Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Violinist Itamar Zorman Portrait Debut Album Releases February 10th

Profil Hänssler will release violinist Itamar Zorman’s debut album, Portrait, in the US on February 10, 2015, distributed by Naxos. This personal album, described as “pure matter of the heart” (Concerti), captures Zorman's unique communicative power, revealing astounding artistic maturity along with an impressive range of repertoire interests and technical refinement. The works on the album include Messiaen (Theme and Variations), Schubert (Rondo in B minor, D 895), Chausson (Poème, Op. 25), Hindemith (Sonata for violin solo, Op. 31 No. 1), and Brahms (Violin Sonata in D minor, Op. 108). Award-winning Korean pianist Kwan Yi performs with Zorman on the album. Portrait was released in Europe to critical acclaim on August 4, 2014. Zorman’s upcoming concerts include a recital at Union College in Schenectady, NY with Kwan Yi on February 15 and performances with Richard Goode & Friends at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on February 18 and Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in New York on February 22.

Of Portrait, Zorman says, “From the beginning, it was clear to me that the repertoire for my debut album needed to reflect what I believe in as a musician. Choosing pieces that are particularly close to my heart seemed the most natural and honest way of introducing myself. Schubert and Brahms are two of my favorite composers. As a violinist, Schubert’s melodic genius immediately touched my heart. For me, the magic of melody is more mysterious than other aspects of music, perhaps because it imperceptibly incorporates elements such as rhythm and harmony, a particularly striking feature of Schubert’s Rondo in B minor. In some of Brahms’ music I find the most inspiring combination of emotion and intellect, with the ingenious construction of the music enhancing its emotional content and vice versa. My years at a French high school in Tel Aviv left me with a taste for the language and the culture of France and I have since felt a particular bond with its music. In a way, Chausson’s Poème is a bridge between German and French music because, alongside its Wagnerian influences, it shares the high intensity and focus on colors of Messiaen’s early Theme and Variations. I have always been fascinated by the music of the 20th century, and it was important for me to represent the era in Portrait. Hindemith’s Solo Sonatas are a relatively unknown gem with five movements so diverse in character and instrumental techniques, that they resemble five miniature portraits.”

In their review of the album, American Record Guide wrote that Zorman has “expert tonal control” and that his interpretation of the Brahms Sonata was "one of the best I've ever heard" while Journal Frankfurt wrote, “with an incredible panache, highest clarity in the playing, and the emotionality of a young generation of romantics, he combines heart and intellect in a way that only few older musical colleagues succeed in doing.”

Zorman, described as a “virtuoso of emotions” (Goettinger Tageblatt), is a rare talent whose performances combine unparalleled technical prowess with unabashedly sincere emotional depth. The Guardian describes his playing as “astonishingly intimate and intense,” and the New York Times raved that his “splendid playing conveyed precisely the right mix of tenderness, agitation and spiritual succor.” Of a recent recital in Houston, the critic Joel Luks, writing for Culturemap Houston, wrote, “I allowed myself to cry. I wasn’t the only one. Up until then, I was prepared to jot down a glowing review, the kind that is dotted with Hollywood-type movie remarks flashing across a silver screen – like riveting, gripping and two thumbs up. But in addition to having to scheme my escape in hopes of avoiding colleagues – because who wants to see a grown man cry – the whole premise of my critique was shot to hell. Technique can be taught and practiced . . . What’s puzzling is how someone at a young age . . . is able to subsume so much aesthetic puissance into miniscule sonorities? That I couldn't explain.”

Zorman has recently been nominated for the inaugural Warner Music Prize, a new classical music award to be given out annually to a musician between 18 and 35 who demonstrates exceptional promise. The $100,000 cash award will accompany a recording offer from Warner Classics, and is meant to recognize and reward promising musicians early in their careers. He was also recently awarded the 2014 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, the 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, and in 2011 was one of two top prize winners at the Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition, subsequently performing in the winners’ concerts with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra.

Born in Tel-Aviv in 1985 into a family of musicians (his father is a composer and his mother a pianist), Zorman made his Carnegie Hall recital debut in November 2014. This season he will appear with the Teatro Massimo Orchestra in Palermo playing the Beethoven Concerto, led by conductor Daniel Oren and in March 2015, he performs in Haifa and Tel Aviv with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra led by Zubin Mehta. In spring 2015, he tours for the third time with Musicians from Marlboro, performing in New York and Philadelphia, and will return to Carnegie Hall to join Richard Goode for two installments of “Richard Goode and Friends,” performing the chamber music of Brahms, Schumann, and Fauré. His season will also include a performance with the KBS Orchestra at the Seoul National Arts Center in Korea with conductor Yoel Levi and a tour of Italy with the Shanghai Opera Theater Orchestra.

Previous highlights as an orchestral soloist include touring with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra led by David Robertson, with American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Het Gelders Orkest at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Tokyo Symphony at Suntory Hall, Utah Symphony, Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, Orquesta Filharmonica de Cali, Philharmonie Baden Baden, Russian State Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Haifa Symphony, the Fundación Sinfonia in Santo Domingo, and an engagement at the Kronberg Academy Festival which included a concert with the Moscow Soloists and Yuri Bashmet. Zorman won the Juilliard Berg Concerto Competition in April 2011, which led to his Avery Fisher Hall debut with the Juilliard Orchestra led by the late James DePreist. Other competition successes include the first prize and special prize for a performance of a Mozart Concerto at the 2010 International Violin Competition of Freiburg.

Recent recital highlights for Zorman include concerts at the Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Santory Hall in Tokyo, Seoul’s Kumho Art Hall, Houston Society for the Performing Arts, the HR-Sendesaal Frankfurt, his debut on the Louvre recital series in Paris, and his debut at the Verbier Festival. In 2010, Zorman played in a series of recitals broadcast on Radio France for the Radio France Festival in Montpellier.

A committed chamber musician, Zorman is a member of the Lysander Piano Trio, which won the 2012 Concert Artists Guild Competition, the Grand Prize in the 2011 Coleman Chamber Music Competition, first prize in the 2011 Arriaga Competition, and a bronze medal in the 2010 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. He has appeared with chamber ensembles at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. As a founding member of the Israeli Chamber Project, Zorman has toured Israel and North America for six seasons.

A recipient of scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and Ilona Feher Foundation, Zorman has participated in numerous master classes around the world, working with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zuckerman, Shlomo Mintz, Ida Handel and Ivry Gitlis. He began his violin studies at the age of six at the Israeli Conservatory of Music in Tel-Aviv, and later studied at the Jerusalem Academy and Manhattan School of Music. Zorman has a Master’s degree and Artist Diploma from Juilliard, where he studied with Sylvia Rosenberg, and recently graduated from the Kronberg Academy where he studied with Christian Tetzlaff.

Zorman was one of three protagonists featured in the documentary film Violinissimo, which followed the lives of three promising young violinists and was released by Detail Films throughout Germany in 2012.

Itamar Zorman plays on a Pietro Guarneri violin from 1745 from the private collection of Yehuda Zisapel. He divides his time between Kronberg, Germany and New York, NY.