By Lawrence A. Johnson
The Chicago debut of Seong-Jin Cho, at Mandel Hall Friday night, proved a major event—musically and perhaps sociologically.
Cho clearly possesses a world-class technique, polished to a high sheen. His arsenal is complete and unassailable, the pianist vaulting through some of the most technically demanding repertoire with guns blazing and nary a slip. Friday’s concert offered about as thrilling a display of sheer powerhouse keyboard bravura as one is ever likely to encounter.
With Cho’s program centered more on flashy display, the poetic qualities and interpretive distinction proved more intermittent, oddly for a Chopin winner. Still, there was sufficient evidence of deeper qualities to suggest that Cho has it in him to grow into a truly outstanding artist.