International Piano Magazine  January/February 2023
Review of Wigmore Hall recital, 25th November 2022

“Someone from whom we don’t yet hear enough is the British pianist Joseph Tong whose lunchtime recital – a satisfying blend of old and new – was perfect in every way. After Schumann’s Arabesque he played Sibelius’ seldom performed suite The Trees, catching the gentle waywardness of the first, letting the overtones shine through in the third, and ending in splendour with ‘The Spruce’. Under Tong’s hands the poetry of these unassuming little pieces flowered persuasively.
  Then he gave the London premiere of Five Trees – David Matthews’ answer to the Sibelius set. These pieces seemed to grow organically out of Sibelius, with hints of medieval modality and occasional touches of Debussy: Tong’s grave and commanding touch was exactly what this very English music required. He rounded things off with a performance of Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy which was notable in its raw expressiveness, and in its successful yoking of wild passion and meticulous control.”


“The miniatures of Grieg’s Stimmungen came over in suitably kaleidoscopic guise: if these deserve to be part of the regular concert repertoire, so, most certainly, do the Sibelius works he played. 

Valse triste, which has pre-echoes of Ravel’s La valse, came over hauntingly, and Five Characteristic Impressions came clad in mellifluous languor, thunderous energy, and evanescent delicacy; the Sonata in F honoured the memory of Beethoven, Schumann, and Liszt.”

International Piano Magazine, Nov/Dec 2017

“Here was a programme, quite out of the ordinary in terms of piano recitals, which in terms of musical interest held the attention throughout and saw Joseph Tong’s undoubted qualities displayed in admirable fashion.”

Robert Matthew-Walker, Classical Source

“Tong’s impressive recital included the first world premiere of the weekend, Cydonie Banting’s The Gate of Dawn, which takes its title from an early 16th-century city fortification in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania and is infused with folk melodies and the sound of bells.”

Clare Stevens, Hereford Times

“A pianist whose flawless technique is always at the service of the music, so that the listener is hearing the composer realised through the musician, not the musician’s version of the composer.”

Richard Black, Riverside Arts Centre, Sunbury

“this beautifully played collection, culminating in the Sonata, Op 12 (1893), and including the three Sonatinas, Op 67 (1912), shows this work succeeds on its own terms”

Sunday Times, Sibelius Piano Music Vol. 2

“Tong has the measure of its [Sonata (1893)] 18 eventful minutes in a reading of boldness, midway in tempo between the slow Servadei and tad-quicker Tawaststjerna.”

International Piano Magazine, Sibelius Piano Music Vol. 2

“Tong’s readings intelligently balance impulse and discipline, offering wide tonal variety, but never at the expense of textural clarity. His sensitive playing of the Op 18 Arabeske and the dozen short pieces of Papillons, Op 2, works beautifully. “

Stephen Pettit, Sunday Times, Schumann Piano Works

“Schumann’s enigmatic style is unlocked – Natasha Loges falls in love with Schumann thanks to Joseph Tong‘s fresh take.”

BBC Music Magazine, Schumann Piano Works

“Tong was the ideal exponent, enjoying the intimacy of Sibelius’ writing and the
occasionally abrupt manner in which he finishes his musical phrases.”

Arcana FM, May 2015