Ben Hong
Los Angeles Times

"On the program were excerpts from Tan Dun's "Crouching Tiger Concerto," based on his Academy Award-winning score for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Taiwan-born Ben Hong, the Philharmonic's assistant principal cellist, was the soloist... this was 26 minutes of really enchanting music played really well. The amplification was cranked up high yet without distortion, and the Bowl was magically bathed in Hong's bold, gorgeous tone."
-- Mark Swed


"Gubaidulina's "In Croce," an incredibly strange piece for cello and organ, was given a gripping performance by Ben Hong and Mark Robson. The organ begins in its top registers, tweeting like a bird. The cello comes in droning at its lowest pitches, like the groaning of the Earth. Suddenly, the organ announces something important with A-major fanfares. A-major represented green for Scriabin, the early 20th century Russian composer who was a major influence on Gubaidulina's style.

"In Croce," written in 1979, symbolizes Christ on the cross. The organ gradually descends to its deepest bass, where pitch turns into visceral vibrations that cause the feet to tingle. The cello lifts off, headed for heaven. When the instruments cross, they send out supernatural Morse codes, quick assurances about the adventures ahead. It is an amazing piece."
-- Mark Swed


"The opening "OM" segment, for example, featuring the brilliant playing of cellist Ben Hong, moved from a meditative beginning into a Western-like cadenza, subtly combing qualities of East and West."
-- Don Heckman


LA Weekly

"One other Turnage work, Kai, a 10-minute cello concerto (again with jazz combo), began the Festival's first evening event: dark, rumbling lyricism, its solo lines rhapsodically delivered by the Philharmonic's Ben Hong."
-- Alan Rich


"Gubaidulina's 1979 In Croce is an amazing work for cello (the Philharmonic's Ben Hong) and organ (Mark Robson), ecstatic and ecstatically played: hypnotic, intense, an unceasing 19-minute mantra. Concordanza, an earlier (1971) work for chamber ensemble, held the attention in other ways: gritty, unyielding, unsmiling like my early memories of the composer herself."
-- Alan Rich


"What the younger Nazeri has done, from the evidence of Friday's concert, is to absorb some of the melodic and harmonic idiom of his Persian heritage, spread it around a mix of indigenous and symphonic players (led off in a throbbing solo by Philharmonic cellist Ben Hong) and compose big Western-style music with this material."
-- Alan Rich


New York Times

"Kai on Friday worked Ben Hong's soulful solo cello against aggressive popular music elements (saxophones, bass guitar). Mr. Turnage makes a quick impression on audiences. The popular elements loosen their inhibitions; the drama is up-front and nigh impossible to misread."
-- Bernard Holland