The New Yorker
"...a confident, individual, arresting voice..."
"each Work has a quality and a no-holds-barred approach..."
"...bright textures, sudden transformations, simple, bold harmonic strokes"
The Washington Post
"...extraordinary vision and musical sophistication..."
"...insolent, virile music of brilliant wit and color."
The Los Angeles Times
" that rare composer able to sound connected with modern music, and yet still seem exotic
The San Francisco Chronicle
"...spectacular juxtaposition of sonic effects...there was real suspence in the roller coaster ride."
The Baltimore Sun
"A strong south wind from the Mediterranean blows through Ince's music, but there is a spaciousness about his music...He's a composer who's not afraid to take risks and his full-throated lyricism rarely fails to soar."
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Each Sound is brand new-you've never heard these instruments combined and played in quite this way."
"…pulsingly, evocative work…eloquent lyricism and energy…"
The San Jose Mercury News
"...exquisite effects...considerable beauty..."
Oakland Tribune
" The colors are hot, the gestures bold and brash."
John Sunier, Audio Magazine
"This is the most exciting new concert music I've heard on CD (Argo/Decca 'Fall of Constantinople CD) this year…Ince mixes such diverse elements as medieval compositional techniques, Middle Eastern folk music, Bach chorales, wild percussion, tone clusters, and the styles of late Romanticism as well as modern Russia. He also drops nontraditional instruments, such as electric guitar, electric bass, and synthesizer, into the normal symphony orchestra. Yet this very pictoral and striking music could not be called avant-garde; it communicates instantly and clearly in a language quite its own. Ince not only attempts to depict the sound of pounding waves in one section of his lovely piano concerto 'Remembering Lycia', but also wittily portrays 'speeches' by the emperor of Constantinople and the Turkish conqueror in his five-movement symphony about the 15th-century 'Fall of Constantinople.' After I first heard the opening work, 'Arches', I was amazed to read that only five acoustic instruments plus a synthesizer were used; it has the effect of a full orchestra. Don't miss these world premiere recordings."
Patrick C Waller, Music Web International
"…Ince's music displays a fusion of styles and has been described as "muscular, primaeval and neo-romantic. Whilst there is a strong Eastern component, the American element (and perhaps an influence of Ives) should not be underestimated. All presented here (in the Naxos orchestral Kamran Ince CD) is programmatic, and the forces involved in the symphonies are large, including the piano, additional percussion, synthesiser and electric bass guitar. This is a most interesting disc in an important series. Ince has absorbed many influences but is an original voice. Using the power of history he makes an impression that resonates in modern world. Contemporary music enthusiasts are unlikely to need me to prompt them to seek it out but perhaps I can challenge contemporary music spectics to give it a try. They will only be a few pounds poorer and might be surprised."
Justin Davidson, Newsday (Winner, 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism)
"Ince (in In White CD)…weaves grand, contemplative tapestries of sound punctuated by glints of Mediterranean melody, moments of sacramental splendor, Bach-like violin solos and spiky dissonant natterings. With a jeweler's touch, Ince takes each reference and allusion, polishes it brightly and sets it in a glittering string of episodes. 'Flight Box,' a work that alludes not to a cockpit recorder but to the architect Santiago Calatrava's seemingly airborne Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum, begins with a series of string proclamations, soon made plush by a vocalizing choir. A pulsating burst of brass and a flourish of high-flying trumpets add a touch of awesomeness to the reverent mood before breaking into a rapid-fire Turkish jam session, played with fierce precision. The piece gets its power from the superimposition of solemnity and frenzy - reflecting the sense of stasis one sinks into while hurtling through the air in a large plane…glittering episodes like multi-hued stones set in a gold chain…alternates sacramental and aggressive modes, with passages of whirling-dervish ecstasy."
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Cronicle
"The men's chorus Chanticleer commissioned…a piece to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of its founder, Louis Botto. Titled "And on Earth, Peace: A Chanticleer Mass," the work draws on the efforts of five composers, each one tackling a single liturgical movement, and involves Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Orthodox traditions. The piece has already been recorded for Warner Classics…To these ears, the most rewarding contribution by far came from the Turkish American composer Kamran Ince, who approached the Gloria with the intoxicating setting of a poem by the Sufi mystic Jelaluddin Rumi celebrating "the aroma of God." Ince's music combines a series of nuanced but fairly traditional tonal harmonies with solo interjections that follow exquisitely surprising melodic scales. The effect is a powerful evocation of the splendor inherent in everyday life."
Frank Oteri, New Music Box
"Kamran Ince … often beautiful and always exciting post-minimalist music…The first CD of his music, on the…Northeastern label (1995)… was one of the first discs I heard when I arrived at the American Music Center five and a half years ago. It made me realize that as much as I thought I knew about contemporary American music, I certainly did not know enough if his music had evaded my radar. In fact, the disc became something of a catalyst for the second list of radio repertoire suggestions, Another Century List. An orchestral CD (of his music) came next on the …Decca/London new music imprint Argo…and then a disc of chamber music on Albany. The most recent disc (In White), this time on the ACF's Innova label, continues the trajectory with five pieces for various forces. Flight Box, scored for forces similar to a jazz big band (saxes, horns) but with no drums and violin, cello, and seven singers added, was composed early in 2001 and has nothing to do with the events of September 11. Rather, Ince's passionate music, which is inspired by feelings triggered from constant global travel between teaching gigs in Memphis and Istanbul. I want to be on that flight! The MKG Variations for solo cello is a quiet introspective work inspired by J.S. Bach, the Goldberg Variations rather than the Cello Suites. It also exists in a later version for solo guitar…The disc's centerpiece, In White, an extremely lush concerto for violin and chamber ensemble, opens with a melody reminiscent of the middle movement of the Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez but gradually travels to more mysterious terrain that sounds like polytonal Michael Nyman crossed with George Crumb before exploding into a full-fledged, tender romanticism. The work is inspired by Christian and Muslim architecture in Asia Minor. In Memoriam 8/17/99 for solo piano is a deeply moving emotional response to the catastrophic earthquake in Marmara, Turkey. Finally, Turquoise is unpredictable and rock-savvy (pun intended perhaps). Scored for the 20th century's ubiquitous'Pierrot' ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, keyboard and percussion) with added trumpet, here played by Stalheim, it is music that sounds right at home in the sound world of the Bang On A Can All Stars, who should commission him!"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"In White" (1999), a chamber violin concerto, is one of Ince's best fantastical musical journeys. It starts with a monotonous figure that rises and falls in overlapping waves, which give way to snarling violin gestures. The gestures grow into a theme that takes amazing polytonal development turns before settling down for an inverted version of the opening figure. You think Ince is done, but a second development of the violin tune erupts and brings the music to even greater heights. A long, slow coda diffuses momentum and brings "In White" to a graceful landing.
Guitarra Magazine
"Ince's MKG Variations (guitar version),…are a revelation. Imagine you are walking down the street and someone is walking towards you. They look normal enough, but as they pass you, they leap at you, grab you by the collar and shake you. They let you go, circle around you and grab you again, shaking you. That is what this piece does… an explosion of sound that quickly disappears into the quite again, only to erupt intermittently throughout the piece.."
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
"Kamran Ince's "Hammer Music." The 15-minute composition was written in 1990, and is a masterful blend of challenging and rewarding elements that makes excellent use of acoustical instruments and synthesizer."
The Los Angeles Times
Kamran Ince's 1996 Turquoise, another work of extraordinary, pulsating beauty. It was my first encounter with Ince - born in Montana of Turkish and American parents - and not, I hope, my last. He knows how to make music move - a talent you don't find on every tree."
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Arches is...a piece that is saturated in a profound romanticism...the piece both relies on and defies minimalist conventions with its achingly lyrcal countermelody."
San Francisco Classical Voice
Kaç (1982), Turkish for "escape", is a collection of shimmering episodes for alto sax (played by the brilliant Dale Wolford), piano, and percussion. Composer Kamran Ince lets his sonorities linger, allowing piano strings the freedom to resonate and echo the sax's vibrations. It's a marvelous sound world, including the dull, foreboding thud of the bass drum, the glassy chime of the glockenspiel and various other percussive elements, juxtaposed in passages of contrasting sound with the piano and sax. The piece pounds and crashes, too, and the players brought committed gusto to their interpretation.
Ken Smith, Gramaphone
"What is fully palpable, however (in the In White CD), is how Ince's music maintains such a contemplative core...maintains its calm beneath a surface positively buzzing with rhythmic activity."
Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine
"… (in Symphony No. 3 'Siege of Vienna') Ince calls for substantial instrumental forces, augmenting the standard orchestra with piano, synthesizer, electric bass guitar, four Wagner tubas, and a large battery of percussion. With forces like these, and movement titles like 'City under Siege,' 'War of the Walls,' and 'Final Assault,' one might be led to expect quite a cacophonous din. But Ince does not abuse the powers at his disposal, thereby making the climaxes even more shattering when they do come. In a number of ways, I found the subject matter, Ince's response to it, and even the music itself to have certain parallels to Shostakovich's approach in his Eleventh Symphony. Listen, for example, to Ince's frozen, disembodied, dead-man-walking soundscape that opens the fourth movement, 'Forgotten Souls.' It is a sound not too far removed from the opening measures of the Shostakovich. Likewise, the sudden, violent outbursts of military engagement and battle. This is very effective, colorful, and evocative writing. It is easy to understand Ince's success both in the concert hall and in film. …I find another analogy between his Fourth Symphony and Respighi's Pines of Rome. Subtitled 'Sardis,' it was commissioned by Crawford H. Greenwalt, Jr., director of excavations at the Sardis site northeast of Ephesus. An important city in pre-Christian Anatolia, Sardis was plundered by the Persians in 546 B.C. and was subsequently conquered by Alexander the Great. It became the site of one of the Seven Churches of Asia referred to in the Book of Revelations, fell under Arab rule in 716, and finally passed into Turkish hands in the 11th century. In five movements, for an orchestra including piano, electric and bass guitars, and mandolin, the symphony is a topographical portrait of the river, hills, mountains, and rocks of Sardis, rather than a musical depiction of its history. Like Respighi's Pines, Ince's symphony is as cinematic in character as it is a poignant rendering sculpted in stone of an eternal landscape. Domes is an extended orchestral movement for flute/piccolo, clarinet, bass clarinet/Eb-clarinet, two bassoons, two horns, trumpet, bass trombone, harp, piano, and strings…The best way I can describe it is to say that it seems to be a succession of contrasting moods and tempos that unfold within a larger, overarching mood and tempo that imposes its own time-space continuum on the work as a whole…there is a recurring ticking, tinkling motif that makes me feel as if I'm trapped inside some kind of cosmic clockwork from which there is no escape. Kamran Ince belongs to a new breed of American composers who are writing music that is once again accessible and, at least on its surface, quite beautiful and emotionally engaging…it seems that the box office beckons. The Prague Symphony Orchestra, under Ince's direction, plays superbly, and the Naxos recording is excellent. Strongly recommended.