Selected Reviews


Elizabeth Joy Roe (pianist) gave a riveting performance.

...the brilliant Ms. Roe won deserved whoops and bravos from the audience for [her] visceral account of this familiar work, which had the music sounding freshly and audaciously modern.


Electrifying … with virtuosity to spare …


Soloist Elizabeth Joy Roe supplied scintillation in the Grieg Piano Concerto. 

A lot of pianists play the Grieg but not many adults twice the age of Miss Roe could make this familiar score sing so poetically or with such spontaneity. A 15-year-old high school honors student in Glenview, she […] seems headed for a bright musical future. Roe is very talented but hers is not a self-regarding talent; rather, it is directed entirely to the music. Secure technique and keen musical instincts served her especially well in the finale, where her hands, though small, had no trouble with the flying octaves and runs. Bouquets and bravos were the pianist’s just reward.


In the Chopin F Minor Concerto, Elizabeth Joy Roe, a high school senior who has won a fistful of prizes, proved herself something more than a contest winner. She played like an artist to be taken seriously.

The Chopin work […] is pure youthful genius, bubbling over with too many ideas to fit into a standard form. Roe showed something of the same quality. From the piano’s opening notes, her playing had the confident sound of a musician who knows exactly what she wants to do with a piece and also knows she can do it. Roe did not so much play the opening movement as let it unfold at its own unhurried pace. The second movement […] sang all the way through. And the third had the glancing, darting sound of mischief. 

What may be most impressive about Roe’s playing is that the brilliant looping arpeggios of this concerto, which usually sound like pasted-on decorations, seemed to be structural parts of the music.


Friday night in the Ravinia Festival's Bennett-Gordon Hall in Highland Park, pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe, Glenview native and Juilliard grad presented a stunning recital on the Rising Star series, marking her as one of the most individualistic and talented young performers today. 

The Rising Stars at Ravinia series can be a mixed bag, but Oct. 26 we saw real star power. Pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe, who performed with the Ars Viva Orchestra and the Chicago Philharmonic while still at Glenbrook South High School, has grown up beautifully…

Her powerful technique never failed and her skill was as dazzling as her gown that sparkled in the spotlight…. Brahms' Sonata No. 2 in F-sharp Minor returned to traditional harmonies, but it was no less demanding. Roe's delicate touch was as winning as her forceful evocations…. A pianist this powerful had to play Liszt, in this case, his piano arrangement of Wagner's ‘Isoldens Liebestod.’ I've heard orchestras that haven't done the original as well.

Her final number was Ravel's turbulent "La valse," well suited to her highly individualistic approach to the keyboard art. The cheering audience coaxed two encores – Rimsky-Korsakov's showy "Flight of the Bumble Bee" and Roe's own glistening arrangement of Gershwin's "The Man I Love." Pieces from the past, made new by this impressive 21st century artist.


Stunning … Ms Roe was more than convincing, probing the depths of [the Scriabin Etude] and bringing to the surface the brilliant colors of its pianism.

…Nothing short of magical. She brought to her performance a kind of emotional risk … heart-rending.

Her performance of Chopin was as nearly perfect as any that I’ve heard. Poetry and youthful energy were combined with a highly disciplined musical intelligence. The results were an unalloyed delight.

Ms. Roe brought to the evening the kind of technical brilliance and digital clarity one comes to expect … But more than an exciting technique was on display. A young woman of great charm sat down at the keyboard and transformed herself into a mature and fascinating interpreter, an artist of intelligence, insight, and a genuine grace.


World-class is the best way to describe Elizabeth Joy Roe's solo piano performance before a capacity audience ... her concert Thursday night only confirmed the many rave reviews the twentysomething artist continued to earn both here and abroad.

Remarkable, indeed, was the tour de force technique she displayed as well as maturity in the interpretation of style. From baroque to contemporary and all periods in between, she captured the psyches of all six composers with effect and conviction.


Astonishing ... Elizabeth Joy Roe, a winner of international competitions and only 21, came to Wilmington and brought an audience to its feet with stunning performances at the three Delaware Symphony concerts. It was a musical moment to treasure.


Ms. Roe was taken to heart by the audience and orchestra…Powerful … courageous drama.


Roe opened an extremely challenging program with contemporary American composer John Corigliano’s violently discordant, immensely appealing Etude Fantasy. With this display of pianistic athleticism out of the way, Roe moved forward[…]maintaining an admirable balance of passion and control in Liszt’s transcription of Schubert’s Gretchen am Spinnrade and the Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. And, appropriately, she found the irony under the surface of Ravel’s glittering La Valse.


American Elizabeth Joy Roe is an emotional and physical powerhouse. She opened with the sprawling "Etude Fantasy" by John Corigliano, a new work to me, and a stunning piece of music of some twenty minutes. Roe followed this with a Schubert-Liszt, and the Wagner-Liszt ‘Tristan und Isolde’ and a ferocious Ravel ‘La Valse’ that positively implodes on itself in her powerful hands to tremendous effect. Roe can play softly and beautifully too…

…Ms. Roe is a very — very — profound artist … original, daring, uncompromising, uninhibited.


Elizabeth Joy Roe went far in conveying the [Mozart] work’s tragic beauty … impressive.


Flamboyant virtuosity … Roe’s clear, rounded tone was a good match for the crisp Symphony II.


Roe’s playing was graceful, light-hearted, but sensitive, too. When required, she could deliver the fireworks, and she held her own against the thundering orchestra.