Violin soloist captures the melodic Mozart

The spotlight was on Israeli-born violinist Itamar Zorman at the Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay's all-Mozart concert at the Norris Center for the Performing Arts in Rolling Hills Estates last Sunday night. 

The 27-year-old performer dazzled the audience with his elegant rendition of Mozart's majestic, lyrical and inventive Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major K 201. ("The Turkish" was composed in 1775, when Mozart was only 19 years old.)

The first allegro aperto movement starts broadly with a long orchestral introduction of the melodic theme before the soloist enters, and it was clear from the very first vibrant and pure high notes that Zorman mastered his rare 1745 Pietro Guarneri violin with sensitivity and finesse. Without any distracting antics, he merged with his instrument and played the entire concerto effortlessly from memory. He also showed great virtuosic skills, especially in the cadenzas with double stops and trills, his fingers chasing each other up and down the fingerboard like little puppets. Zorman, a graduate of Juilliard and first prize winner of the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia, played with remarkable assurance for someone so young, and the orchestra, under the direction of Frances Steiner, rose to the occasion and responded in kind. Especially memorable was the bold rondo tempo di menuetto movement, composed in a minor key to create a Middle-Eastern sound, hence the nickname "The Turkish," with
cellos and basses playing with the wood of the bows for a percussive effect.

The audience rewarded Zorman with a standing ovation, and he in turn offered up a spirited encore: the last allegro assai movement of J. S. Bach's Sonata for Solo Violin in C Major. "How we would all like to play Bach like that," first violin Rebecca Rutkowski, herself an accomplished performer, commented afterwards.

Daily Breeze, March 07, 2013