Zeynep Ucbasaran, concert pianist
Santa Barbara, California

What the critics are saying

W. A. Mozart Album (JDT3222) and pianist  ZEYNEP Ucbasaran

"An elegant double-helping from Pianist Zeynep Ucbasaran:  An agreeable elegance pervades pianist Zeynep Ucbasaran's playing on these discs. Many a pianist can manage the technical elements of Mozart's piano catalog; fewer have the affinity for his tonal shading and delicate phrasing. There is less room to maneuver, interpretively speaking, and Ucbasaran displays the nuance needed in her recital...Ucbasaran's treatment of the Fantasias is particularly telling of her innate ability. Eschewing the flashy interpretation often brought to these works in the name of capturing Mozart's improvisatory prowess, she pulls back. Her readings acknowledge that Mozart was indeed composing fantasias, and they should be treated with the same care as any of his works. Her patience unpacks these works in a more polished and ultimately convincing manner. Both sonatas then receive compelling performances."
Andrew Druckenbrod, The Gramophone
"The Turkish pianist Zeynep Ucbasaran, who since 1996 has been living in California is fast becoming one of the foremost performers amongst today's legion of excellent pianists. In this album, she amply displays not only her great affinity with the composer, but also her innate sense of musicianship. Van Gogh's reproduction of 'A Vase with Violet arises against a Pink Background' on the front cover also caught my attention and sets the seal on an excellently played and recorded disc."
Gerald Fenech, Classical Net
"Her textures are clear and clean, with the pedal so sparingly used that it almost seems not to be there at all (perhaps it is not, but I think there are occasional touches here and there). Though happily using a modern piano her approach to phrasing suggests a certain awareness of what is today called 'period practice', with an avoidance of gratuitous legato lines where none are written. In the first movement of K.309 you might find Alicia de Larrocha, with a not dissimilar approach, more warmly inflected at times, while Joyce Hatto, at a slightly slower tempo, finds more of a smile, and of a dialogue between the different themes. But Zeynep’s plain-speaking has its own truth too.. In the "Adagio" [of the C minor Sonata] Zeynep is again expansive without any suggestion of romanticism, and this movement may be seen as a touchstone of her musicality, her ability to go straight to the point without frills. De Larrocha is slightly faster, offering a warmer, more romantic sound while Hatto provides another miracle of poise – without any sense of haste she plays the movement in 07:40, as compared with de Larrocha’s 08:11 and Zeynep’s 08:21. Certainly, she removes any feeling of heaviness from it and I must say I am happy to have all three available....In the less 'profound' music of the variations she provides a splendid display while never losing her essential seriousness...As always, [the CD] comes with her own booklet notes, very much to the point, and a splendid recording."
                                                                               Christopher Howell, MusicWeb, London
"Her Mozart is straightforward, technically adept, and shows a reasonable affinity for the composer.. Sonata 10 in C (K. 330) shows how effective things can sound when pedal is sparingly applied.. The Variations on a Minuet by Duport, Fantasia in D minor, and Fantasia in C minor all sparkle with delight and further demonstrates what this pianist is capable of at her best."
Alan Becker, American Record Guide
"She has previously recorded the music of Liszt and Schubert and this new CD features assured and vital performances of two Sonatas and two Fantasias by Mozart, plus Variations on a Minuet by Duport. Zeynep Ucbasaran also plays with great poise on another new CD of piano works by Scarlatti and Beethoven, together with three twentieth century composers: Ahmet Adnan Saygun, Leonard Bernstein and Robert Muczynski (EROICA JDT 3223). Both discs feature virtuoso performances that are never too flamboyant or hurried from a pianist of world class."
John Pitt, New Classics, UK
"A most intelligent and convincing Mozart recital, this collection of solo piano works, recorded 1-3 February 2005 at Abravanel Hall in Santa Barbara, has Turkish virtuoso Zeynep Ucbasaran on her Steinway in strong form, making plastic and clear lines of works composed 1787-1789. Ucbasaran’s strong suit is her clean articulation girded by a powerful sonority..."
Gary LemcoAudiophile Audition
"As a Mozart player, Ucbasaran touches the sublime. Ucbasaran's program starts with the effortless classical elegance of the C major Sonata, K. 330, and the Duport Variations, K. 573, but moves to the expressive emotional power of the Fantasy in D minor, K. 397, and especially the nearly tragic Fantasy, K. 475, and Sonata in C minor, K. 457. Ucbasaran's tone is deep and her technique is true, but it is her ability to phrase a line and shape a structure, her ability to make the lines sing and the shapes dance, her ability to go beyond playing the notes to transcending the score, her ability, in a word, to touch the sublime. Eroica Classic's sound is big, close, and immediate."
James Leonard, All Music Guide