Press & Interviews


International Piano, October 2021

“The pandemic has been a transformative experience for British pianist Charles Owen. He takes us on the musical journey that led to his new Liszt album and looks forward to leading the latest instalment of the London Piano Festival.” – read in full

International Piano, July / August 2020

“Charles Owen considers some positive outcomes from the global lockdown, which has provided professional musicians with a rare opportunity to introspect and learn new skills.” – read in full

Gramophone, September 2021

“In our podcast, the British pianist talks about Liszt and how the composer became a companion during lockdown.” – read in full

Prestomusic, September 2021

“Charles took a break from practising Messiaen to talk to me about the 'three pianos in his life', why he feels that Liszt's music is still unfairly maligned in some quarters, his role as a Steinway ambassador, and plans for the world premiere of a Shakespeare-inspired work by Sally Beamish in association with the London Piano Festival.” – read in full

International Piano, November / December 2016

“Introducing his new recording for Avie, pianist Charles Owen helps Jeremy Nicholas to unravel some of the musical intrigues and intricacies of Bach’s Six Partitas [PDF reproduced courtesy of International Piano]” – read in full

Russian Arts & Culture, January 2020

“I am, I guess a sort of ‘pianistic fusion cuisine’.” – read in full

International Piano, September / October 2014

“A class above the rest... His performances are underpinned by an unwavering musicality that is enhanced by close attention to the score; listeners are immediately aware that great works have been analysed by the mind as well as the fingers.” – read in full

The Cross-Eyed Pianist, August 2016

“Meet the artist...” – read in full


Concert Reviews

International Piano, March 2021

“From the Oxford Lieder Festival, Charles Owen gave us a perfect late-night entertainment. He delivered Schubert’s first Impromptu with a lovely singing tone, creating an oasis of sweetness. Segueing gracefully into Janáček’s In the Mists, he showed what charms lay in its textures. Liszt’s Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude seemed to follow quite naturally, with Schubert’s G-flat major Impromptu completing the programme’s serene circle.”

The Arts Desk, August 2020

“Owen’s sense of exactly the right breadth, conspicuous throughout the recital, and his absolute clarity even in the welters marked both works out as sharp-focus Alpine peaks of the 19th century piano repertoire. ” – read in full

The Sunday Times, October 2018

“Owen presented a finely considered account of Ravel's Gaspard de la suit” – read in full

The Arts Desk, October 2018

“Owen has a wonderful way with Ravel’s translucent sonorities, making the most of "Ondine"’s wild mystery.. as he created haloes of pedal around the eloquent melodic lines. "Le Gibet" had a suitable inexorability, and the demoniac "Scarbo”… a lightness of touch that more resembled a Mendelssohnian scherzo.” – read in full

Bachtrack, March 2018

“The excellent Charles Owen started the work with a brisk and energetic pace, offering well-judged balance between his own playing and that of the orchestra.” – read in full

The Northern Echo, March 2018

“Owen allowed every note to breathe in a poignant slow movement, while bubbling notes poured out in a sparkling torrent in the climax.” – read in full

Evening Standard, February 2018

“Owen glittered and gleamed”

The Arts Desk, October 2017

“Owen traversed the extremes of romanticism, from rugged opacity in Brahms’s Rhapsodies Op. 79 through Schumann’s "Widmung" (Dedication) in Liszt’s transcription, the watery joys of Liszt’s own "Au bord d’une source" and the same composer’s arrangement of the Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde – in which Owen’s degree of mystical rapture could have sent us home happy after just half an hour.” – read in full

The Spectator, October 2017

“Owen gave us Brahms’ Two Rhapsodies Op79 with a bouncy spontaneity that revealed how much the music owes to Schumann; then a sequence of Liszt pieces ending in an exquisitely voiced Liszt-Wagner Liebestod.”

International Piano, December 2016

“Charles Owen’s memorable solo recital of Bach’s Partitas Nos 1,2 and 4. His pellucid sound interlaced perfectly with his spot-on judgement of the acoustic (Hall One, Kings Place).”

The Spectator, October 2016

“His touch was translucent, the balance of dance and counterpoint well-nigh perfect.”

The Best American Poetry, November 2014

“Debussy's Twelve Preludes Book One...Owen took just the right approach in each piece, playing with grace and pointed enthusiasm.” – read in full

International Piano, February 2014

“Charles Owen is a pianist who makes spontaneous decisions and is prepared to take a risk in performance and thus breathe new life into a familiar work.”

The Independent, January 2014

“Rachmaninoff's Suite no 2 was dazzlingly played particularly in the tempestuous Tarantella.” – read in full

New York Times, December 2013

“The rippling clarity of Mr Owen's playing brought consistent delight.” – read in full

The Independent, May 2013

“Pellucid articulation, a bright and shining Bach pianism goes, this was as exciting as it gets” – read in full

The Guardian, February 2013

“In Brahms' exhilarating Piano Quintet...with Charles Owen keeping the ruggedly powerful piano part under exemplary control, the musicians really went for it in a performance of stirring excitement.” – read in full

The Independent, April 2010

“In Bach's Fourth Partita we sensed Owen exulting in his physical virtuosity; this was a stunning performance.” – read in full

Seen and Heard International, April 2008

“Owen is an intelligent and insightful player with a technique to allow him to essay even the most difficult of music and present it clearly to us; there are insufficient superlatives to praise him.” – read in full

The Glasgow Herald

“Charles Owen is out of the best school of British pianism - bright, sensitive, unaffected and with playing informed by brainwork.”

The Irish Times, 2004

“A spectacular performance of unswerving commitment.”

Cultura, Moscow, 2003

“In a programme of French composers, Owen revealed himself as an acutely sensitive musician and possessor of a uniquely cultured sound world.”

The Times, 2002

“Charles Owen, a mightily supportive and perceptive pianist.”

Liszt - Années de Pèlerinage CD – more info

Gramophone Editors Choice, November 2021

“For his latest release, British pianist Charles Owen has chosen the nine pieces comprising Liszt’s 1855 Swiss Années, delivering a performance imaginatively rich, drenched with colour and thoroughly original in concept.…Accomplished with thorough and refined pianistic skill and a wholehearted identification with Liszt’s message, Owen’s music-making is powerfully compelling.” – read in full

BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

“‘Outstanding is ‘Vallée d’Obermann’, a warhorse usually flogged brutally through conservatoires everywhere. Owen’s thoroughly sympathetic treatment redeems Liszt from his own excesses and demonstrates effortless control. In ‘Au bord d’une source’ Owen delicately conveys the bubbling, ever-changing stream. The closing ‘Cloches de Genève’ is timelessly beautiful.’ ”

Brahms - Late Piano Music. CD – more info

BBC Music Magazine, Instrumental Choice ★★★★★, February 2019

“This is altogether very impressive playing, capturing all the intimacy of the pieces which Brahms labelled as Intermezzi, as well as the drama and urgency of the more outward-going Capriccios….what stays in the memory after listening to Owen is the imagination and warmth of his playing, perfectly captured by the recording engineers”

International Piano, CD of the Month , April 2019

“Charles Owen offers deep insight into Brahms’ late piano music. Supported by Avis’s splendid recording, Brahms piano music glows. The lucidity of Owen’s textures are miraculous, his tempos perfectly judged; but his highest achievement is to make the listener forget there is a middle-man. It is almost as if Brahms speaks directly to us. Competition is huge, but Owen has much to say”

J.S. Bach - The Six Keyboard Partitas CD – more info

BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

“Owen approaches the dance rhythms with rigour; every tempo feels carefully judged, and this is matched with ideal structural awareness, the paragraphs and their twists and turns gently delineated as if in conversation. Nothing is exaggerated: Owen applies the characterisations with subtlety, as if pointing them out rather than projecting them towards any nominal balcony and controlling them chiefly through minute adjustments of tone.”


“Technical polish, intelligent musicianship, well-reasoned tempi, and scrupulously executed ornaments characterise Charles Owen’s Bach Partitas, along with a rounded and focused sonority largely informed by finger power and hand balance, with a little help from the sustain pedal”

Faure's Barcarolles CD – more info

International Record Review, September 2011

“Owens gives beautifully measured accounts of these charming works, enjoying the lavishness of the writing but carefully teasing out the all-important melodies with a silver spoon. He makes enterprising use of the pedals, and the colour evinced in Nos. 1, 3 and 6 are particularly charismatic.”

BBC Music Magazine, September 2011

“Fauré's piano music is at last emerging in its full measure of energy and brilliance. Charles Owen buys enthusiastically into this truer picture of the music...On the technical front Owen is absolutely secure, with fine observation of the music's often multiple layering - ****”

Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

“Owen is the least insistent or interventionalist of pianists. He never invests the music with undue weight or significance. His performances glide gracefully, often in near strict tempo on their own momentum, quite without distortion or idiosyncrasy.”

The Independent on Sunday, July 2011

“These are the urbane descendants of Chopin's pianistic brilliants, gentlemanly and understated. Charles Owen's beautifully judged and articulated performance deftly reveals the intricacy of Fauré's craft without loss of line, from the seemingly carefree balletic shimmer of the 1885 G flat major to the darker harmonies of the 1915 E flat major.”

Fauré's Nocturnes CD – more info

International Piano, September 2008

“Owen's ability to keep the pressure on, while at the same time commanding sufficient variety and sublety of touch to allow the nostalgic snatches of melody to escape unchained, deserves immense respect.”

Fanfare USA, August 2008

“Exemplary. Classic. Spellbinding. And enthusiastically recommended.”

Classic FM, August 2008

“The nocturnes in particular require the most exquisitely subtle inflections [...], something that Charles Owen achieves to mesmerising affect. He plays [...] as though held spellbound by their elusive intimacy”

Janáček CD – more info

Gramophone, July 2003

“It says much for Charles Owen and his understanding of this composer that (he) should present this music with such a distinctive voice.”

BBC Music Magazine, April 2003

“his refusal to sentimentalise is enormously refreshing and his touch… little short of magical. ”

Poulenc CD – more info

Recording of the Month, MusicWeb International, 2005

“A magical album. Charles Owen empathises closely with Poulenc's elusive idiom catching its delicacy and insouciance brilliantly. An album to cherish and one that will undoubtedly figure highly in my recital discs of 2005. Ian Lace”

Bryce Morrison, Critics Choice, Gramophone, December 2004

“Charles Owen's Poulenc piano recital a world apart from Rachmaninov in its teasing elegance and Gallic sophistication, but one presented with rare affection and joie de vivre.”

International Record Review, June 2004

“An excellent recital of piano works…Owen veers easily between the light hearted and serious offering an abundance of colour on the way.”

Editors Choice. Gramophone, June 2004

“Hugely enjoyable : a genuine feel for the music from a pianist equal to its demands…Owen's playing is marvellously alive. Add to that a lovely ear for balance and fingers that are more than capable of these twisting exercises and you have enjoyment at a high level.”

International Record Review, June 2004

“Owen veers easily between the light-hearted and serious, offering an abundance of colour on the way.”

The Birmingham Post, March 2004

“He fully captures the picaresque charm and wry humour of Poulenc's style with great technical precision , tonal clarity and in the romantic moments - a ravishingly warm cantabile touch”