Press & Reviews
In both the rigorous opening movement and the more reflective Andante, I admired cellist Eric Byers’ adroit phrasing and sensitivity to ensemble balance as he essayed his numerous solos with bravura authority. The baritonal eloquence of his sound resonated warmly in the welcoming acoustic of Prebys Hall.
Kenneth Herman, sandiego.com, 4.16.2010
'cellist, Eric Byers, gave an ideally eloquent reading of the intense, Bartókian Sonata for Solo Cello, showing that the fierce beauty is a quality of many shades.'
Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 1.14.2013
Cellist Eric Byers and pianist Gloria Cheng were brilliant in Lieux retrouvés, written in four movements connoting different vistas. Byers began “Les Eaux” with a deceptively sublime sweetness that gradually churned itself into a frenetic crashing wave of energy. Cheng livened up the meandering melodic streams of “La Montagne” with her zestful exuberance. “Les Champs” had a simple, delicate quality, and Byers was masterful on the quiet ultra-high-pitched lyric melody, keeping it sustained, slow and pianissimo. The feeling was fragile, the sound rarefied. The technical difficulty was belied by Byers’ exquisite control as he approached the limits of his instrument, an instrument that sang beautifully. The final movement was the lively “Le Ville,” jumping off the stage with its twisted “Can-Can” under an eclectic patchwork of tunes and effects. Byers was animated, perhaps even manic. His performance was magnificent, and in response the audience leapt to their feet for repeated calls. Adès was proud. Lieux retrouvés was an extraordinary start to the program, and arguably the most emotionally charged element of the evening.
Theodore Bell, Culture Spot LA, 1.31.2015
Shades of LA's celebrated avant-garde past lit up the new-music present at Santa Monica's 1st Presbyterian Church -- yes, at this location, a pristinely modern church.
Instead of Igor Stravinsky presiding, as he once did at historic Monday Evening Concerts, we had Thomas Adès (arguably his 21st century successor) at the host church's Jacaranda -- which is the reincarnation of our city's sanctum sanctorum of current music.
And I can't tell you what a feast it was.
If ever we needed to puncture the myth that contemporary music is laborious to listen to or so much doodling and noodling, this would do it.
Adés, the British composer who now lives part-time in LA (how nice for us), came to the stage for the standing ovation given his "Lieux retrouvés," a virtuoso work of graphic sensation and infinite nuance played by the stellar pianist Gloria Cheng and masterful cellist Eric Byers, a Calder Quartet member.
The audience went wild. What else? This was riveting music that crept into every crevice of human perception -- be it lulling waters or rugged mountains or a wildly macabre club scene. Cheng and Byers were dazzling. The event, with the composer present, felt like a history-maker (as did, a few months ago, the Calders' playing of Schoenberg's Second String Quartet with stunning soprano Yulia Van Doren, though absent the composer, of course.)
1.31.2015 Donna Perlmutter LAObserved