Steven Lubin: Piano & Fortepiano


In the past few seasons, pianist Steven Lubin has performed as concerto soloist or recitalist in England, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Finland, Ukraine, Australia, and all across North America. He has appeared as soloist in many of the world’s great concert halls (Avery Fisher, Alice Tully, Barbican Center, Kennedy Center, Davies, Herbst, Concertgebouw, Musikverein, Wigmore, Queen Elizabeth, St. John’s Smith Square, Myerson, Ambassador, Ordway, Severance, El Auditorio de Zaragoza, etc.), and in major international festivals (Lufthansa, South Bank, Regensburg, Colmar, Utrecht, La Roque d’Antheron, Aranjuez, Ravinia, Espoo, Mostly Mozart, Mainly Mozart, etc.). He has performed with the National Symphony, the Odessa Philharmonic, the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, the St. Paul and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestras, the Academy of Ancient Music of London, the Wiener Akademie, Il Fondamento, and many others. He has recorded twenty CDs, mostly for major labels, and has received critical approbation worldwide for his artistry, musical originality and technical excellence.

As an early musician, in his sub-specialty as fortepianist, Mr. Lubin has been a dominating figure for two decades. He pioneered a series of solo recitals including fortepiano in major New York venues (including his 1977 debut in Carnegie Recital Hall), and, having organized a classic-period orchestra in the early 80s, offered pathbreaking performances of Mozart concertos in period style, as soloist/conductor, in several of New York’s principal halls (Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum).

His recordings of several Mozart concertos for Arabesque served as an introduction for many listeners world-wide to period-style performance of this repertoire. These recordings garnered widespread critical praise, including a recording-of-the-year citation from Stereo Review magazine, and earned Mr. Lubin a European reputation. He was chosen by Decca to record the five piano concertos of Beethoven with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, a recording cited as definitive by many critics internationally, and named as one of the most distinguished recordings of the year by Stereo Review, The New York Times, Gramophone, Fanfare, and The Penguin Guide. Mr. Lubin has also released a series of highly acclaimed recordings for Harmonia Mundi USA. 

Mr. Lubin received his bachelors degree in philosophy at Harvard College, and his masters in piano at the Juilliard School. He earned a Ph.D. in musicology at New York University, with an analytic dissertation on Beethoven. He served as Head of the Graduate Theory Department as a professor at Cornell University, and has also taught at Vassar College and the Juilliard School. He has published substantially in the musical area, and has a busy lecture career. He is currently Professor of Music at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, Purchase, NY. In 2001, he was the recipient of a Kempner Distinguished Professor Award at Purchase College.



  • Complete Piano Concertos, Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, Decca, L’Oiseau Lyre 421 408-2 (3 CDs)
  • Solo Piano Sonatas Opp.13, 27/2, and 31/2 (“Pathétique,” “Moonlight,” “Tempest”), Decca, L’Oiseau Lyre 425 836-2
  • Horn Sonata Op.17–see below under Miscellany


  • Piano Concertos in Eb, no.14 (K.449) and C, no.21 (K.467), Classical Soundings 1001
  • Piano Concertos in d, no.20 (K.466) and A, no.23 (K.488), Arabesque Z6530
  • Piano Concertos in A, no.12 (K.414) and Bb, no.15 (K.450), Arabesque Z6552
  • Concert Aria, Ch’io mi scordi di te, K.505, Co-soloist (with Emma Kirkby), Decca, L’Oiseau Lyre 425 835-2
  • Complete Piano Trios, with The Mozartean Players, Harmonia Mundi USA 907033.34 (2 CDs)
  • Piano Quartets in g and Eb (K.478 and 493), with The Mozartean Players, HMU 907018
  • Solo Sonatas in F (K.332) and Bb (K.333), Spectrum, SR-125
  • Duo Sonatas in D (K.448) and F (K.497), with Anthony Newman, Arabesque 8125


  • “Trout” Quintet in A (D.667), and seven Lieder, with tenor John Mark Ainsley, Decca, L’Oiseau Lyre 433 848-2
  • Complete Piano Trios, with The Mozartean Players: Trio in Bb, Op.99 (d.898); Adagio (Notturno] in Eb, Op. Posth.148 (D .897); Allegro [Sonatensatz] in Bb (D.28), Harmonia Mundi USA 907094; and: Trio in Eb, Op.100 (D.929), Harmonia Mundi USA 907095


  • Piano Concerto in D (Hob.XVIII/11), with The Mozartean Players, Arabesque 6510
  • Trios in C (Hob.XV/27) and Eb (Hob.XV/29), with The Mozartean Players, Arabesque 8126-2
  • Trios in G (Hob.XV/25, “Gypsy Rondo”), d (Hob.XV/23), G (Hob.XV/16) and D (Hob,XV/16), with The Mozartean Players, Arabesque 8123-2


  • Brahms, Horn Trio, Op.40, with Lowell Greer, horn, and Stephanie Chase, violin; Beethoven, Horn Sonata, Op.17; von Krufft, Horn Sonata; Harmonia MundiUSA 907037

Steven Lubin’s new CD release on the Classical Soundings label features Mozart’s Concertos K.449 and 467, performed on period instruments with The Mozartean Players. Soon to be released will be Chopin works, including the Sonata in B Minor, Op.58, performed on modern piano.


Twice cited by Stereo Review for Recordings of the Year: for the Mozart Concerto, K.488, and for the Beethoven-Concerto cycle

Twice included in New York Times year-end roundups of outstanding recordings of the year: for The Beethoven cycle and the Mozart Piano Quartets

Twice included in Gramophone’s outstanding recordings of the year roundups: for the Beethoven cycle and the Trout Quintet

Three times cited by Alte Musik aktuell for recordings of the month: for the Mozart Concerto K.488, for the Beethoven Solo Sonatas, and for the Schubert Eb Trio

Included in Fanfare’s Want List (1989) for the Beethoven cycle

The Beethoven-Concerto cycle was picked by Penguin (1989) and the Stevenson Classical Compact Disc Guide (1990) as the outstanding one available

Brio awards (2002, 2006, 2009) from The Bronx Council on the Arts, for Chopin recordings


“Delivered with a heroic conception…a performance to remember.”

— The New York Times

“A great pianist…a Mozart interpreter of genius.  Music—it alone—reigns as absolute ruler when Lubin plays.”

— Eric de Gaudemar, le Méridionale (concert à La Roque d’Anthéron, France)

“Perhaps closer to what Beethoven heard in his imagination than anything recorded before.”

— Stanley Sadie, Gramophone, UK

“Lubin is a superb pianist, a virtuoso of the keyboard.”

Giovanni Toffano, Il Mattino di Padova

“His playing is beautiful, clean, precise, gentle and decisive at the same time, and he creates moments of profound intensity.”

Laura Poli, Music, Italy

“This interpreter, apart from a marvelous sense of cantabile devoid of sentimentality…is striking for the care he demonstrates in preserving the polyphonic clarity of the text…Lubin’s playing is a  model of equilibrium and taste…he recreates the essence of Beethoven’s music.”

Alain Cochard, Diapason [3 Sonates de Beethoven, Decca]

“Lubin’s Houston debut showed him to be a masterly performer…he exhibited a brilliant technique and the artistic sensitivity that puts virtuosity where it belongs: at the service of great musical interpretations.”

— Carl Cunningham, Houston Post

“I believe that any attentive listener will instinctually respond to the wonderfully civilized manner in which Lubin blends his various disciplines on his recordings—one of today’s most accomplished and engagingly communicative fortepianists.”

— Peter G. Davis, New York Magazine

“His playing is clean, unmannered and deeply musical, virtuosic but never ostentatious.”

— Tim Page, Newsweek

“As one of the foremost American fortepianists, Lubin has learned how to make the music come vibrantly alive—his phrasing was elegant and, in the [Haydn] E-flat Major sonata, the vigor of the drama was urgently and majestically realized.”

— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

“The sheer fragility of the fortepiano, rocking under the impact of the ferocious assault, enhances the drama of these riveting and insightful performances.”

— K. Robert Schwarz, The New York Times

“Steven Lubin provides miraculous solo playing on four different fortepianos to mark different stages of development during Beethoven’s life.  It can be easily recommended as the best recording of the Beethoven concertos in the catalogue.”

— Jonathan RichmondThe Tech

“Steven Lubin was the soloist in Mozart’s ‘Coronation’ Concerto… Mozart favored a translucent sound and a singing melody that “must flow like oil”…Mr. Lubin demonstrated this approach with clearly delineated articulation…he played with a singing tone.”

Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times

“His playing is sharply etched and ruthlessly good.”  —Robert Strobl, Toccata, Germany

“Lubin allowed good, old-fashioned showmanship to carry him—and the music—through to an exhilarating finale…blisteringly virtuosic.”

Neville Cohen, The West Australian

“Steven Lubin’s affinity for the subtle pallette of the fortepiano has made him one of the leading specialists in the instrument.  His secure, sensitive playing provided a strong foundation for the animated performance…”  

Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun

“He brought out all the glory of Beethoven and Chopin.”

Joseph McClellan, Washington Post 

“Steven Lubin’s incredible subtlety of timbre and registration has never been equaled…”

Vincent Agrech, Diapason, France

“Lubin astonishes in Mendelssohn—yesterday’s listeners heard an impassioned Mendelssohn [Concertgebouw, Amsterdam]…the altogether raging energy of the music-making, the sheer joy in playing, overwhelmed the listeners.”

Ernst Vermeulen, NRC Handelsblad, Amsterdam

“The debut concert of his current Spanish tour…could not have been a happier beginning.  He played with a captivating liveliness and brilliance, and totally dazzled his listeners.”

Juan Angel Vela del Campo, El Pais, Spain

“An exceptionally satisfying recital…by a seasoned professional who presents the music with secure technique and a directness of rhythm and phraseology. With Chopin’s B-minor Sonata Lubin confirmed that he is not a period-instrument practitioner by default.  He possesses the technique to do justice to the most demanding 19th-century literature.”

Herbert Glass, The Los Angeles Times

“Steven Lubin proved to be not only a great pianist, but a Mozart interpreter of genius, one of the finest before the public today.”

Eric de Gaudemar, Le Méridionale, France

“Steven Lubin, the fortepiano soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24, played with poetry and sensitivity and offered a dazzling cadenza.”

Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

“Many listeners think of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto as the dawning of the new romantic era, and keyboardist Steven Lubin suggested just that [Ravinia Festival].  This was a First Concerto of remarkable imagination, wit and lyrical grace.”

Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

“A particularly graceful musician.  It seems a simple thing to make listeners hear precisely where phrases begin and end, but many performers cannot, and few do it as well as this one.”

Bernard Holland, The New York Times

“Above all there was the fortepiano, played by Steven Lubin, who is the guiding spirit behind the Mozartean Players and a leader in the fortepiano revival.  The result was fascinating to hear…Mr. Lubin’s playing justified the fortepiano not through its sound alone, but through the artistry that he brought to his interpretation.”

John Rockwell, The New York Times

“Perhaps this country’s leading exponent of the fortepiano.”

Bill Zakariasen, New York Daily News

“One of the fortepiano’s better solo exponents…Mr. Lubin showed how subtly, colorfully and convincingly a work such as the Mozart sonata could be played on something other than a modern concert grand.”

Raymond Ericson, The New York Times

“He played with exhilarating fluency.”

Donal Henahan, The New York Times

New York Times Reviews

New York Times Coverage Since 1977

February 11, 1977

The textures remained marvelously transparent…he played everything with spirit and taste. [Carnegie Recital Hall]
—Donal Henahan

May 11, 1979

The more one hears approximations of late 18th-century performance sound, the more desirable they sound. The lowered dynamic levels and reduced tensions heightened the lyricism of this music…[Carnegie Recital Hall]
—Allen Hughes

November 23, 1980

One of the fortepiano’s better solo exponents…he showed how subtly, colorfully and convincingly a work such as the Mozart sonata could be played on something other than a modern concert grand…The instruments, perfectly balanced in strength, sounding with the utmost clarity, both mellow and bright in tone, gave complete delight throughout the evening…the results were irresistible. The Mozartean Players will begin a concerto series in Alice Tully Hall on January 14, and it should be something to look forward to. [Carnegie Recital Hall]
—Raymond Erickson

December 21, 1980

It was a year when pianos fought each other in public, and when the piano’s more civilized ancestor, the fortepiano, finally attracted the attention of the conertgoing public…as for the gentle-voiced fortepiano, its emergence from the mists of keyboard history has added a valuable dimension to musical life. Such early proponents as Steven Lubin and Malcolm Bilson kept busy at their missionary work and they were joined by others who had built their careers on the modern grand or harpsichord. All at once the fortepiano had become almost modish. [Round-up of the musical year]
—Donal Henahan

December 28, 1980

On January 14 [1981] at Alice Tully Hall, Steven Lubin will become the first fortepianist to give a program of concertos in New York.
—Joseph Horowitz

January 19, 1981

It was a sound that had absolutely nothing in common with the Mozart concerto performances we all grew up on…the textures sounded natural, intimate, beautifully balanced. [Alice Tully Hall]
—Harold Schonberg

November 11, 1981

All the performers—including…Steven Lubin, fortepiano—gave a mature sheen to our charming and adolescent “Musick.” [Concert of Early-American song]
—Edward Rothstein

May 2, 1982

At first, Mr. Lubin’s suggestion that “these works make complete sense only if performed as intended”…encourages rebellion in the reader. Yet, at the appearance of the gypsy-flavored rondo, the doubts evaporate. [Haydn recording]
—Allan Kozinn

February 6, 1983

Mozart’s multiple keyboard works have…come in for thorough and competitive exploration on both old and new instruments. The most intriguing entry is a collaboration by Steven Lubin and Anthony Newman, who address the four-hand Sonata in F, K.497, and the Sonata for Two Pianos in D, K.448 (Arabesque 8125). Playing slightly jangly, bright-toned fortepianos, Messrs. Lubin and Newman light into the quick movements with a gripping vehemence, and turn the slow movements into pictures of crystalline grace.
—Edward Rothstein

March 13, 1983

Steven Lubin’s fortepiano lines sparkle amid refreshingly transparent orchestral textures.
—Allan Kozinn

April 10, 1983

The real gem of the night was the Mozart Piano Concerto No.23 in A (K.488), with its rich wind writing intoned by the period instruments. Mr. Lubin is not just a scholar; he is a musician, too. His playing justified the fortepiano not through its sound alone, but through the artistry that he brought to his interpretation.
—John Rockwell

July 28, 1983

This year’s installment of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra has received much justified praise. But of the three hours of playing at Avery Fisher Hall on Monday evening, far and away the best work of the night came from the keyboard players, or more precisely two of them. The two were Steven Lubin…and Alicia de Larrocha…Mr. Lubin’s playing was both superbly controlled and deftly sensitive.
—John Rockwell

April 22, 1984

Most people must have a list of bygone spectacles they would like to check in on, if someone would invent a time machine. High on my list are: Mozart’s public concerto performances in Vienna in the 1780’s; the Globe Theater in Shakespeare’s day; Plato’s Academy; the ducal court at Ferrara in the 1490’s, when Josquin was there; and Ebbets Field in 1947, Jackie Robinson’s rookie year…[Arts and Leisure feature article written by SL: “Mozart Must Have Thwacked Out Octaves, Too”]

May 2, 1984

The Mozartean Players Classical Orchestra…at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, under the direction of Steven Lubin, was both musically and historically rewarding. Mr. Lubin led from the fortepiano, on which he also offered bracing performances of two Mozart concertos.
—Tim Page

August, 5, 1984

Mozart’s twelfth piano concerto was played as it might have been in an aristocratic patron’s drawing room…the fortepiano added just the right touch of crispness and unassertive rhythmic underpinning to the smooth string sound. Mr. Lubin’s playing was fluent and full of wit. [Mostly Mozart Festival]
—Will Crutchfield

October 7, 1984

A particularly graceful musician…he is a very satisfying keyboard player. It seems a simple thing to make listeners hear precisely where phrases begin and end, but many performers cannot, and few do it as well as this one. [Carnegie Recital Hall]
—Bernard Holland

December 2, 1984

The performance is subtle and effective….sparklingly played.” [Mozart-recording round-up]
—Paul Turok

May 4, 1986

He played the quick outer movements with splendid dash. The fast scale-work for once sounded virtuosic: on a fortepiano, the soloist can let it rip at full force… [Metropolitan Museum]
—Will Crutchfield

July 14, 1986

The earlier chamber music [programmed in Pepsico’s Summerfare Haydn Festival] offered some lovely fortepiano performances by Steven Lubin.
—Bernard Holland

July 29, 1987

Steven Lubin brought to the solo part a lively imagination and a zest for fast tempos…[Mostly Mozart Festival]
—Will Crutchfield

March 4, 1988

Handling the instrument and delving into the theoretical literature of Mozart’s day, the pianist says, have brought him a long way from his starting points in understanding the spirit of the composer. [Feature article citing 92nd-Street Y solo concert]
—Will Crutchfield

March 7, 1988

Delivered with a heroic conception…for unity, coherence and conviction it was a performance to remember. [92nd Street Y]
—Will Crutchfield

November 28, 1988

Steven Lubin, the soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24, played with poetry and sensitivity and offered a dazzling first-movement cadenza. [Town Hall]
—Allan Kozinn

July 3, 1988

Mr. Lubin plays with full conviction; he knows how to build a climax, to “take it away” toward the end of a cadenza, to underline a crucial point. [Decca Beethoven-Concerto cycle]
—Will Crutchfield

December 25, 1988

The list of concerto recordings was headed by the complete Beethoven piano concertos with Steven Lubin on various fortepianos and Christopher Hogwood conducting. [Recordings-of-the-Year round-up]
—John Rockwell

May 7, 1989

One of the nice things about hearing period-instrument concerts these days is that the instruments themselves are generally well played and less of an issue than they used to be. This is by way of saying that when the Mozartean Players came to the Metropolitan Museum on Friday night, Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn were more on our minds than what they were being played on.
—Bernard Holland

July 16, 1989

In the early 1980’s, this pianist made some superb fortepiano recordings with his period instrument band, the Mozartean Players, but he has always been drawn to more conventional Romantic pianism as well. [Concert announcement, Maverick, Woodstock, NY]
—Allan Kozinn

September 27, 1989

Mr. Lubin opened the program with Haydn’s Piano Sonata in E flat (H. XVI:52), in a darker, more forceful reading than fortepianists usually coax from their comparatively softspoken instruments. Mr. Lubin tapped into the work’s incipient Romanticism, highlighting its frequent shifts from bright, if not quite sunny, passages to turbulent ones. The Adagio, in particular, benefited from a soulful and timbrally variegated approach; and in the closing Presto, Mr. Lubin used pauses between the main theme’s phrases to great dramatic effect. [Music Before 1800]
—Allan Kozinn

September 9, 1990

Mr. Lubin’s chamber group, The Mozartean Players, is setting a high standard in the difficult medium of piano plus strings. [Mozart-performance round-up]
—Richard Taruskin

October 12, 1991

It is always fascinating to return to the first work Beethoven published, his Piano Trio in E flat of 1794 or earlier (Op. 1, No. 1), in ever fuller awareness of the riches to follow from that composer. It was especially so on Oct. 4 at Weill Recital Hall, with the trio presented by the Mozartean Players in a well-conceived context of near-contemporaneous works by Mozart and Haydn…The Mozartean Players’ performances were generally fine. Steven Lubin played a Regier copy of a Walter fortepiano from about 1790 with good fluency in the rattling figurations…
—James Oestreich

February 1, 1992

This concert [Alice Tully Hall] was…the beginning of a fortepiano series mounted by the Mozart Bicentennial at Lincoln Center…Mr. Lubin played vividly in the Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je maman” (K.265) and in the Concerto No. 1. His edgy temperament did not preclude a certain thoughtfulness, and in the minor-key variation on the nursery tune, he waxed downright brainy, interpolating the first theme of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, a fillip in keeping with the work’s ebullient cleverness.
—James Oestreich

March 22. 1992

Anyone who might expect yet another complacent run-through of Beethoven’s “Pathátique,” “Moonlight,” and “Tempest” Sonatas here would be in for a shock…Mr. Lubin heightens the overall effect by means of sharply pointed accentuations and a strikingly broad dynamic range. In fact, Beethoven’s dynamic and textural juxtapositions seem even more extreme in this austere context. And the sheer fragility of the fortepiano, rocking under the impact of the ferocious assault, enhances the drama of these reveting and insightul performances.
—K. Robert Schwartz

April 7, 1993

Steven Lubin offered a look at Mozart’s darker and more sober side in his expressively shaped accounts of the A-minor Sonata, an Adagio in B minor (K.540), and the Funeral March in C minor (K.453a). [Lincoln Center’s Fortepiano Festival, Alice Tully Hall]
—Allan Kozinn

July 5, 1993

Mr. Lubin’s delightful version of the Mozart variations is well known by now. His very hulking presence at his little instrument (a Regier copy of a Walter piano from about 1790) adds humor to the “Twinkle, Twinkle” association, and the dark drama he imports from Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 into the second minor variation sets up the thoughtful ending beautifully…Mr. Lubin was no less impressive in the ensemble works, offering meaningful rhythmic hesitations in the Mozart and pointed articulation of the witty themes in the Haydn and Beethoven finales. His stamina, in spinning out so many exposed and unforgiving passages cleanly, was remarkable.
—James Oestreich

March 7, 1996

Schubert’s E-flat Trio, given a tasteful, nonabrasive original-instruments rendition by the Mozartean Players (Harmonia Mundi 907095)
—Alex Ross

December 5, 1997

Fans of Classical and early Romantic piano music will know Steven Lubin for his exemplary fortepiano recordings of the Mozart and Beethoven concertos and some of the Beethoven sonatas. But Mr. Lubin is also a fine performer on the modern piano, and he has at times expressed a preference for the larger sonorities and broader expressive flexibility of the concert grand.
—Allan Kozinn

February 4, 2000

This pianist has provided some fine, provocative performances of both Classical repertory played on the fortepiano and Romantic literature performed on a concert grand. [Concert announcement]
—Allan Kozinn

March 25, 2001

Steven Lubin has been a faculty member at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College for 25 years. He is also an international concert pianist and a founder of the early-music movement in this country. He was first to play the fortepiano, an 18th-century piano, in New York recital halls. He formed the Mozartean Players, a chamber music ensemble devoted to period performance, and their recordings introduced listeners to Mozart played in period style. He has made 20 recordings including five Beethoven concertos recorded with Christopher Hogwood and the London Academy of Ancient Music. Purchase College has awarded Mr. Lubin its Kempner Distinguished Professor Award for 1999-2001 for international achievement. On April 4 at noon he will give the lecture associated with the award at the Conservatory of Music Recital Hall, using the piano to illustrate his talk, titled “Math, Music and Miracles.” In a recent interview, he talked about his lecture and about early music…[Feature article in the Westchester edition]
—Margo Nash

October 5, 2004

The pianist Steven Lubin once gambled correctly that if he built one, they would come. The object in question was a fortepiano, modeled after those used in Mozart’s day. Mr. Lubin was one of the first New Yorkers to perform widely on the fortepiano. In 1979, he founded the Mozartean Players, a period-instrument ensemble that performed on Sunday evening as part of the New York Early Music Celebration…Haydn’s remarkable F-minor Piano Variations, played by Mr. Lubin with equal portions of vigor and grace, was the highlight. [Frick Museum]
—Jeremy Eichler

July 26, 2008

Steven Lubin was the soloist in Mozart’s “Coronation” Concerto… Mozart favored a translucent sound and a singing melody that ‘must flow like oil’… Mr. Lubin demonstrated this approach with clearly delineated articulation… he played with a singing tone.
—Vivien Schweitzer

February 13, 2009

The eloquent and scholarly pianist Steven Lubin opens the weekend at this floating concert hall [The Barge] with two big Romantic works…
—Allan Kozinn

Reviews: Beethoven-Concerto Cycle

L’Oiseau-Lyre [Decca] 421 408-2, three CDs, with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music

Excerpts from some of the favorable reviews garnered, worldwide:

“What a joy, this Beethoven cycle—a godsend for the performance-practice partisan that merits comparison even to modern-instrument mainstays like Fleisher and Kempff.  Lubin’s playing of four different fortepianos is mature and imaginative.”

David Claris, Fanfare wish list

“Steven Lubin, a renowned fortepiano specialist, seeks to convince, never to shock.  His playing, technically very assured, is of a clarity and transparency to which we are not at all accustomed in this repertoire.  He possesses the fluidity and grace that suit the earlier concertos so well, but he also knows how to wax ardent and combative in the two mature masterworks.  Lubin possesses a singing line of remarkable profundity.  The adagio of the Fifth Concerto, as well as that of the Third, are voluptuously poetic.  Despite a respect for the letter, the spirit is very much a presence.  All of Beethoven is in evidence here, with its gripping contrasts and its play of shadow and light.”

— Francis Albou, Répertoire [France]

“Steven Lubin provides miraculous solo playing on four different fortepianos to mark different stages of development during Beeethoven’s life.  It can be easily recommended as the best recording of the Beethoven concertos in the catalog.”

— Jonathan Richmond, The Tech [MIT]

“Steven Lubin’s playing is beautiful, clean, precise, graceful and yet resolute, and he achieves moments of profound intensity, as in the Adagio of the Emperor.”

— Laura Poli, Musica [Italy]

“The just-released recording of the five Beethoven Piano Concertos results from a collaboration between the American pianist Steven Lubin and the Academy of Ancient Music, directed by Christopher Hogwood—and it is in fact phenomenal.  A virtuoso soloist playing four different copies of Viennese pianos loses none of the specialness of each—he draws out all the instruments’ finest nuances, without ever thereby losing the forest for the trees.”

— Musik-Journal [Germany]

“If we play the concertos in the order in which they were composed, we do sense a ‘growth’ in the form, and Beethoven’s mastery of it; but the playing style varies appropriately, so that the parts of this series are as interesting as the whole.  Most of the tempos seem just about right, and the pacing of movements are thoroughly convincing.  The technical standards are high: the solo playing is virtually flawless, the orchestral articulation very clean.”

William Drabkin, Early Music

“The set is an arresting, controversial experience.  Lubin’s pianism is extremely cultivated, and Hogwood stresses clarity and rhythmic verve.”

— Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Examiner

“You’d better listen.  These recordings challenge the status quo as much as or more than previous efforts of this kind.  It is almost as if the early-instrument approach permits the musicians to be forthright and lyrical, and full-blooded and dramatic, without having to be either eccentric or academic.  The real proof is in the pudding.  And what a pudding!  What matters is that the sound is right, and so are the tempos, the phrasing, the larger architecture, the drama.”

— Eric Salzman, Stereo Review

“The Lubin/Hogwood set is not only the first complete series of these pieces on period instruments but also, I think, a set of great performances.”

— Leslie Gerber, Fanfare wish list

“Lubin achieves an extraordinary color range in the solo parts, within the seeming limitations of nuance of the historic pianos, and elicits from each instrument its maximum of tonal charm.  It is generally astonishing how all the painstaking scholarly research for this project in no way diminishes its artistic impact.  The recordings burst with vitality, and are as unlike bloodless academic test-tube samples as they could possibly be.”

Joseph Oehrlein, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [Germany]

“The whole performance has plenty of vitality.  Lubin has many sensitive details of timing, shaping the music attentively, sometimes pushing urgently towards a cadence: all very aptly tuned to the vigorous, fiery young Beethoven…There is a lot of tension in Lubin’s playing, with a certain amount of holding back and pressing forward as his view of the musical sense demands; the effect is of a large-scale performance, of the kind that keeps one on the edge of one’s seat…perhaps closer to what Beethoven heard in his imagination than anything recorded before.”

— Stanley Sadie, Gramophone [England]

“Here is a very bold step into little charted waters.  Lubin uses four different pianos: I like best the pungent piano in the bustling First Concerto, and the sturdy one used for the Emperor, which attains a steely eloquence in the slow movement.  These are no-nonsense readings, sharp-edged and often very exciting.”

— Nicholas Kenyon, The Observer [England]

“With the release of all Beethoven’s piano concertos played on historical instruments, it is clear that some kind of milestone has been reached in the early music movement…Mr. Lubin plays with full conviction; he knows how to build a climax, to “take it away” toward the end of a cadenza, to underline a crucial point.  This is a set everyone interested in the Beethoven concertos should have, fascinating for what it adumbrates and satisfying for what it achieves.”

— Will Crutchfield, The New York Times

“The performances are excellent…I suspect that many listeners will prefer Lubin/Hogwood to all others in this highly competitive field.”

— Joseph McClellan, The Washington Post

“Lubin uses the extra clarity of the fortepiano very tellingly and, though speeds are on the brisk side, he is never extreme, and slow movements are allowed to breathe and find poetry and repose.  Hogwood accompanies with freshness and resilience, and the recording is attractively vivid.”

— Edward Greenfield, The New Penguin Guide [England]

“For the listener who has heard the Beethoven concertos played only on modern pianos, any one of Lubin’s realizations is startling enough to make it seem as though the concerto is being heard for the first time. From the standpoint of technique and musicianship…Lubin’s [are] shapely, animated, and always brilliantly articulated accounts.”

James Wierzbicki, Musical America

“Lubin’s pianism has a freewheeling  joie-de-vivre that serves to inspire conductor Hogwood.  Lubin is deeply concerned with phrasing and shaping, and that concern makes his performances eminently worthwhile.”

— Harris Goldsmith, Musical America

“Lubin proves adept at drawing contrasts and building them in varied and interesting ways.  Lubin’s special insight and imagination and intense lyricism [contribute to] the success of his venture.”

Jonathan Richmond, Christian Science Monitor

“Authenticity in the narrowest sense is not the primary issue here.  There is no attempt to produce a precious or quaint sound; on the contrary these pieces are bold and spacious in their interpretation. This is a very welcome and definitive performance.  There is no doubt among several reviewers that this set will become the standard against which all future authentic instrument performances will be compared; with these recordings in your collection, you really will not need a “modern”-instrument version at all.”

— Jim Pollard, The Blue Note

“Steven Lubin uses four different instruments for the five concertos, and readily justifies that in the development and expansion from no.2 (the first written) through to the Emperor.  The articulation of passagework is sparklingly clear in a way virtually impossible on a modern Steinway.  Slow movements have the lyrical poetry and repose one needs.  Even in the hushed question and answer of recitative at the end of the Adagio of no.2, with its amazing anticipation of Beethoven’s last period, Lubin conveys on his light-toned instrument the necessary weight and gravity.  In no.3 Beethoven’s own big cadenza for the first movement comes out marvellously well, with the flurries of figuration in their new clarity more than usually conveying the flavour of what a Beethoven improvisation must have really been like.”

— Edward Greenfield, The Guardian [England]

“If these recordings become the standard period instrument performance of Beethoven’s piano concertos, it will not simply be because this is the first complete cycle available on CD.  Steven Lubin does not merely play Beethoven on the fortepiano.  He transforms the instrument from a quaint antique into a powerful and intriguingly individual musical voice.  It is Lubin’s command of each musical moment that contributes the decisive human dimension to the impact of his instrument’s distinctive sonorities.  This inspired collaboration between Lubin and Hogwood’s Academy of Ancient Music stands impressively on its own as a legitimate and substantial interpretation of Beethoven’s great cycle of concertos.  With this set in your library you really don’t need a “modern” version.  All of the expressive shading is here, and all of the sweeping dynamics too.  It’s the real thing.”

 Tom Vernier, Digital Audio & Compact Disc Review

“Less than twenty years for a cascade of revolutions that takes us from the classical Mozartean mold to the titanic daring of the “Emperor!”  It is just this individuality that the complete Lubin-Hogwood edition succeeds in restoring to each of these pages.  It is aided in this by the pianist’s choice of instruments; he demonstrates decisively to what extent the master’s writing was a consequence of instrumental innovations.  This would not suffice to cause a stir, however, if it were not supported by a liberty of playing and phrasing, a search for supple and free sonorities that recreate a delightful spirit of surprise and a sense of improvisation.”

 Serge Martin, Diapason [France]

“There is plenty of personality in these performances, particularly from the pianist… Any set that gives us such excellent performances, so well recorded, and provides us the opportunity to hear old music with new ears deserves a strong recommendation.  I’m especially glad that the worthy playing of Lubin, a superb artist, will be getting this wide exposure.”

— Leslie Gerber, Fanfare

“I’ll not give up any of the great sets of the past: Schnabel/Sargent, Fleischer/Szell, Kempff, or the various recordings by Curzon, Gould, and the like.  But this one will certainly take a place of honor with them. Though I find all of the performances entrancing, the passion which Lubin brings to the Third is especially attractive.  In the Emperor we find the whole emerging with a new-minted splendor.  One can imagine how boldly original this music must have sounded in 1809 when originally heard!”

— John Bauman, American Record Guide

“Listening to these discs, one realizes how this work has been accomplished without a trace of pedantry.  The performances are, from all perspectives, truly exemplary: Lubin and Hogwood have reached a level, in the care with which they phrase, in the quality of the sounds they produce, in the pure beauty of the music-making, that would be awfully hard to surpass.”

— Fernando de Carli, Compact Disc [Italy]



“Delivered with a heroic conception..a performance to remember.”

The New York Times

“A great pianist…a Mozart interpreter of genius.”

Méridionale, France

“Perhaps closer to what Beethoven heard in his imagination than anything recorded before.”

Gramophone, UK
Steven Lubin’s fortepiano lines sparkle amid refreshingly transparent orchestral textures.
The New York Times