and piano sonata – quite a rarity. So ended a memorable concert, and I am sure all the audience would wish these two highly gifted performers every success in their future careers."
Music at St. Andrew's Concert Review, January 2009
With pianist Joseph Middleton
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Cello and classical accordion are a novel mix for a festive recital – but there was no shock in the new here, only intense pleasure.
Cellist Ashok Klouda and accordionist Borut Zagoranski, friends and fellow students at the Royal Academy of Music, gelled extremely well in this nicely-chosen programme.
They opened with Bach's sonata for viola da gamba and cembalo, showing that music as sublime as this can be adapted for almost any instrument. Bet it would sound good on kazoo and comb.
Between darker works by Gubaidulina and Elena Firsova, and some sprightly Saint Saens, the best bits on this lunchtime menu came first and last. Piazzolla's Le Grand Tango – with superbly inventive rhythms and beguiling beat – made a fine finale.
Long associated for me with smoky central European cafés and gipsy bands, the accordion proves an instrument of great versatility – with a mood by turns merry and melancholy.
What a pity Radio 3 isn't recording any event at our 2005 festival. This is one I'd love to hear again (and again and again).
With classical accordionist Borut Zagoranski
Ian Collins – Eastern Daily Press
Bach in Bishopsgate: a tiny festival that punches well above its weight
"...The winner is guaranteed no splurge of publicity or recording contract, but a prize is an impressive addition to a CV, and several previous winners – notably the violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen and cellist Ashok Klouda – have already established solid starts to their careers. Come along and see if you can spot any real stars of the future."
Extract from an article about the J & A Beare Solo Bach competition that appeared in 'The Guardian' online newspaper on Saturday March 6th 2010.
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‘Delights from duo: Ashok Klouda and his accompanist Joseph Middleton are two award-winning young musicians of prodigious talent. Their excellent rapport became evident in Beethoven's Sonata in C, Opus 102 with an expressive andante which led into a vigorous allegro vivace. There was even more fine playing in the second movement with its even richer contrasts . Britten's Sonata in C is an extraordinarily inventive work which represents a challenge to any musician. However the duo made light work of the quirky scherzo with its array of pizzicato and unusual sounds from the cello. Music by Schumann, Rachmaninov and Dvorak completed the programme.’
With pianist Joseph Middleton
Gloucestershire Echo and The Citizen