"Riu displays a sophisticated range of expression and rhythmic clarity that helps make a strong case for each piece"
Pianist 2005

"Elena Riu's R'n'B Collection, commissioned and edited by the vibrant South American pianist Elena Riu, whose wildly original concerts and workshops are widely acclaimed.The 17 pieces cover a very broad spectrum of musical moods, genres and styles and cannot fail to appeal to all intermediate students looking for some repertoire that is new, unusual, quirky and off-beat."
Piano Journal, 2011
“New Quays is London’s unique platform for contemporary keyboard music”
Time Out, 2006
"It's not often that I put on a CD of new music and find my feet going bananas to the rhythm under my table. But Elena Riuís Salsa Nueva is new music with a difference, whether you call it world music, contemporary music or, as Riu prefers to describe it, 'fusion.'"
Classical Music, 2005
"This is a compulsory buy for anyone seriously interested in Latin-American music today and the CD alone is terrific listening."
Music Teacher 05

"Riu's own quirky miniature, in which Latin meets Ligeti; a catchy, ostinato riff alternating between hands with all the tensile, rhythmic concentration of the latter's piano etudes."
Pianist, 2005
"Suffice it to say that these twenty-two pieces all of them are superbly crafted, often very entertaining and always tuneful and colourful. Needless to say that Elena Riu plays all these pieces with considerable aplomb and obvious enjoyment, also with the wholehearted support of Wilmer Sifontes, which makes this delightful release a joy from first to last. The best thing to do with a disc such as this is to sit down, relax and enjoy"
Music Web International, 2005
"...Exhilarating boundary-jumping....irresistibly rhythmic"
Martin Hoyle, Time Out 05
"Elena Riu has compiled a spicy, adventurous programme of salsa-inspired compositions. Much of Riu's album is elegant, such as the simple dignity of Venezuelan composer Antonio Estevez's pieces. Riu's playing throughout has delicacy and a good range of colour."
International Piano 05
"This uncompromising, stylish and challenging music will have real appeal."
Piano Magazine review of Salsa Nueva scores 05
"...Riu's efforts in collecting, editing, re-arranging and composing have paid off. Riu gives a bright and positive interpretatiojn of salsa rhythms, without the short cuts a less schooled player might take, keeping it crisp and even. Chick Corea's La Fist, is lovely. The closing light-footed duet for cajon and piano is a delight..."
The Guardian 04
“...Imaginative, passionate and tasteful, Riu is clearly a livewire on the London music scene...”
Musical Opinion, 2003
Antonio Soler (1729-1783), a Spanish disciple of Domenico Scarlatti, wrote 120 sonatas (Scarlatti 550) and is best known for his vibrant Fandango, which has fascinated later composers such as Hans Werner Henze and Roberto Sierra. While Soler’s sonatas owe a debt to Scarlatti, certainly in the use of trill and staccato, and in design mirror Scarlatti’s binary form (both halves repeated), Soler is not a copycat.
Elena Riu reveals Soler to be an elegant and thoughtful creator; her playing gives immense pleasure, both for the music and its realisation – and the modern piano is ideal for Soler’s focussed intent. Inhabiting both Baroque and Classical domains, Soler’s music brings Haydn to mind, in the way he decorates and develops his basic material. The faster sonatas have a stately character, sometimes something more rapid-fire, and the slower ones gently implore. All are engaging. Those that stand out include the enchanting spare lines of the D minor (No 54), the ecclesiastical privacy of the F sharp minor (No 77) and the remarkable contours of No 81 (in Doric mode) with its bold, almost Beethovenian opening and sudden interruption of a courtly dance.
Riu shares her delight in the art of touching the keyboard; there is much variety – passing notes tinkle delicately under the scale passages, the bass is attractively pugnacious, at times harpsichord-like in timbre, with much consideration given to colour, balance and making the music speak, which it does eloquently. The expressive scale is between intimate and demonstrative. Whether limpid or mobile, Soler’s captivating invention has in Elena Riu a wonderful advocate.
Pianist, No 12: June-July 2003
ANTONIO SOLER,12 keyboard sonatas
Elena Riu (pf), Ensayo ENY-CD-9818
“...This Soler sonatas are wonderfully satisfying single movement pieces that require absolutely clean execution, careful attention to embellishments and spare use of pedal. Venezuelan born pianist Elena Riu brings all the virtuosity, colour and refinement one could hope for in her interpretations...”
American record Guide, November-December 2003
“...This brilliant pianist, with her elegant and bright versions of Soler’s keyboard sonatas shows that the most important thing is to make good music...”
Diari Avui 2003
“...Thanks to a velvety touch, rhythmic subtlety and a veiled delicacy Riu gains access to a private universe of blurred lights. The evident charm and talent of this most personal vision of Soler draws away from stereotypes and awakes interest without unnecessary emphasis or ruptures, simply by touching the music’s most intimate particles...”
Scherzo, Madrid July 2003
Padre Soler, The Spanish Scarlatti and His Legacy, was an affectionate title for Venezuelan-born pianist Elena Riu’s uncompromising musical survey at the Wigmore Hall on 21 December.
Mompou’s beautiful resonant Song and Dance II, deliciously played by Riu with clean, rounded phrasing, dreamily ushered, opened the programme, followed quickly by a set of six short Sonatas that explored stylistic developments throughout the 18th Century. Riu’s impressive fluency was aided by judicious use of her pedal which took off the cold edge of her clarity of line, shaping each piece into something quite alien to the harpsichord, for which they were intended, whilst giving a fresh outlook to the whole, though their inherent Spanish flavour was never displaced.
The second half took the exploration further over the centuries starting with Granados’, The Maiden and the Nightingale, from the Suite Goyescas, which was loaded with Iberian notions of Romanticism, Riu delicately embracing the sentiment despite bold contrasts, the trills evoking the Nightingale in colourful fashion. Albéniz’s Rumours de la Caleta and Malaguenya perfectly set the Iberian pitch, the former subtle in outlook, the latter boldly stated. Falla’s Andaluza, from Four Spanish Dances, prised a wealth of emotion from Riu’s forthright display, while Gabriel Erkoreka’s Jaia: Homage to Isaac Albéniz received its UK Premiere where I found a coating of modernism obfuscating, with a cloudy, nebulous quality, a detectable Romantic centre, that still made the work attractive to the ear.
It was left to Ernesto Halfter’s wonderful Danza de la Pastora from his ballet Sonatina to confirm how much of a consummate artist Elena Riu is on the world stage.
Musical Opinion, March – April 2003
Elena Riu at the Wigmore
“...Riu plasms the virtuosic, complex and vigorous writing of Soler with an extraordinary sensitivity, delicacy and naturalness...”
David Alker, El Pais 30/10/2003
As the daughter of a communist philosopher, Venezuelan pianist Elena Riu is used to ploughing a lonely furrow and her championing of Antonio Soler is entirely in character. Soler’s best works were keyboard sonatas, composed during his employment at the 18th-century Spanish royal court. They show astonishing technical modernity and reflect a ceaselessly experimental approach. Riu plays them on the piano but they lose nothing by this: their dynamic shifts, striking chromaticisms and waves of scales sound magical in a quite different way from their effect on the harpsichord.
Sunday Express, June 1, 2003, Michael Church
Elena Riu, Piano, (Ensayo ENY-CD-9818)
“...absolute owner of the score and its dynamics, Elena makes hers each one of the sonatas imprinting them with her most personal and untransferable seal. Powerful in the most energetic passages, sensitive and emotive in the lyrical ones, with an excellently outlined and compact sound, Riu engages the listener from the start, because besides just reading what is written she reveals what is beyond the graphic signs in the score. An example to follow...”
CD Compact 2003
“...Riu reveals herself to be a daring pianist. The sonorities are full, rich and extroverted. This is a CD that stands out and to be recommended because of the new light that it throws on one of the greatest of Spanish composers...”
Michael Church, Amadeus, 2003
"… My disc of 2000 is without hesitation Elena Riu’s extraordinary CD of 20th century piano music featuring, among others, works by Part, Sculthorpe, Mompou and the premiere of Tavener’s Ypakoë…"
The Gramophone, January 2001
La musica Española en Londres ... more
Revista Amadeus, Barcelona 2001
"Elena Riu risks everything at the piano." ... more
El Nacional, Caracas, December 2001
"... There was a fascinating blend of styles at the Queen Elizabeth Hall when concert pianist Elena riu devised and presented From Mecca to Cordoba.Elena Riu is a persuasive interpreter of the piano music of Mompou and Albeniz and the early music world would benefit from mixed concerts like this and the sizeable audience ( even on the day of a transport strike) bore witness to public interest in such programmes..."
Early Music Review, 2001
"… Riu’s performances throughout are of the highest order, particularly so in the Tavener. This is a fascinating and highly rewarding disc: my recommendation- an absolute must." ... more
The Gramophone, July, 2000
"… A fascinating compilation… Part reigns supreme, every note in his Variationen placed with he loving precision of rocks in a Japanese garden. Riu’s playing is entrancing and the sound recording serves her admirably. A lovely idea exquisitely carried out…." ... more
Classic CD, June 2000
"… The delicate precision of her playing leaves a wonderful sense of anticipation before every next move…"
The Observer, April 2000
"… Poetry in Sound…Riu, a Venezuelan pianist of Catalonian descent approaches these works with a subtle touch that succeeds in extracting all their poetic qualities, and particular sound world. I recommend it from every point of view…" ... more
Amadeus, Barcelona, September 2000
"… This CD is extremely well played by Elena Riu, a remarkably enterprising and imaginative young pianist…the Mompou receives a superb performance, relishing every delicate change of colour and texture…"
International Piano Quarterly, Summer 2000
"… Elena Riu: a name to remember. A recital of exceptional quality because of the sensitivity, refinement and marvellous musicality of an interpreter of very rare breed: those that know how to listen and weld the poetry of the notes played and, as Debussy used to say, of everything that exists in between the notes…"
Montpellier/Radio, France International Festival, July1999
"… Elena Riu is the Hispano-American pianist , resident in Britain, who ha done so much to revive interest in the late Catalan composer Federico Mompou. This 74 minute palette of subtle colouring, meditative probing and sometimes austere sparseness make an absorbing and individual recital. Riu plays with haunting sensitivity and strength: a gentle rumination on eternity…" ... more
Time Out, London 2000
"…The accomplished and sensitive playing of Elena Riu is refracted with all the degrees of light an shade necessary to do justice to these strikingly original works. Playing of uttermost purity and conviction. Highly recommended…" ... more
Piano Journal,2000
"Sounds Uplifting" Martin Hoyle meets Elena Riu ... more
Time Out, London 1999
"… More pianists should follow her example…"
The Independent, 1999
"… it is hardly appropriate to say pianist Elena Riu has exploded on to the music scene recently, for such an aggressive term does not do justice to her lyrical, spare and intense style of playing. But it does do justice to the effect that she’s had since she gave the premiere of John Tavener’s haunting Ypakoe at last year’s City of London Festival. It seems that one can barely step out of the house without reading a new ecstatic review, or being trampled by some recently converted obsessive fan desperate to get to her next gig…" ... more
Metro, London 2000
"… American pianist Elena Riu has fashioned a marvellously synergistic recital. A beautifully performed and produced album, with a lovely piano sound.." ... more
Billboard, USA, 2000
"… Moonlight sonatas for the new millennium…"
Inverness Courier,2000
"… Elena Riu ofrecio un magistral espectaculo de virtuosismo .La cita fue esencialmente poetica y las piezas interpretadas por Riu una delicia para los oidos…."
Europa Sur, 2001
Festival Internacional de Musica de Jimena de la Frontera

"... Finally pianist Elena Riu gave a performance of contemporary piano miniatures. Toru Takemitsu's 'Rain Sketch II', Peter Sculthorpe's Djilile and two tangos from Astor Piazolla were highlights of a performance that oozed passion, imagination and verve. Currently at the forefront of a new generation of British pianists, Elena's lyrical playing and her desire to champion an unfamiliar repertoire is a winning combination ... Rare evening of delights."
Rare Music Club Wiltshire Music Centre, Friday 22nd March 2002

Time Out : Martin Hoyle meets Elena Riu ... more
Time Out, London 2002
"… The pianist Elena Riu presents an atmospherically moving compilation…"
Klassik Heute
"… Un talent et un charme sans faille…" ... more
La Voix du Nord. 2000 Festival de Musique du Touquet
"… Elena Riu talked informatively about music she clearly adores- and her dazzling playing made the audience adore Soler too…"
Musical Opinion, 1998
Spanish sensations ... more
Classical Music, London.
"… Let's hope that she create some clones, for we can do with more of her sort…" ... more
The Independent, 1999
"… beautifully controlled and shaded performances given by Elena Riu. Tavener’s chant based Ypakoe comes across with real vividness, as do Mompou’s Charmes and an attractive choice of pieces by Australian Peter Sculthorpe…"
Classic FM Critic’s Choice 2000
"… This collection of miniatures reveals Elena Riu’s talent for poetic communication and would please many aficionados. I certainly recommend it for nigh-time listening, in the summer, if possible by the sea and smoking something ..." ... more
CD Compact, 2000
"… Elena Riu, a very sensitive artist, managed to convey the message of the works performed in an unusually strong and impressive way…"
Cervna 1999, Festival Forfest, Czech Republic