"This recent release [of Once Removed CD] . . . was my introduction to John Fitz Rogers, although listening to it made me wonder why I'd never encountered his name—or, more important, his music—before . . . Beginning my listening with the Blue River Variations for piano solo, I knew within about a minute that this was music that warranted serious attention . . . [O]ne gleans the sensibility of an artist of the 'old school,' in which a deeply expressive emotional contour is inseparable from abstract musical development, creating a compelling sense of engagement . . . All four of these works reveal a gratifying clarity and coherence, but also give the impression that initial acquaintance only scratches the surface. I look forward to further acquaintance with Rogers's music."
- Walter Simmons
Fanfare Magazine, March/April 2013
"The texts for the seven-movement [Magna Mysteria] are taken from Psalms, Revelation and Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy . . . Set entirely in Latin, translations of the texts were provided, allowing listeners to find the many places where Rogers was being very sensitive to the texts . . . It is encouraging to find a composer like Rogers daring to make a claim on serious music making in the time-honored tradition of choral music. . . Mystery is certainly present from the first note, joined by the truly ethereal voices of the boys and girls singing from the south transept gallery. As the adult choir enters, the music builds to a thrilling climax. . . The fourth movement takes simple, beautifully sustained tone clusters with vocal lines sung by the treble children’s voices in tandem with a soprano soloist —ravishing music . . . I dare to say that every one of the 37 boys and girls will at some point in their lives suddenly remember the moving moment of singing “et clamor meus ad te veniat” (“let my cry come before you”) with an incredible soprano soloist. It’s those kinds of experiences that affect lives in a most positive way . . . The orchestral accompaniment throughout is well conceived, and the choirs’ beautifully performed sonorities were consistently in syncopation. In the last movement, all forces are present and the driving rhythms were truly infectious . . . I am confident that Magna Mysteria will join the ranks of important American choral works."
- David Lowry
Columbia Free Times
"When the slender, Gauguin-esque Marina Lomazov took the stage and spread out her copy of Variations by John Fitz Rogers, I could tell from the density of the pages that Rogers had written something challenging. As it turned out, expectations were exceeded by a staggeringly difficult piece, notable for Lomazov's touch and prowess in voicing, matching Rogers's gutsy writing. Although some quiet moments appear here and there (most notably in a passage near the end), the title seems almost too cool for the brash spirit on display, often with Ms. Lomazov perched over the keyboard with the wingspan of a giant condor. In an uproarious climax, a bizarre ragtime passage suddenly appears with rhythms sprouting up all over the place, interrupting themselves, then followed by a demented boogie — Art Tatum locked in a tiny room filled with heat lamps."
- Bruce Hodges
"John Fitz Rogers's Variations (2003) arrived at the same world — half new, half old — but by an opposite strategy. Ragtime, waltz time, even rhythm and blues provided the variety here. Interspersed were crashing scales and chords parodying Liszt in his bloviating mode. Mr. Rogers loves the piano’s upper territory and its capacity for bright, reflective light. Marina Lomazov’s big-boned virtuosity served him handsomely."
- Bernard Holland
The New York Times
"There were also links between the medieval styles and John Fitz Rogers's "Summum Bonum," a setting of a satirical Renaissance text by Robert Burton, commissioned for the [Music At The Anthology] concert and performed by Lionheart. Mr. Rogers's approach to language is attractive for its omniverousness: allusions to chant, and to Minimalism, sit beside dense counterpoint."
- Allan Kozinn
The New York Times
"Ad Lucem was written for [pianists Marina] Lomazov and Joseph Rackers, and they are exceptional stewards. Their performance brought intimate poignancy to a composition that explores conversation, distance, partnership and dissolution. There are passages where the two pianos are separated, but even during mismatch, they use the same vocabulary and are aware of each other's language. These sections are beautiful in themselves and in relation to each other, but they are magnificent in the path they lay for the ecstatically sexy moments of reunion, when the voices return to speaking together."
- Courtney Danforth
Columbia Free Times
"[N]ever ceases to be interesting . . . Absolutely beautiful . . . Rogers is one of the few composers who've risen beyond academia and found a unique voice. I'd be very interested in seeing how his minimalist-polystylism might work in a longer orchestral piece. Concerto for Orchestra anyone?"
- American Record Guide, May/June 2009
(review of “Once Removed” CD)
"Striking the Right Note: For composer John Fitz Rogers, composing music is 'an act of faith'"
- Jeffrey Day
The State (feature article)
Read the full article as .PDF (820 KB) or as .JPG (1.66 MB)
"Ad Pacem, a fairly brief and direct work for cello choir, [was] written to mark the passing of Mstislav Rostropovich. The work is masterful, beautiful, direct and simple in its harmonic language, but original and far from cliché . . . which made one think that the work could and should reach a wide audience . . . The concert closed with an attractive song cycle, Songs of Time and Tide, by Rogers to texts of [Rabindranath] Tagore . . . Again, this is a work which could easily enter the standard repertoire."
- Tom Moore
Classical Voice of North Carolina
"Saturday night's concert at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center also featured the fourth and final piece in the Philharmonic's Centennial Commissioning project, "Fanfares for Tulsa." John Fitz Rogers' "Still" . . . [is a] personal-sounding piece, because Fitz Rogers isn't trying to graft a gimmick into his music. In his program notes, Fitz Rogers said the idea at the heart of the piece is continuity . . . In performance, however, the other meaning of the title—of time suspended, of a moment held in place and minutely examined—was more apparent. The chime-like percussion, like a carillon stretched out to infinity, and the piece's progression toward two separate climaxes, neither of which truly resolve in the way one expects, gave the paradoxical impression of time standing still and continually moving."
- James D. Watts, Jr.
"One thing is for certain: this recording will engender strong reactions . . . Transit begins slowly, with several minutes of quasi-celestial computer-generated sounds. Once the [electric] guitar enters, however, the mood changes, as the conflict and chaos of earthbound existence rise to the fore. The work is studded with frequently stunning juxtapositions, its unapologetic commentary destined to either enrapture or force one to run for cover while invoking the names of Bach, Mozart and the entire Hindu panoply. In many ways, Transit seems an appropriate commentary on life in the 21st century . . . Parts of this virtual symphony seem ecstatic, others funereal. Its pace and multi-layered chaos will either energize you or give you a headache. Either way, or both, it must be heard."
- Jason Serinus,
syndicated review in Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco), Seattle Weekly, and Home Theater HiFi
"Transit is a post-modernist piece, par excellence . . . and like it or loathe it, this is a spectacular work. On one level, the title can simply be taken to refer to the 'crossover' nature of the music, but this is nothing like the kind of synthesis one normally associates with the rock/classical fusion. For one thing, the piece is more than a set of separate movements; it's actually quite tightly constructed. For another, it's rhythmically extremely complex in places, and harmonically challenging . . . It's hard to find comparisons . . . Perhaps there is nothing quite like it. The only way to find out is to listen for yourself!"
- Rex Harley
Music & Vision Daily
"[Transit] is a single 44-minute work with the architecture of classical music but the drive of rock. Intense ambient masterwork that weaves classical, jazz, pop and rock into one fantastic musical tapestry."
"Verge" was a dandy, bright piece with skillful use of orchestral color . . ."
- Ron Emery
The Albany Times Union