"… young US conductor Kensho Watanabe gamely stepped in with direction that was focused and controlled yet bursting with energy, teeming with detail yet never micromanaged. His Mahler Fourth sounded – unsurprisingly – gloriously nimble and buoyant under a chamber orchestra, and his characterisations were masterful, especially in the raw, devilish scherzo, high on grotesquerie."

David Kettle, The Scotsman

31 January 2020 | Scottish Chamber Orchestra

"…in Mr. Watanabe’s turbocharged tempo bursts, in his accents and phrases hurled like lightning bolts, in well-considered details that revealed previously overlooked sinews and muscles in the score’s anatomy... all of the theatrically astute details seemed instinctual – but, of course, instinct isn’t worth much without technique, and Mr. Watanabe would seem to have that by the truckload...

The orchestra responded with some of its best playing in memory – the luxurious sheen of the strings was especially impressive."

Mike Greenberg, incident light

9 November 2019 | San Antonio Symphony

"… the younger maestro displayed the intelligence and agility that has made him a favorite with local audiences since his days as a conducting fellow at the Curtis Institute…Watanabe embedded a great deal of personality into Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony, diving into the work with confidence and a forceful hand. It sounded like youth personified – a balance of received wisdom and contemporary thought about how this music should be played."

Cameron Kelsall, Bachtrack

26 April 2019 | The Philadelphia Orchestra