A Forgotten Cello Concerto

My debut solo album on the Delos label is on sale now!   ArkivMusic  |  Amazon  |  iTunes

CD coverCD Review: Fanfare Magazine, Nov./Dec. 2014

"As for Samis, this is more than an auspicious debut album; it deserves some sort of special recognition or award, not just for resurrecting Reinecke’s Concerto, but for playing, which, in my opinion, places Samis in the very highest echelon of the world’s living cellists. His impeccable left-hand technique, perfection of bowing, purity of tone, and inerrancy of intonation are matched, if not exceeded—if that’s possible—by his consummate musicianship and—I don’t know how else to say this—by the beauty of his soul. If I were a cellist, this is the man I would want as my teacher and mentor.

...Samis’s performance of the solo part is sublime.

...Purchase of this CD is mandatory."

Read full review

CD Review: American Record Guide, Nov./Dec. 2014
Cello Concerto in D minor; with TAVENER: Threnos; SCHUMANN: Adagio & Allegro; BLOCH: Solo Suite 1; GOLIJOV: Mariel
Michael Samis, vc; Eric Willie, marimba; Gateway Chamber Orchestra/Gregory Wolynec

"a powerful and beautifully lyrical work, played to a turn by Samis and the orchestra..."

“a varied and well-played program…”

Read full review (subscribers only)

Cellist Michael Samis and the Gateway Chamber Orchestra's CD on the Delos label has been named Best New Classical Recording by Nashville Scene

Michael Samis was interviewed on WMOT (public radio station for Middle Tennessee State University) about the release of his debut CD on Delos
October 3, 2014. Highlights:

full interview

Jerry Dubins' 2014 Annual "Want List"
Fanfare Magazine, September 27, 2014
"I had no choice but to include on my Want List a disc sent to me by the performing artist and that just arrived as I was about to put a period to my 38:2 contributions. Cellist Michael Samis mailed me a copy of his Delos CD with Gregory Wolynec conducting the Gateway Chamber Orchestra in a performance of a long-lost cello concerto by Carl Reinecke; and what a stunning beauty of a piece it is. If Mendelssohn had written his celebrated violin concerto for cello, quite literally, this is what it would have sounded like."

CD Review
The Whole Note, September 2, 2014
"Samis has the necessary big, warm tone, and there is some lovely orchestral support from the Gateway Chamber Orchestra under Gregory Wolynec...Samis’ playing throughout is of the highest order, and there is depth, resonance and excellent balance in the recorded sound." 
Read full review

CD Review: Nashville cellist Michael Samis releases his debut album with a little help from his friends at the Gateway Chamber Orchestra
Nashville Scene, August 14, 2014

"As the opening movement progresses, these themes are explored and developed with ever-increasing color and virtuosity. The second movement, for its part, comes across as a soulful meditation, while the finale is a playful romp. Samis performs all of this music with a golden tone and commanding technique."

Two Cellists, One Departed
Life, Death and Iguanas blog, July 24, 2014

INFODAD.com, July 17, 2014

"The solo-cello skill of Michael Samis is displayed more conventionally on a new Delos CD that gives Samis plenty of chances to show his virtuosic mettle...Bloch’s suite and the very modern works by Tavener and Golijov give Samis chances to show his considerable abilities to produce lovely sounds while exploring the technical and emotional range of his instrument."

CD Review: Listening Post
The Buffalo News, June 29, 2014

CD Review: Cellist Samis Makes the Case for Reinecke Concerto

Music in Cincinnati, June 26, 2014

"Composer Carl Reinecke (1824-1910) has a champion in cellist Michael Samis. The attention is well deserved, as demonstrated on Samis’ new release for Delos, 'Reinecke: Cello Concerto.' Performing with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra led by conductor Gregory Wolynec, Samis makes a splendid case for the revival of this long forgotten work."

"Samis brings it to life with great skill and dedication. His plush tone draws the listener in from the first statement of the shapely opening theme, and he soars in the calisthenic cadenza that concludes the first movement."

Press Release
Magic of Crowd Sourcing Brings Lost Cello Concerto to Life: Cellist Michael Samis records debut CD featuring Reinecke’s music



Reinecke Cello Concerto music

The Story

Sometimes, great music is overlooked. The forgotten cello concerto of gifted and prolific composer Carl Reinecke is a lost gem that deserves a place in the repertoire. With no recording currently available, few people have ever heard it. I hope to change that by making it the centerpiece of my debut solo album, to be released on the Delos label by 2014.

On Feb. 11, 2013, I performed what was most likely the U.S. premiere of Reinecke's Cello Concerto with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra.

"Cellist Michael Samis, a member of the GCO and the Nashville Symphony, was a remarkable presence during the next piece of music, the American premiere of German composer Carl Reinecke’s Cello Concerto, Op. 82. Samis performed on an antique cello that was crafted in Naples, Italy around 1850, and he matched his instrument’s beauty with the dark looks and intense emotion of a silent movie actor..."
Read the full review (Leaf-Chronicle, 2/17/13)

Reinecke wrote music in the tradition of his early Romantic-era teachers, Mendelssohn and Schumann. I love to play music of this time because of its singing melodies, profound expression, and power to communicate emotionally. Mendelssohn was my first “favorite composer” as a kid – I played my mother's CD of his violin concerto over and over.

About a year ago, I discovered Reinecke's cello concerto, written in 1864. After playing the opening theme, I decided that I had to learn this piece. Its soaring melodies and brilliant virtuosity remind me of Mendelssohn's violin concerto.

Reinecke's music was overlooked because it was considered “out of fashion” at the time. Today I find it compelling and full of emotion, as it looks back to the work of composers like Schumann and Mendelssohn. This album is built around connections to the past, with works that look back to music and people for their inspiration.

Schumann's lyricism was clearly a part of Reinecke's musical voice. This disc will include the first-ever recording of Schumann's charming Adagio and Allegro in a setting for cello and orchestra by the great conductor, Ernest Ansermet.

Twentieth-century composer Ernest Bloch, during the final years of his life, looked back to the unaccompanied cello suites of J.S. Bach, after which he modeled three suites of his own. I will record the first of the three – I am moved by the power of its dark and somber language.

For music of a more personal nature I turn to two of my favorite living composers. Both Osvaldo Golijov's Mariel, for cello and marimba, and John Tavener's Threnos, for solo cello, were written following the death of their close friends, and reflect on their lives and memories. Eric Willie will join me on the Golijov.

I look forward to sharing such passionate, stirring music with people across the world.

Related News:

Cincinnatian rediscovers forgotten cello concerto (Cincinnati.com, 4/11/13)

Samis soars in music of Bach, Bloch, Tavener and Golijov (ArtsNash, 3/4/13)

A Forgotten Concerto Remembered (Music in Cincinnati blog, 3/25/13)

Michael Samis to Resurrect Forgotten Cello Concerto for Debut Album (Contrapuntist blog, 2/21/13)

Gateway Chamber Orchestra unleashes angelic notes (The Leaf Chronicle, 2/17/13)

Cellist Michael Samis set to premiere rare Romantic concerto (ArtsNash, 2/10/13)

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Photo credits: Dean Dixon, Carrie Plummer, Amy Dickerson and Mingzhe Wang

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