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Michael Samis, cellist

Cellist Michael Samis and the Gateway Chamber Orchestra's CD on the Delos label has been named Recording of the Month from Music Web International

"Michael Samis’ debut solo album is as eclectic as anything we’ve seen in years. There’s a world-premiere of a major romantic concerto, another premiere of a romantic piece updated by a beloved conductor, and two works by important contemporary composers. We have Robert Schumann on one hand and a marimba duet on the other...Did I mention that Samis gives a truly heroic, attention-grabbing and, I hope, career-advancing performance in every single work?"

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

"If someone at Hyperion is reading this, Reinecke’s Concerto is the perfect candidate for the next volume in your Romantic Cello Concerto series, though I can’t imagine any cellist alive today playing it any more brilliantly or beautifully than Michael Samis, which brings me to the artist and the performance.

...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.

...I have nothing but lauds and applauds for Michael Samis, Gregory Wolynec, the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, Carl Reinecke, the recording engineers who produced this magnificent sounding CD in Mabry Concert Hall at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, and for Delos for having the corporate values and vision to give Samis and these fine musicians the platform of a mainstream record label on which to demonstrate their considerable talents.

...Purchase of this CD is mandatory."

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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…”

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"Michael Samis is a terrific cellist. His solo playing is strong and impassioned, yet exquisitely sensitive. He has a formidable technique to back up his superb musicianship.”
~Nicholas McGegan, Music Director-Conductor

"Michael’s playing combines a warm, singing tone with an unmatched sensitivity and informed approach to the repertoire. He is truly a musician of the highest caliber. In addition to his incredible musicianship, Michael is a true professional and I am honored to call him my colleague."
~Giancarlo Guerrero, Music Director-Conductor, Nashville Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor, Cleveland Orchestra Miami

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

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." 
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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

CD Review: ROMANTICISM PLUS, 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."

Samis soars in music of Bach, Bloch, Tavener and Golijov
"Nashville’s classical fans have long known of cellist Michael Samis’ intensely expressive artistry. On Sunday afternoon at Christ Church Cathedral, Samis revealed yet another side of his musical personality: Fearlessness...Samis’ concert was part of the Cathedral’s marvelous Sacred Space for the City Arts Series. Four of the five works on his program were written for unaccompanied cello. It takes a lot of (ahem) pluck to play this kind of music. Every note is sorely exposed. There’s no piano accompaniment to hide behind. It’s the musical equivalent of walking a tightrope without a safety net. To his credit, Samis played all of this music – two of J.S. Bach’s unaccompanied suites, one of Ernest Bloch’s suites and a John Tavener solo – with confidence, conviction and precision..."   Read full review
~John Pitcher, ArtsNash

Gateway Chamber Orchestra unleashes angelic notes on Clarksville: 'Heavenly Strings' concert transports audience
"Cellist Michael Samis 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 full review
~Karen Parr-Moody, Leaf-Chronicle

“Samis’s shining and expressive playing further highlighted the prominent melodic role of the cello.”
~Jonathan Neufeld,The Tennessean

“...The best performance of the night was Michael Samis playing an elegy for solo cello by John Tavener called Thrinos...Samis’ performance was thrilling in its silences. It seems like he held them a little longer, which creates the tension of waiting and of approaching letting the performance fall into pieces but pulling up before it does, and he tended well to the ends of notes and beginnings.”
~David Maddox, Perambulating the Bounds Blog

“Cellist Michael Samis has been a prominent performer on our Live in Studio C program on Nashville Public Radio. He has never failed to move me by his full, many-colored tone and the fine singerly qualities of his legato playing. Michael has shown that he is a highly accomplished player. I can recommend Michael without reservation as an excellent and emotionally involved young cellist.”
~Will Griffin of WPLN, Nashville’s NPR affiliate

“Saturday’s concert featured a lone 20th-century piece, Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano. Although this music is now 97 years old, it was still the most daring, original and ultimately musically satisfying piece on (the) program. Debussy’s harmonic vocabulary, which was brimming with whole tone and pentatonic scales, seemed far more advanced than the contemporary works on the bill. The sound effects—from bouncing the bow on the strings to playing close to the fingerboard—still have edge. Cellist Michael Samis and pianist Leah Bowes gave a riveting performance. The urgency in Samis’ playing won the evening’s most enthusiastic applause.”
~John Pitcher, ArtNowNashville

"I spent Erev Yom Kippur this year with my mother at University Hospitals, as she recovered from surgery performed the previous day. It was nearly sundown when a young man quietly came to her room carrying a cello. The musician told me that he was visiting the Jewish patients in the hospital wishing to play 'Kol Nidre' for them. I was so moved by his response that I needed to collect myself before I was able to ask my mother if she would like him to play his cello for her. When Michael Samis began to play, the powerful melody of the 'Kol Nidre' permeated the entire patient floor. Doctors, nurses, patients, and visitors all became silent, as if in respect for the music and what it represented. My mother has never missed attending services on the high holidays, nor have I. Although we did not go to the synagogue this year, she and I will always remember this particular night because of the generosity of the very special young man. Michael's gesture speaks of all the good deeds that we are taught to do unto others."
~Letter to the Editor, Cleveland Jewish News, from Trudy Wiesenberger of Shaker Heights, OH



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