Written one hundred years apart, Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E-flat major, K.493 (1786) and Fauré’s Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 45 (1885) are marvels of formal logic. Yet both composers captured a timeless sense of tension and release. Written after the premiere of The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart’s quartet shares a similar wit and exuberance. Yet the Boston Artists Ensemble brought out a surprising mystery in the score. Diane Walsh’s pearly piano tone complemented the dusky strings in the Allegro. In the Larghetto, the ensemble’s dark harmonies brought palpable gravity to each moving line. The finale, rendered with elfin humor, made for a joyous resolution. Fauré preferred the intimacy of the salon to the concert hall. Yet his Piano Quartet in G minor explores storm, stress, and the repose that follows in near-theatrical style. From the onset, the musicians matched each other’s melodic sweep. They approached the ensuing Scherzo with similar live-wire energy. Lush string blend and delicate piano chords made the Adagio into a soulful departure. The finale found the ensemble channeling playfulness, grandiosity, and ultimate serenity—about as operatic as one can get in chamber music.” - Aaron Keebaugh, 9/17/2022

Boston Classical Review

[Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor] is a lively, sometimes playful work, with a sparkling piano part that offers a glimpse of the technique for which Clara was renowned. Walsh gave it a thoughtful performance, with enough energy to bring its considerable melodic riches and surprising harmonic turns fully to life. And Walsh and cellist William Rounds gave a beautiful account of the duet movement.” - Allan Kozinn

Portland Press Herald

The soloist was Portland resident Diane Walsh who played with surefire control of dynamics and technical command. The best part of the performance occurred during the 2nd movement when the orchestra stopped playing and a beautiful duet ensued with a solo cello ravishingly played by [William Rounds] and Ms. Walsh doing the honors. . . . The concerto itself calls for a virtuoso pianist (which Ms. Walsh is) and contains some lovely musical ideas. . . .” - Morton Gold

Portland Journal Tribune

The concert's centerpiece was Mozart's D minor Piano Concerto, K. 466, with guest soloist Diane Walsh . . . . [Maestro Kevin] Rhodes and his colleagues set the scene with Mozart's seething syncopations, and Walsh surfed the sea of sound with a controlled legato of ideas, delivering themes with deliberate elegance. She employed Beethoven's thorny, trill-laden cadenza for the first movement to superb effect. Rhodes launched the B-flat Romance at a patient, pillowy tempo over which Walsh draped the forthright theme with simple warmth. With barely a breath, she dashed forward into the rondo finale, and earned a standing ovation from the thrilled audience.” - Clifton Noble Jr.

The Republican (Springfield, MA)

Walsh gave thoughtful accounts of three works from the heart of the classical repertory, all substantial, yet short enough to fit into the series format. She began with Beethoven’s Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp major (Op. 78), a two-movement work that covers considerable ground in its 10-minute span, its opening Adagio cantabile movement blossoming from a chorale-like chord progression into a brawny, sometimes brash expansion, and its playful Allegro vivace finale challenging the pianist to balance humor and showmanship. Walsh used the church’s relatively intimate proportions and comfortable acoustics to fine effect, giving a relaxed but precise performance in which textures were admirably transparent and dynamics were carefully nuanced. In the closing work, Chopin’s Ballade No. 3 in A-flat major (Op. 47) Walsh gradually loosened the reins as the work unfolded, and by its final pages, its underlying passions were entirely clear. She was at her best, though, in Debussy’s “Images, Book I,” a set of three pieces in which suppleness and nuance are crucial. The irony in these, and in Debussy generally, is that the softer the focus, the more vivid the music’s implicit imagery. In “Reflets dans l’eau,” which opened the set, Walsh produced Debussy’s harmonically nebulous washes of sound and gentle, pastel tone colors with a deftness and flexibility that yielded a clear vision of the water (if not the specific reflections) that the composer hoped to capture. The remaining two movements are more abstract. “Hommage à Rameau,” for example, scarcely evokes the French Baroque composer to whom Debussy is paying tribute, although it borrows the contours of a Baroque dance form, the sarabande. Yet its calm, delicate surfaces suggest a more philosophical reflection on the history of the distinctive Gallic style, which Debussy – like Rameau before him – had revolutionized. And “Mouvement” is an Impressionistic perpetual motion piece, in which Walsh met the challenge of suggesting energy and drive, without sacrificing the soft edges of Debussy’s style. As an encore, Walsh gave a spirited, bright-edged performance of a Schubert “Moments Musicaux" (Op. 94, No. 3).” - Allan Kozinn

Portland Press Herald

The performance was really excellent. Walsh's ardent yet not overpowering keyboard success belied the notorious difficulty of Brahms' piano writing.” - Vance R. Koven

The Boston Musical Intelligencer

 Pianist Diane Walsh’s sensitive performance of the Chopin Concerto No. 2 in F Minor (Op. 21) was a throwback to a salon concert of the 1800’s. Somehow tuner Matt Guggenheim made the Steinway sound like a Pleyel, or maybe it was just Walsh’s touch in the high treble. I could listen to her string-of-pearls portamento scales and passage-work forever. The pianist’s independence reminded me of harpsichordist Wanda Landowska—‘You play Bach your way and I’ll play it his way.” She demanded space for her interpretation and got it. For the most part, the orchestra in a Chopin concerto is an accompaniment, but it sometimes asserts itself in surprising ways. A horn call in the third movement jolted people out of their seats, like a racehorse hearing the post, and the climax got a bit muddy, but who cares? It was a magical transportation back in time, complete with an encore of Liszt’s “La Campanella,” which I never thought to hear again in my lifetime. Both concerto and encore got a well-deserved standing ovation.” - Christopher Hyde

— Maine Classical Beat

Guest David Neely conducts the Portland Symphony with clarity" [headline] Diane Walsh presented Chopin [Concerto No. 2] as more of a Classicist than a Romantic, partly by pedaling lightly, and partly by playing the solo line with a clarity that focussed on its rationality rather than on its perfume. Walsh's reading also had a buoyant, singing quality. For listeners who craved more Romantic virtuosity, Walsh gave a dazzling performance of the Liszt-Paganini La Campanella as an encore.” - Allan Kozinn

Portland Press Herald

The pianist Diane Walsh opened the 20th season of the Noonday Concert series on Oct. 8 with a 40-minute program that included Bach’s Partita No. 4 in D (BWV 828) and William Bolcom's “Graceful Ghost Rag.” Walsh was for many years a mainstay of the concert world in New York, with frequent appearances as a soloist and chamber player, and a stint on Broadway, where she was both the music director and on-stage pianist in Moisés Kaufman’s "33 Variations," a meditation on Beethoven’s “Diabelli Variations” that starred Jane Fonda. Walsh moved to Portland last year and now teaches at Colby College. Pianists who play Bach’s harpsichord music on the modern piano have a range of interpretive options. Some find ways of alluding to the harpsichord’s needle-sharp articulation without jettisoning the piano’s flexibility. Others play the music as if it were actually written for the piano, with all the dynamic freedom the piano allows. Walsh’s rendering of the Partita – a work included on her most recent recording, an all-Bach set – draws on both those possibilities, but aims at a different target. Her deference to the harpsichord was evident in her crisp, stylish ornamentation, and with phrasing that had the elegance that harpsichordists command almost as a birthright. You could not accuse her of going overboard with pianistic dynamics alien to the older instrument. Yet the impression she created in her stately, warm-toned performance of the Ouverture, and which she sustained throughout the Partita, was that she regards neither the harpsichord nor the piano as fully adequate for this music. Instead, her sound, gestures and coloration suggested that she thinks of the Partita in orchestral terms, and the most winning aspect of her performance was that she was able to create the illusion of orchestral heft while sacrificing nothing of the transparency that Bach’s counterpoint demands. She also did a fine job of characterizing the individual dance movements, particularly the Allemande, which floated with a gentle sweetness, and the closing Gigue, which was a torrent of energy. The Bolcom required a significant shifting of gears but proved a wonderful concert closer. As both a composer and a pianist, Bolcom is a master of many styles, and his glosses on antique popular styles have always been especially entertaining, mainly because he has the moves down so well. His “Graceful Ghost Rag,” like many works authentically of the ragtime era, has one foot in the salon and the other in a saloon: Syncopations and bluesy turns are offset by a sophisticated but understated humor, and an equally low-key virtuosity. Walsh gave those qualities their due. After the high-flying Bach, it was the perfect way to bring listeners down to earth before sending them back to their daily rounds.” - Allan Kozinn

Portland Press Herald

The pianist Diane Walsh plays extended excerpts from the Diabelli Variations, elegantly, in full view of the audience. In a way Ms. Walsh is a character in the play....Meanwhile, at preview performances of "33 Variations", Ms. Walsh's splendid recording for JDR (Jonathan Digital Recordings), available in the lobby, has been selling "like hotcakes," Mr. Kaufman said.” - Anthony Tommasini

New York Times

Diane Walsh, an underrated pianist (even after her Broadway stint in “33 Variations”), plays an underrated Schubert work, the smaller of the A minor sonatas, a personal favorite. The first movement’s second theme is one of Schubert’s most melting inspirations even before he sweetens it with triplets in the recapitulation. Ms. Walsh plays it beautifully and gives a fine account of the posthumous B flat Sonata, which is rated right about where it should be: at the top.” - James R. Oestreich

New York Times