Sara DE SANTIS (Chitarrae’s Director)
Johan Fostier’s personality and program delighted the numerous and exigent audience of Chitarrae, the International Guitar Festival that takes place in Bivigliano (Florence) by the end of August. His charming, refined, transparent, fresh and virtuosistic interpretation of some of the most beautiful musics of the “latin” repertoire of any period (ancient, romantic and modern) revealed the very essence of these pieces, deeply touching listeners.
Johan’s interpretations were all devoted to Music. He never used his outstanding technique to show virtuosity. On the contrary, he generously gave all of his ability and energy to reveal the deep nature of the pieces he had chosen, his love for them and what they meant for him, keeping a sensitive, sensible, pure and sincere intention.
The program also shows Johan’s great capacity to move and adapt to very different horizons never losing tension and people’s attention. The impression is that he could play no matter what piece he believes in and create magic with it, giving you the wish to hear it again and again and the feeling that he could really play for ever without nor you neither him getting tired!
The concert also represented a great lesson for all the students that participated to the Festival masterclass (led by Luc Vander Borght, a wonderful interpreter and teacher member of the Take4 quartet together with Johan) and for the young members of Chitarrae’s orchestra (led by the Russian guitarist Mikhail Pazi).
Participants who also had the chance to share some days with Johan in the elective setting of the Villa di Bivigliano.
I will never thank Johan enough for the present he gave us with this concert and with his sincere love for music!

Nicolas BLANMONT, La Libre Belgique
VIVA ESPANA ! Spanish week at the philharmonic orchestra of Liege.

Jean-Pierre Rousseau and his team made the right choice in inviting Edmon Colomer.
This discreet and warm Catalan conductor knows all of this repertoire -original or of Spanish influence- like the back of his hand. The music is expressed superbly, be it in the beautiful Turina's " Torero's Prayer" or the extremely famous (though rather rare in a concert) Aranjuez Concerto by Joaquin Rodrigo.
This gave us the opportunity to discover an excellent guitarist in the person of the Brussels based Johan Fostier : a beautiful tone, the right amount of rigour and fantasy, all serving a playing restrained in its exteriority, but nevertheless imbued with sensibility and sincerity.

Richard LETAWE, Res Musica VIVA ESPANA ! Third and last festival of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Liege's season, "Viva Espana" spanned a whole week.
Johan Fostier has put together a programme presenting an exhaustive and varied panorama of the large Spanish repertoire, reaching far beyond folk clichés, with a profound and captivating music, extremely evocative (Recuerdos de la Alhambra, Castillos de Espana,…)
Winner of several international competitions, among which the Guitar Foundation of America Contest, Johan Fostier is a smart and fine guitarist, with a soft tone full of nuances, a reflective and introspective disposition.
His performance is cheered by the audience ( connoisseurs, for Liege hosted a famous guitar festival for a long time) captivated by his delicate musicality and his technique mastery, without ostentation.

VERS l'AVENIR - LE RAPPEL Culture Viroinval - Regniessart Chapel Maurice VANDEWEYER writes :
Superb recital by Johan Fostier
Ten works chosen by artist Johan Fostier, outstanding musician of the young generation of Belgian guitarists, filled the Regniessiart Chapel with wonderful acoustic properties.
Johan Fostier was born in this part which makes him say he is even more delighted to come and play in Regniessart.
The musician , like all members of his audience, were amazed by the perfect acoustic properties of this chapel as if it had been designed for classical guitar recitals.
People attended this concert presented as brilliantly as one could have expected after reading the guitarist’s progression.
Johan Fostier performed works by Gismonti, Bach, Emilio Pujol, Ernesto Lecuona regarded as one of the major Cuban composers, by Carlevaro and many others.
Breaking a more than religious silence, the notes came to delight our eardrums.
Johan Fostier’s mastery and reputation are certainly not overstated. Those were divine moments.
Everybody wanted this to last longer, but alas, best things also come to an end.
It is worth knowing that this musician performs around the world, from Switzerland to Germany, in the Netherlands, the United States and in Canada.
When not performing as a soloist, he likes to accompany soprano Evelyne Bohen or guitarist Delphine Bertrand in duets. Listing his progression, his accompanists, his performances, his theatre premieres would be far too long. Anyway, this was not the point for the audience in Regniessart, whatever the titles of the virtuoso, the only thing that matters is the music he pours out bringing you to Nirvana
The limpidity of the notes, the flights, the chords, rhythms and tempos were more than enough to convince the most skeptical music lover.
A most pleasant evening! Let us bet that "Regniessart Village Quality" and " The Friends of the Nature Reserve" organize more of such high-quality recitals.

Classical notes by Allison Kyd   -  Vue Weekly ,(Edmonton)
On Friday at Muttart Hall, Belgian guitarist Johan Fostier demonstrated the virtuosity that has won him many Europeans titles, most recently first prize at the Guitar Foundation of America's 2001 International Solo Guitar Competition.
A highlight was Manuel Maria Ponce's "Variations sur Folia de Espana et Fugue".
There are 20 variations and Fostier created a different mood and often a different touch for each. He further charmed his audience by introducing his pieces. There is some debate about whether performers should describe works or weather the music must speak for itself. I tend to think brief comments are appropriate in intimate spaces and regard the willingness to take the time to connect with the audience as a mark of respect. I object, however, to lengthy introductions. If it must be read, I say, put it in the program. Fostier's approach was ideal, his manner both polite and disarming. I have, in fact, decided the guitar, not the cello as I formerly believed, is the most loverly instrument. It doesn't hurt that Fostier resembles Sean Penn. Picture it .

Lindsay Kelly, Shield staff - The Cambrian Shield
Guitarist captivates Sudbury audience

Though classical guitar is traditionally reserved for those true classical music aficionados, it takes only a short time listening to Fostier play, before even the most untrained ear can begin to appreciate the beauty and skill of his incredible talent.Silence quickly spread over the cowd as he took centre stage.
As he cradles his guitar in his arms, he seems unaware of the audience eagerly anticipating his performance, yet he seems to know exactly how to manipulate their emotions. His music is at times quiet and calming, and takes on an almost dream-like quality which sends the audience into quiet consideration, while at other times his lively interpretations reflect the real power of the artist and his instrument.
As Fostier moves his fingers deftly through the complicated arragements, he makes it seem almost effortless. It is difficult for the average person to imagine the hours of practice to rise this level of play.
The emotions he reveals through his playing, translate onto his face, and it's clear this is more than a profession, it his passion. At the end of each piece, he seems to slowly come out of a pleasant reverie, only then acknowledging the audience as witnesses to his private love affair. He played nine pieces for the crowd, each one garnering him more appreciative applause than the last. Two consecutive standing ovations prompted Fostier to return to the stage to play, before he moved to the lobby where he signed CDs and chatted with the audience.

Johan Fostier Concert Review
On Saturday, October 5th
, the Classical Guitar Society of Northern Colorado presented a concert by Johan Fostier, winner of the Guitar Foundation of America, "2001 International Solo Competition".
Here is Steve Waechter's review:
Johan Fostier presented a stellar performance for the Guitar Society of Northern Colorado in the annual GFA Winner's Concert.
Fostier played an extremely challenging program with marvelous timbral control, exciting dynamics, and a wonderful sense of artistic timing and expression.
An obvious highlight was Mr. Fostier's mastery of the historical styles presented.
His Latin-American traditional music was special (raising an urge for a margarita or perhaps another margarita!). Ponce's Variations on "Folias de Espana" were elegant and convincingly played and his Weiss Sonata was charmingly colored and beautifully executed... a real crowd pleaser.
Upon concluding the printed portion of the program, Johan received an immediate and enthusiastic standing ovation. At the crowd's insistance he returned to with two encores; a Tarrega Waltz deftly performed and finished with Mompou's beautiful Cancion from the Suite Compostellana.
On a personal note, we found Johan to be a warm, open and very bright young man.
He is very dedicated to his music and skill as a master musician.

Les cahiers de la Guitare et de la Musique. Danielle Ribouillaut écrit :
Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris.Classe d'Alberto Ponce.

Johan Fostier a, quant à lui, reçu son diplôme de concertiste en 1996, à l'unanimité et avec félicitations. Il donnait son récital dans le cadre des Concerts de Midi de la Salle Cortot - cette salle qui aux dires du grand pianiste dont elle porte le nom, "sonne comme un violon..."
Cet écrin convient admirablement à la guitare, et à celle si pure de ce jeune artiste belge. Il avait choisi de donner les Variations sur un thème de Cabezon de Manuel Maria Ponce, assez rarement jouées et qu'il a rendues avec beaucoup de finesse et d'intériorité. De même les deux Suggestions de Brotons ont retenu notre attention (compositeur et chef catalan ayant travaillé avec Narcis Bonet): le son est chaud et clair à la fois, le rendu subtil. La suite Mystique de Vicente Asencio, en ce sens convient très bien à Johan Fostier, concentré qu'il est dans l'intimité de cette inspiration profonde.Piazzolla et Tedesco ont révélé son humour et ses timbres variés et la Cancíon de Mompou en bis, encore une fois sa pureté de son et d'inspiration.

David's Review Corner
CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO: Platero y yo (Platero and I). Capriccio diabolico (Homage to Paganini).
PONCE: Variations on Folia de Espana and Fugue. ASENCIO: Three Homages. Johan Fostier (guitar).
Naxos 8.557039. (67' 34").
It is unusual to find a young guitarist willing to stake his reputation on rarely heard music, much of it quiet and relying on the soloist's ability to create a myriad of subtle tonal shades.
Johan Fostier has taken on that challenge and produces a very desirable disc, while in the outgoing moments of virtuosity in Ponce's Variations he also shows a guitarist with a massive technique.
Fostier was born in Belgium, and has a long list of competition successes to substantiate his place among today’s elite string-pluckers.
The disc offers a rare opportunity to hear Castelnuovo-Tedesco's five-movement suite, Platero y yo, though Naxos's Norbert Kraft did make a recording a few years back for Koch.
It is a gorgeous score in muted shades, the noise of Fostier's finger movements kept to a minimum.
Asencio’s Three Homages, a short work in contrasting movements, brings moments of modern harmonies, before we return to the pleasing Capriccio diabolico.
Good sound quality.

Neil Horner wrote :
The ongoing Naxos Laureate Series has provided, in its guitar discs (often featuring prizewinners from the Guitar Foundation of America Competition) some compelling listening. Many of the discs have been "must buys" for anyone at all interested in the classical guitar but Antigoni Goni's disc of Domeniconi's Koyunbaba and Mompou's Suite Compostellana and her John Duarte collection (the English Suite is superb!) take some beating.
In this instance, the young Belgian, Johan Fostier comes very close!
One gratifying aspect of this series is its refusal to conform to stereotypical repertoire, so even when major Spanish or, in this case, "Spanish-derived" items are included, they are complemented by something a little more unusual.
There is absolutely nothing to dislike in Fostier’s performance of the Ponce, and it holds up well against existing versions, even by the likes of John Williams.
However, the main interest here, to this listener, was the inclusion of two works by the Italian composer Castelnuovo-Tedesco who later emigrated to the US and whose neo-classical first guitar concerto is an absolute must for lovers of the modern guitar.
They are both highly listenable - the first, based on the travels of the poet Jiménez and his donkey Platero, was originally performed with a text recitation from the poetry but stands up well as music in itself; it is by and large ruminative, meditative and sometimes languid but never less than charming and often folk-like without a particularly Spanish flavour (the closing few bars of The Canary Flies would sound equally well on a Viennese zither!).
The homage to fellow Italian Paganini is a good deal more subtle than much of the music of its dedicatee and its mood often looks forward to the guitar concerto of four years later.
The feeling of the piece is not always that far removed from the music of the aforementioned contemporary and compatriot Domeniconi - reflective, Mediterranean I suppose, but subtly different from most equivalent Spanish works; "classical restraint" is a descriptive cliché that actually might apply here. Whatever, those expecting pyrotechnics and a "rhapsody" type tribute will be disappointed.
I was happy to be immersed in some glorious if introverted music.
The little known Asencio is a slightly different kettle of fish - a Spanish "modernist" looking westwards towards Buenos Aires and north to France for inspiration. The dedicatees of his three homages (the Lorca tango excepted, perhaps, for the literary minded) are probably as difficult to identify from the music, as is the Paganini in Castenuovo-Tedesco's piece, but the works are effective miniatures and no doubt add an extra worth to the disc (much greater I would imagine for guitar completists).
As always, Norbert Kraft and Bonnie Silver have engineered and produced a superb recording, so I have no hesitation in recommending this wholeheartedly to anyone who is remotely interested in the contemporary guitar.
A great antidote to stress - you may care to listen to minimalism on the motorway but put this on when you get home and unwind!

Les cahiers de la Guitare et de la Musique. Danielle Ribouillaut écrit :
Johan Fostier joue Asencio et Tarrega - Denis Azabagic : Oeuvres complètes pour la guitare de Vicente Asencio

Il n'est parfois pas inintéressant, lorsque l'occasion s'en présente, de comparer les jeux de deux jeunes artistes talentueux et "multiprisés" qui se retrouvent dans des répertoires, pour partie, identiques. Les options et personnalités de chacun n'en ressortent que mieux et peuvent contribuer à localiser les évolutions interprétatives modernes de la guitare. Si Denis Azabagic joue l'intégrale, Johan Fostier ne joue d'Asencio que la suite Valenciana, le Collectici Intim et la Suita Mistica, mais ajoute quatre oeuvres dont la fantaisie sur un thème de la Traviata, la Vals, la Mazurka, l'Alborada et El Columpio. Les deux musiciens ici présents on tout pour s'opposer sauf l'excellence. Le jeu de Denis Azabagic est très pur et très tenu, pensant la construction des pièces à partir du développement dynamique des phrases à grande échelle. On pourra reconnaître làune manière d'envisager la musique assez caractéristique de certaines écoles d'Europe de l'Est. L'importance des lignes s'en trouve prépondérante sur le rôle des variations de timbres. La tenue de l'énergie est parfaite er les accélérations dynamiques ont du souffle.
Face à cela, Johan Fostier mise sur une recherche de l'expressivité où la couleur et la respiration prédominent sur la conception. J'y sens personnellement plus de sensibilité dans les voix intérieures par exemple, ou sur les accents des danses, un peu moins énergiques mais un peu plus signifiantes aussi. L'idée musicale suit la phrase, s'autorisant plus de rubato. Des deux caractères aucun n'est préférable que d'une manière toute subjective. A chacun donc de se trouver plus proche de l'un ou de l'autre ou de réaliser sa propre synthèse, les deux auditions restant très stimulantes.