“The National Symphony Orchestra shone under its assistant conductor, Ankush Kumar Bahl, whose crisp tempi and authority left one wanting to hear more of him.”
“After a harrowing National Symphony Orchestra concert Friday night at the Kennedy Center, when venerable guest conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos took ill during the final number and was able to finish the concert only because a musician brought him a chair mid-performance, the orchestra called upon its assistant conductor, Ankush Kumar Bahl, to lead the final performance on Saturday. No one hearing the concert cold would have had any reason to think that Bahl had not been leading the orchestra all week."
"Bahl did what he was supposed to do and the orchestra responded with a solid performance. The audience gave him a standing ovation at the close."
"Bahl improved (in my view) on some of the sedate tempos Frühbeck took in several of the pieces, pushing things along. This was his first full subscription-program performance, and he obviously was not in a position to give his musical personality full and free rein. But he has earned the chance to do so in the future.”
“Ankush Kumar Bahl… made his Carnegie debut leading an energetic reading of the Brahms overture with clear authority and enthusiasm”
“By Saturday the orchestra had become as fine a Mendelssohn vehicle as any young conductor could want, and most handled it capably, though without carrying it to great heights of inspiration. One who did seem to inspire it was Ankush Kumar Bahl, in the finale of the “Reformation” Symphony. Mr. Bahl was also one of the few who, in the earlier sessions, took the lead in rehearsing the orchestra in detail rather than simply waiting for Mr. Masur to interrupt and take matters into his own hands… the “Reformation” Symphony was a great success.”
“Assistant Conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl drew a lush sound from the orchestra, particularly the strings… the combined forces of the orchestra with the organ brought the work to a towering climax.”
“Bahl kept well ahead of the orchestra in the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, with a compelling stick technique, particularly effective during soft, sustained organ suspensions accompanied by enchanting pizzicato from the orchestra. The NSO is definitely forging a path toward Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein's grand goal of becoming "the greatest orchestra in the United States."
“I sat in the orchestra seats for the first half, the better to see the soloist and appreciate the NSO’s capable assistant conductor, Ankush Kumar Bahl, who was making his Wolf Trap debut as well. For the second half, I moved out to a blanket, for the sake of comparison, and found that little was lost in terms of sound and much was gained in terms of ambience. This kind of summertime concert is about conviviality, sharing a mood; the picnic basket, rather than the CD, has become the summer concert’s iconic souvenir. This isn’t the place to nitpick about how the NSO sounded, which was hard to determine through the amplification, in any case, or to do anything other than applaud Bahl’s ready banter with the audience, including a concise and informative précis of the 1812 Overture, which — of course! — ended the program.”
“…a fine conductor leading his responsive musicians with alternating sensitivity and energy through a wide gamut of expressive nuances, but as an ingratiating master of ceremonies as well.”
“The audience clearly loved both him and the music, responding with more standing ovations, whistles, and bravos than I can call to mind in recent RSO history.”
Reviewed by - Courtenay Caublé - February 4, 2006
"…a consistently vibrant performance under the leadership of RSO Assistant Conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl. From the first notes of the Beethoven overture to the Brahms symphony’s final chord, Maestro Bahl was in equally energetic and sensitive control, calling forth a long and well-deserved standing ovation at the program’s close. Even the orchestra’s players were reluctant to respond to his signal to stand to share in the audience’s obvious appreciation of his performance."
"Maestro Bahl vitalized both the overture’s majestic opening and the ensuing contrasting episodes with masterful attention to both balances and dynamic control."
"Mr. Bahl’s management of both the music and the ensemble was exemplary."
"Mr. Bahl’s close attention to balances and nuances, enhanced by an obvious awareness of the underlying motif that runs through the Brahms symphony’s four movements, served to communicate both the individual loveliness of each of the separate sections and the intended unity of the work."
Reviewed by - Courtenay Caublé - December 5, 2005
"With his usual minimum of podium gymnastics, Bahl led the orchestra in a tightly-reined, yet robust performance."
"Bahl conducted a nicely paced performance. The strings particularly seemed richer in sound than usual."
"The sound of final applause by a near full house made it clear that the audience's approval rating for Bahl and the symphony was high indeed."
“Mr. Bahl didn’t just lead the orchestra; he provided a revealing interpretation that managed to be in turn both excitingly energetic and sensitively flexible in seeking out and communicating every subtle implicit nuance in the score. And the orchestra responded sensitively with arguably the most musically satisfying performance of the piece I’ve ever heard. Mr. Bahl’s act was a hard one to follow…”
Reviewed by - Courtenay Caublé - February 12, 2004
“The results showed that when the orchestra chose this energetic young conductor, they chose well.”
“Bahl and the RSO gave a passionate reading of the symphony. Throughout the 50 minute work, the Ridgefield instrumentalists followed the firm, clear beat of conductor Bahl with complete attention.”
“Conductor Bahl knew what he wanted, and he got it: a praiseworthy performance of a masterpiece”
“Ankush Kumar Bahl, with total mastery of the evening's scores, a fine conducting technique, and the obvious respect of his musicians, led guest soloist Robert Bonfiglio and the orchestra in consistently solid performances of the evening's offerings.”
“Maestro Bahl was in complete command, and the orchestra was first rate.”
Reviewed by - Courtenay Caublé - October 16, 2004