Four New Concertos from Avner Dorman

Four New Concertos from Avner Dorman
Avner Dorman © Felix Grünschloß
There's something about the physical presence of a soloist: the way they move, the way they hold their instrument. When I compose, I imagine them playing. I'm always thinking about the physical manifestation of the piece, about reality and not about just page and paper.
Avner Dorman

Four new concertos premiering this season deepen the "undeniably intoxicating" (WQXR) catalog of Israeli-American composer Avner Dorman. Writing for classical music superstars, emerging virtuosos, and incendiary mavericks, Dorman's multifaceted talents will be on full display across three continents.

The festivities begin in Montreal on October 15, where Dorman's violin concerto Nigunim will receive its world premiere as a winner of the 2018 Azrieli Music Prize. Orchestrated from the composer's eponymous Violin Sonata No. 3 (originally written for Gil Shaham), Nigunim alludes to music's transnational power, and the similarities found across traditional Jewish music from different parts of the world.

I found that there are some common musical elements to North African Jewish cantillations, Central Asian Jewish wedding songs, Klezmer music, and Ashkenazy prayers. Though I did not use any existing Jewish melodies for Nigunim, the main modes and melodic gestures of the piece are drawn from these common elements. Moreover, different sections of the piece draw upon local non-Jewish musical traditions of each of these regions: for example, the second movement uses principles found in Georgian folk rhythms and harmonies, and the fourth is inspired by Macedonian dances.
— Avner Dorman

October 15 2018, Azrieli Music Prizes Gala Concert
Lara St. John, violin
McGill Chamber Orchestra, Yoav Talmi, conductor
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Listen: Gil and Orli Shaham perform the Nigunim Sonata
Peruse: Avner Dorman's Azrieli-prizewinning arrangement for violin and orchestra

Eternal Rhythm
Not a week later in Hamburg, percussionist Simone Rubino and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra will give the world premiere of Eternal Rhythm, a much-anticipated follow-up to his beloved first percussion concerto, Frozen In Time. This sold-out, one-night-only performance takes place on October 20, with Stefan Geiger at the podium. Eternal Rhythm draws upon Balinese Gamelan and 11th-century Hebrew poetry, and its broader celebration of rhythm — "music's most fundamental element" — is sure to delight the audience and orchestra of the Elbphilharmonie. Eternal Rhythm is co-commissioned by the NDR Elbphilharmonie and the Enescu Festival, where it will travel next fall.

October 20 2018, NDR das neue werk
Simone Rubino, percussion
NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Stefan Geiger, conductor
Hamburg, Germany

Peruse: Eternal Rhythm's dazzling score
Listen: the new world premiere recording of Frozen In Time, featuring Christoph Sietzen and the Romanian National Symphony Orchestra

Still (Violin Concerto No. 3)
March 13 marks the world premiere of Dorman's Still (Violin Concerto No. 3), composed for soloist Sayaka Shoji, the first Japanese and youngest winner of the prestigious Paganini Competition in Genoa, Italy. Commissioned by CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, where Dorman is also Music Director, the concert will receive a total five free performances around Cleveland that week, all with the composer at the podium.

March 13 2019, Wide Horizons
Sayaka Shoji, violin
CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Avner Dorman, conductor
Cleveland, OH

Double Concerto
Dorman's season culminates in Australia, where the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra will give the world premiere of a new Double Concerto for violinist Pinchas Zukerman and cellist Amanda Forsyth on June 27, 2019. Composed in honor of Zukerman's 70th birthday and inspired by Brahms Op. 102, the score highlights the virtuosity and outsized personalities of the iconic husband-and-wife duo. Shortly after the world premiere, Zukerman and Forsyth will bring the piece to the Tanglewood Music Festival, where the Boston Symphony Orchestra will give its American premiere. This concerto was co-commissioned by these two orchestras and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, who will give the Canadian Premiere in Ottawa next season.

June 27 2019, Winter Fire
Pinchas Zukerman, violin; Amanda Forsyth, cello
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Benjamin Northey, conductor
Adelaide, Australia

For more information about Avner Dorman, please contact Andrew Stein-Zeller,

  Image: Avner Dorman © Felix Grünschloß

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