CD reviews:

Jessica Papkoff - Impressions

"Classical guitar at its finest. Seven composers here from Spain, Italy, France, Uruguay and Brazil giving us a nice mixture of styles and musical coloration. The eleven selections played are like hand picked fruit, the reddest, juciest plums in the orchard. The opening piece is the gorgeous "Sevilliana Fantasia" by Joaquin Turina, then three preludes by Villa-Lobos, "Syrinx" by Debussy, then various pieces by Falla, Poulenc, Carlevaro and Castelnuovo-Tedesco, some so familiar you just melt with renewed pleasure. Jessica Papkoff is a very talented woman who plays her guitar with great emotion and ability. Her fingering is impeccable and her emotional shading interesting and carefully attended to. Each work is a masterpiece in musical skill, flavor and individuality. And as an added bonus, this remarkable musician lives in Seattle and has been heard locally at a wide variety of places such as Bumbershoot, the Tacoma Art Museum and the Experience Music Project. Check out this emotionally moving album and then, look for the artist live here in the Pacific Northwest."
– Jeanette Housner, Victory Music Review (review of Impressions CD, November 2002)

"It's astounding to think that just a few generations ago, there were a handful of classical guitarists who could walk through a program as varied as Villa-Lobos, Poulenc, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Now, the pool of talent on classical guitar is vast and deep. Jessica Papkoff is one such guitarist, and this - her first solo recording - won Acoustic Guitar Magazine's 2003 Homegrown CD Award. The winner is no flash in the pan - she has considerable academic and professional experience behind her. Papkoff says that the disc is a tribute to the great French composer Claude Debussy. The recording quality is excellent, but it's Papkoff's fine playing which deserves the credit. Papkoff's playing throughout is thoughtful, and she reveals considerable skill, whether chording, running through arpeggios, or finding the right space within the moment. She treats a trio of preludes by Villa-Lobos with the sensitivity and passion they deserve. Her Dake Traphagen guitar brings fullness to the variety of textures Papkoff paints through the program. "Homenaje" by Manuel de Falla rushes in and out with Spanish force. Poulenc's "Sarabande for Guitar" is just lovely. The most interesting piece of the CD is Debussy's "Syrinx". Papkoff renders its quirky undulation beautifully, finding the right pace to its undulating atonality. Papkoff shimmers throughout three movements of Abel Carlevaro's "Preludios Americanos", romping through the "Campo", while rendering the "Scherzino" with both technique and interpretive charm. My only complaint about the disk is that it's a mere 32 minutes long. Hopefully Jessica Papkoff will release another one soon."
© Kirk Albrecht, Minor (review of Impressions CD, December 2003)

" Listen to Jessica Papkoff's CD, Impressions, for a magical performance..."
– Peter Rhines, Seattle Classic Guitar Society, Editor's Keyboard, August 2003

"...carefully arranged and exquisitely played...she plays with soul and fluidity..."
– Simone Solondz, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, September 2003

Concert reviews:

New: Review of the Seattle Classic Guitar Society's recent ensemble concert at the Seattle Art Museum. GUITARRAS EN ENSEMBLE: 3 MAY 2003, by Peter Rhines

“SCGS Members Shine at Northwest Guitar Festival. The 1999 Northwest Guitar festival pared fourteen semi-finalists to a final four who were presented in the penultimate performance on the final day. The results had SCGS (Seattle Classical Guitar Society) members taking the top two prizes: Jason Leubner - 1st, Jessica Papkoff 2nd. A seasoned performer, Jessica Papkoff played her set with a technical precision and emotional intensity that set her apart from the rest of the finalists.”
– Bill Clements, Seattle Classic Guitar Society Newsletter

“Café Concerts a Hit! The Café Concerts at Bitters Co. in Fremont have become one of the best opportunities around for hearing quality classical guitar. A recent evenings presentation featured three fine artists in a fun and relaxed setting. Jessica Papkoff, 2nd place winner in the recent Northwest Guitar Festival Competition, began the evening with six varied works by such composers as Heitor Villa-Lobos, Abel Carlevaro, Claude Debussy and Manuel de Falla. Ms. Papkoff’s style of playing is extremely intuitive. A seasoned performer of many years, she has recently returned to the instrument after an 8 year hiatus. Technique seems to come second nature to Jessica, allowing a free spirited and relaxed interpretation. Of special interest was her performance of Debussy’s “Syrinx”, originally written for unaccompanied flute. Due to the idiosyncratic writing for the flute, it is hard to believe that this work would translate well to the guitar. However, Papkoff found ways to phrase that minimized the differences between the flute and guitar allowing the music to flow.”
– Brian Dunbar, Seattle Classic Guitar Society Newsletter

“LOCAL SYMPHONY GETS GOLD STAR. Jessica Papkoff, a senior at El Cerrito High and winner of the Contra Costa Young Musician's Awards, was soloist in Joaquin Rodrigo's Fantasia para un Gentilhombre written for Andres Segovia. She played the piece with genteel restraint, the quick scale passages clean and accurate, her tone quite well developed; and the classical formality of the piece, modeled on 17th century Spanish and Italian dances suited her cool, competant manner well. Only at the end of the work does the right hand get a chance to strum out a few of those flamenco-flavored rasquedo harsh chords, and the sound she developed in them made one wish for more such opportunity.”
– Charles Shere, Oakland Tribune, Oakland, CA

“Jessica Papkoff astounded the assembled company with her playing of the Sor Variations on the Mozart Theme.”
– The Bay Area Classical Guitar Society Newsletter

“Jessica Papkoff is one of our classical guitar gems and mixed Spanish and romantic classical lines that wowed the crowd.” – Chris Lunn, Victory Music Review

“Also turning in a fine performance was Jessica Papkoff - her snappy version of El Colibri caused many a jaw to drop.”
– The Bay Area Classical Guitar Society Newsletter

“Jessica Papkoff is a guitarist of great accomplishment and even greater potential. Jessica possesses an effortless technique and a winning, natural musical personality.” – Eliot Fisk, guitarist

Fretgirl website design by J. Papkoff © 2003