Click below to read a selection of press notices


Rameau - The Complete Keyboard Music Vol 1 TOCC 0050

‘The Pieces en concerts transfer joyously to the piano, at least in the no-nonsense performance they get from Gutman. There is perky energy in La coulicam and real character in the veiled opening of Menuets and the hushed melancholy of La boucon. More remarkably, even what seems like a real harpsichord moment – the machine-like chatter of Le vézinet – retains its identity….The overall feel is one of languid grace and charm. Gutman also achieves satisfying clarity and attack in many of the faster dance movements and reacts well to Rameau’s strong harmonic sense, forcefully direct in places, deliciously clouded in others…these are performances well worth investigating if piano-Rameau is what you want.’

Lindsay Kemp

Gramophone – November 2007


‘…impressive…Stephen Gutman makes a persuasive advocate for the piano in place of the harpsichord, and includes some of his own transcriptions in this rewarding collection, played with insight and elegance.’

Stephen Pritchard

The Observer – September 16 2007


‘…Gutman’s playing is sensitive, lightly articulated and…engaging for its ornamental delicacy and communicative lyricism. Among the highlights are the Vénitienne from the A minor Suite and Le rappel des oiseaux from that in E minor. In summary, a worthwhile venture and not just for its completeness. It complements Meyer’s more overtly pianistic approach, though in no sense topples it. I look forward to the remaining volumes.’

Nicholas Anderson

BBC Music Magazine – December 2007


‘Gutman has the technical resources to play this music, and a scholar’s interest in proper ornamentation….I find his tempos an effective tonic….There is none of the sense of speed for virtuosity’s sake.…Gutman is also the one that remains most true to the idea of rendering harpsichord-like sonorities on the piano.…The liner notes are exceptional, something I’ve come to expect from Toccata Classics. Gutman’s album is a welcome addition to the field, as much for his distinct point of view as for the promise of so much Rameau. Recommended.’

Barry Brenesal

Fanfare – January/February 2008


‘…along comes Stephen Gutman to release Rameau’s genie from the harpsichord in which he has been sealed away for the better part of two centuries (unlike Bach, Couperin and Scarlatti who today are equally at home on the piano) in the first of three CDs dedicated to the complete keyboard works. A more superb threefold rehabilitation it would be hard to imagine!….He may play ‘fast’ with his ornaments but never ‘loose’, maintaining and integrating these under scrupulous control….A genius for ‘timing’ in his case  transcends any mere ‘keeping time’ – each note and each phrase is given its due gravity or grace, its place and pace, in relation to the weight and ethos of each piece as a whole…magisterial authority’

Malcolm Troup

Piano Journal – Spring 2008


‘I had not realised when I placed my bid for this recording that it was a piano version; when realisation dawned, on opening the parcel, I thought that I might regret the oversight. I am delighted to report that I was wrong: I now add Stephen Gutman’s Rameau to my list of exceptions and I shall bid for the next volume when it appears. From the very first opening of the first Suite it is obvious that Gutman shares one quality with Hewitt, a harpsichord-like lightness of touch that effectively makes one forget that he is playing the piano….Gutman’s nimble performance of the Air des paladins makes a fitting conclusion to a recording which I found myself enjoying and recommending much more than expected’

Brian Wilson

MusicWebInternational – December 2007


‘Pianist Stephen Gutman describes Rameau’s music as “wonderfully evocative, perfectly poised between temperament and self-possession, gravity and wit”. His own performances are similarly poised: he renders Rameau’s rich ornamentation with controlled freedom, and he makes unexaggerated yet effective use of the piano’s resources to underline the works’ expressive character and the ebb-and-flow of harmonic tension….These thoughtful (yet never calculated) performances are highly enjoyable, and make a good case for the piano as viable alternative medium for his music.’

Uri Golomb

Goldberg Early Music Magazine – 2008


‘While it is true that this CD is called Rameau- The Complete Keyboard Music Vol 1, the Frenchman is not the leading character. The pianist Stephen Gutman is. After all, he has two jobs to do – to understand Rameau’s world of the eighteenth century harpsichord, and to decide how the modern piano should, or should not, respond to it….The detail in his transcriptions is excellent.’

George Balcombe

Music & Vision Daily – July 2010

John Cage: The Seasons

Bromsgrove concerts The Artrix, Bromsgrove

 March 14 2008

‘Praise to Bromsgrove Concerts for their promoting enterprise, praise to pianist Stephen Gutman for his devoted advocacy….Gutman’s expertise in music which makes such sustained intellectual as well as quirky technical demands upon the soloist is undeniable….John Cage’s The Seasons, with its oriental influences finding common ground with Debussy, and its grim, inexorable picture of desolation in Fall, drew fluid, well-judged pianism from Gutman.’

Christopher Morley

Birmingham Post – March 17 2008

Harrison Birtwistle: Harrison’s Clocks

Hoxton New Music Days, Almeida Theatre, London July 2000

‘Hoxton New Music Days presented a revelatory late-night pairing of [Birtwistle’s] Chronometer with the piano pieces Harrison’s Clocks, played with electrifying intensity by Stephen Gutman….As Stephen Gutman’s performances made superbly clear, a musical surface of sometimes violent chaos results from the precise workings-out of superimposed layers of music.’

Tom Service

The Guardian- July 172000


‘The late- night concert of Birtwistle’s music…had pure Almeida magic….Stephen Gutman gave the extraordinary set of five piano pieces Harrison’s Clocks, written for Joanna MacGregor in 1998. Each of these transcribes a clock mechanism in a different way, and Gutman succinctly explained how as he went along. But his playing was of such devastating incisiveness that one could hear in any case exactly how these curious clock concepts had been made musical flesh. It was as though the dreamy night of the tape piece had turned into lucid dawn.’

Paul Driver

The Sunday Times – July 23 2000

Les Enfants de Rameau

Purcell Room, London September 23 1999

‘If you thought a lardon was something small and succulent to be found in a French salad, you’d better think again. For it can also be a particularly tasty musical morsel, a seasoning on a theme, if you like composed in 1724 by Rameau as part of a quirky ten-movement keyboard suite. So tasty in fact, that no fewer than 14 composers have written variations on its theme – and 13 of them are still alive, and were commissioned by the pianist Stephen Gutman. Gutman’s recital of Rameau’s own Suite No 3 in D minor, in which Le Lardon is embedded, preceded Paul Dukas’s Variations Interlude and Finale on the theme. – and then came the 13 brand-new variations. In programming and performance this was one of the most absorbing and stimulating recitals of the entire concert year.

First the great original. Gutman’s piano takeover bid for Rameau’s harpsichord piece was entirely convincing: as the composer’s garrulous inner voicing and gurgling trills coloured the little vignettes, such as Les Tendres Plaintes, Les Soupirs and Les Tourbillons, Gutman’s commitment and bravura technique made for passionate, three-dimensional Rameau. The Suite’s little Le Lardon movement is the simplest of them all – a tune you could whistle and take home with you.  And it was with a sense of mesmerised wonder that the audience listened as the theme momentarily sank into a turn-of-the-century armchair in Dukas’s reinvention, before giving warning of future musical turbulence.

Then after the interval, more small wonders. Of the 13 new Enfants de Rameau there was not a single dud piece. Some of the variations paid homage to the letter of Rameau; others celebrated the spirit. Some were accomplished examples of composerly skill, others, even more impressively, caught Rameau’s creative spark as it flew, and rekindled it in their own imagination.

I enjoyed most Martin Butler’s whimsical juggling of tiny fragments of Rameau’s melody high in the air over four octaves of the keyboard; John Woolrich’s characteristically penetrating and poetic focus on the darkness and light at the aesthetic heart of the work; Peter Wiegold’s jumping firecracker of a variation, re-igniting Rameau’s own sonic brilliance; and Gabriel Jackson’s disarmingly simple ‘memory’ of Rameau’s original, suspended within the sustaining pedal’s glassy reflections.

Hilary Finch

The Times – September 30 1999


‘The conceit of Stephen Gutman’s programming at the Purcell Room on Thursday was ingenious. From a pianist who has co-directed a course on writing piano variations, a recital programme where subsequent works reflect an initial work, should come as no surprise….Gutman’s delivery [of Rameau’s Suite] was elegant and poised, delightfully shaping this courtly music….[The Dukas] had great many notes, which Gutman splendidly dispatched….The final set of variations were…a fascinating barometer of current musical fashion….The winners for me were Luke Stoneham, cleverly echoing ‘antiqueness’; Peter Wiegold’s brilliant, energetic romp, and Howard Skempton, the only composer to retain Rameau’s essential, simple poise….A splendid addition to any new music festival.’

Annette Moreau

The Independent – September 25 1999


‘Much more interesting was Stephen Gutman’s piano recital the next night in the Purcell Room. Rameau was represented by his grand Third Suite, played with delectable rubato  ….Les Enfants de Rameau a delightful idea….Among the most striking contributions were Colin Matthew’s deft, crisp scherzo, John Woolrich’s pretty goldfish-splashes and Howard Skempton’s pawky-but-sprightly variation…the whole enterprise justified itself very well; we should hope for others like it.’

David Murray

Financial TimesOctober 1 1999

The Debussy Studies Project

The Purcell Room, London May 26 1998

Premiere of the fortnight: ‘A rainbow coalition’ is how pianist Stephen Gutman describes the results of an extraordinary series of commissions he has initiated. Taking as its basis the Debussy Etudes…the project consists of 12 new etudes, each by a different British composer, based on the 12 titles of Debussy’s set….‘My idea was to commission something that would bring together all the different strands of contemporary music into one’

Jessica Duchen

Classical Music – May 9 1998


‘It was fascinating to hear Luke Stoneham’s Pour les cinq doigts – a suavely pointillist Debussyian overview – or Michael Finnissy’s beautifully flowing Pour les agréments, or Julian Anderson’s Pour les arpèges composés

Paul Driver

The Sunday Times – May 31 1998

Shostakovich: Preludes and Fugues

Museum of Earth and Man, Sofia June 1997

‘From the first moment the public felt his mastery….The most eloquent facet of his individuality is the sonorities which he revealed…in Shostakovich’s music which is so familiar to us. This time we heard a newly interpreted work as if for the first time – refinement, intimacy, fleeting moods, weaved in a delicate way, within an iron, logical polyphonic texture – a major cycle with the same importance as the Mussorgsky Pictures or the Bach Goldberg Variations. There were no transitions between preludes and fugues; it was one big unity, far from any tedious seriousness or rigidity. As Stephen Gutman maintains, the aim is to get absolutely different colour and touch in each subjectconsiders Michal Hambourg his guide in the discovery of the ‘holistic’ Shostakovich. She is the daughter of Marc Hambourg, pupil of Leschetizky ’

Angela Tosheva

Cultura – June 27 1997



Harrison Birtwistle: The Axe Manual

With Richard Benjafield The Cutting Edge, The Warehouse, London December 2003

‘Pianist Stephen Gutman and percussionist Richard Benjafield last night offered a challenging programme, containing four world premieres, and one first London performance of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s The Axe Manual….All the performances were masterly.’

Stephen Pettitt

The Evening Standard – December 12 2003


‘Their reading of Birtwistle’s The Axe Manual  was the centrepiece of their Bmic Cutting Edge recital at the Warehouse….I can’t believe the Bmic series has seen a more invigorating performance.’

Paul Driver

The Sunday Times – December 21 2003

Gerald Barry: Octet

Almeida at Kings Cross, London July 2002

‘The concert ended with an Octet containing a solo of such black ferocity – yet devised with weird precision, and superbly played by Stephen Gutman – that it almost obliterated one’s memory of the rest of the work.’

Paul Driver

The Sunday Times – July 7 2002


‘This relentlessly powerful piece features one of the most fearsome piano solos in the whole literature, here brilliantly dispatched by Stephen Gutman.’

Tom Service

The Guardian – July 5 2002

Schubert: Fantasie D934

With Michiko Kamiya Kaisersaal Frankfurter Römer January 1999

‘Zu keiner Zeit hat die Geigerin zu fürchten vom Flügel übertönt zu warden. Einerseits war ihr Geigeton von großer Tragfähigkeit und Substanz, anderseits zählt Stephen Gutman offentsichtlich nicht zu den ‘Donnerern’ am Klavier….Es war ein aufmerksames Geben und Nehmen….Die weiten Bögen, die aus beachtlichen Kraftreserven schöpfenden Steigerungen sowie feine Nuancierungen, gereichen beiden Musikern zur Ehre’

Frankfurter Allgemeine – January 26 1999

Beethoven: Sonata for violin and piano Op 24

With György Pauk Ticino Musica, Ascona July 29 1998

‘…senza togliere nulla ad un ritmo di ferro, e ci ha piacevolmente distratti da un certo sentimentalismo abitudinario nella Frühlingsonate di Beethoven. È con solidità stilistica che il suono compatto, sensuale e senza compromessi del grande violin di György Pauk, si lascia inspirare dal suo accompagnatore con un Beethoven dall’espressione diretta ed efficace che traduce con eleganza la costruzione musicale.’

Giovanni Beretta

Giornale del Popolo – August 3 1998