“He throws off Glass' trademark cascading arpeggios with jaw-dropping ease, yet the effect is anything but mechanical. On the contrary, the violinist allows the music to breathe organically, shaping each movement with expressive lyricism and exquisite beauty... with his virtuosity, his warmth and above all his humanity.” - Sydney Morning Herald
“PENSIVE, poetic and mesmerising, Portals is a classical music, contemporary dance, spoken word and video collaboration that fuses live and virtual concert experiences to create an immersive fantasy world of urbane beauty, yearning and tranquility. Portals, however, is an exception to the rule -- a superb demonstration of what is possible when sense and sentiment are the drivers of cross-art-form multimedia collaboration, rather than the novelty of new technology and the incessant quest for innovation.” - The Australian
"An ingeniously practical show that Fain can take on tour, unencumbered by much more than a laptop. His goal is to find new ways to frame the music, and in that he succeeded admirably. It was the music, conveyed through Fain’s warm, beautifully centered tone; expressive and varied vibrato; and matter-of-fact virtuosity, that commanded the attention. He expanded the show’s purview by including poetry interludes in which Fred Child read works by Leonard Cohen, often appearing on the screen framed in a Web browser page or on a laptop or an iPad. Several movements of the Glass — a rugged, seven-movement suite that draws on both the intensity of Bach’s solo violin music and Mr. Glass’s patent use of repetition — were mated to quirkily narrative, athletic dance sequences, choreographed by Benjamin Millepied." - New York Times
Fain has the honeyed tone, spectacular technique and engrossing musicality of an old-school virtuoso tied to a contemporary sensibility. His career is based, in part, on new music and new ways of thinking about classical music. Fain has found his way into the dance world as well. All of these interests and connections come together in "Portals." An interactive film directed by Kate Hackett intriguingly attempts to reinvent the violin recital for a what-you-see-is-what-you-get iPad era.
The soloist's partner in "Portals" is a large screen, against which Fain interacts in various ways. On pieces requiring a pianist, Nicholas Britell is on-screen. The perspective changes regularly and unpredictably in clever ways, directing attention back and forth between the live performer on stage and Fain and Britell on film. The main point of "Portals" is the premiere of Glass' Partita, which Fain commissioned. Its seven movements clearly recall Bach. So Bachian and harmonically exploratory is the Partita that it has sections that hardly sound like Glass, the Partita is a moody, richly textured and powerful capstone. After the Partita, he played Kevin Puts' "Arches" like a house on fire. -Los Angeles Times
The charismatic Fain flawlessly held the audience focused throughout while performing some of the finest virtuoso modern repertoire that this listener has ever heard. With the collaboration of such brilliant composers as Philip Glass (Partita for Solo Violin), Lev Zhurbin (Sicilienne), Nico Muhly (Honest Music), Aaron Jay Kermis (Air), William Bolcom (Graceful Ghost Rag) and Kevin Puts (Arches), the concert truly explored the technical possibilities of the solo violin reminding us where Bach, Ysaye and Paganini might have pointed us and where the future of the art will lead us. Adding film, dance and the spoken word made it possible to change the mood from heartfelt melody, to virtuoso technique to light hearted comical interludes. Tim easily gave us a glimpse of the virtuoso of the future while redefining the idea of the violin recital, and in this multi-media setting guided us through a visual and musical journey. The last piece, Arches, was a virtuoso cadenza that left the audience breathless and on their feet. -Hollywood Today
"Violinist Tim Fain Brings the Violin Recital into the 21st Century: "Portals" is a breath of fresh air in a style that has become stale through repetition. Fain's act is a hit now." -Ovation Press - String Vision
"God is alive, magic is afoot." Leonard Cohen's evocative statement is right at home in Tim Fain's multi-media "Portals." God is still alive in the digital age and magic is on the move, thanks to Fain, the 35-year-old violin virtuoso and his collaborators. Fain's performances marked the climactic growth of a new era in violin music. Fain offered a mesmerizing live performance set on the backdrop of a film by Kate Hackett. Musicians collaborate via the web in the film, Fred Child delivers Cohen's poetry with might and main, and Fain eloquently unfolds the work of six living composers with such finesse and veracity, it must be considered a contemporary classic.
The other compositions echo these sentiments in the program, culminating with Kevin Puts' soaring piece, "Arches" to close the show to a standing ovation. While "Portals" is well-balanced between the film aspect and live performance, Fain's emotion in delivering the contemporary violin solos and violin/piano duets is matched by his astonishing precision on his violin.
"Portals" opens many doors, not just between artists and audience, or different media, but within the mind of the individual, as well. Fain's synaptic path in "Portals" unlocks a gateway for modern violin music, connecting the past with the future. -Shout! Omaha
“Violinist Tim Fain plays like a virtuoso and thinks like a cinematographer. The show, Portals, is a smart mix of sound and vision for the Facebook vision who love Bjork and Beethoven with equal ardor.” - Vanity Fair
"Fain's recital was often dazzling, always risky, and unfailingly exciting, opening ears (and eyes). A handsome young man in charge of his instrument, Fain's strong technique delivered the "new Philip Glass," the composer of lyric and melodic gifts quite different from the purveyor of the metronomic repetition of motifs which characterized his early work..." - Herald Tribune (Sarasota, Fla)
"Tim Fain [is] worthy of every honor and should be going on to a career of major importance in the future...Fain is fantastic. His technique and musicianship are impeccable...a master of his instrument. The unfinished (Glass) work was rich, colorful and quite beautiful, with moments of plaintive contemplation and others filled with long, luxurious phrases." - Sarasota Magazine
"The Glass piece definitely sounded like more of a look backward than what we may think of as typical Glass minimalism; one movement gave off an air of gypsy melancholy, another, a chaconne, seemed the most technically demanding, but Fain successfully negotiated it. I felt I could hear the violin breathe, like a living thing." - June LeBell, Observer (Longboat Key, Fla)