Until now, all of the “audio blogs” that I’ve posted have been either about CDs by established artists and ensembles, or interviews with established musicians on their latest recording. In this case, it’s a review of a new CD, and an introduction of a bright new talent on the classical music scene: Itamar Zorman. Born in Tel-Aviv in 1985, Itamar knew from before he was a teenager that he wanted to be a concert violinist. That was in spite of a brief divergence in sports as a 14 year old: Itamar knew that his future lay not on the basketball court, but on the concert stage. Now 28, and holding a master’s degree and Artist Diploma from Juilliard, Mr. Zorman has since won several prestigious prizes. First was the 2011 Tchaikovsky competition, followed in 2013 as winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Borletti-Buitoni, and most recently the Warner Music Prize. These accomplishments helped pave the way to this debut disc which is the “portrait” of this artist’s wide-ranging interests and of his talent and performing style. I was delighted to discover a “Northwest” connection, as Mr. Zorman, in 2011, performed the Alban Berg concerto with the late maestro, James DePreist.
Joined by pianist Kwan Yi, whom Zorman met while at Juilliard, Itamar has assemble a program of pieces that dives into the deep end of the musical pool with the Theme and Variations by Olivier Messiaen, which I found appealing to listen to, and which Itamar says is quite challenging to the violinist and pianist. There’s the dramatic and tuneful Rondo in b minor by Schubert; Chausson’s Poeme, which has a story behind it which Itamar shares that I was unaware of; Hindemith’s Sonata for solo violin is the sort of work that really exposes the soloist’s technique, and which Mr. Zorman handles deftly and with great expression; and rounding out is the final violin sonata by Brahms, a surprisingly dark and angst-filled work, considering it’s one of those he wrote on the sunny shores of an Austrian lake in summertime. Give a listen to my conversation with Itamar Zorman; I think you’ll agree that this is a young violinist who’s on the right path.