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Speaking over the phone from his Los Angeles home, 32-year-old Israeli composer Avner Dorman is happy to discuss the reception his work receives around the world. "I feel that people here are interested in what I do," he says.
This Friday, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday, the Haifa Symphony performs Dorman's piano concerto with Eliran Avni as soloist. "This is one of my early pieces that survived," says the composer with a burst of laughter. "I wrote it when I was 19. It's written in a neoclassical style with influences from J.S. Bach and Vivaldi, but also from Israeli music. If you look in depth, you can see that this is not 100% European music; there are Eastern rhythms, too. It has not been performed for a long time."
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While Dorman's early concerto is played in Haifa, the composer himself will be in Chicago, where his String Quartet No.2 will be performed by the Chicago Chamber Musicians. Other upcoming concerts feature his Mandolin Concerto performed by Avi Avital and the Metropolis Ensemble; Piano Sonata No. 2 performed by Alon Goldstein at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival; Spices, Perfumes, Toxins!, which receives its European premiere by PercaDu and the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra, led by Maestro Zubin Mehta; and a new Multi-Percussion Concerto for virtuoso Martin Grubinger, premiering at the Hamburg Philharmoniker.
Dorman, who received his undergraduate degree in Israel and continued his studies at the Julliard School of Music five years ago, sees himself as a lucky man: "Unlike many young people who try to leave Israel at age 18 to study abroad, I was clever enough to learn at home. The level at the Music Academy in Israel is still very high, and the theoretical education is excellent. There are many teachers from Russia who know things which are already forgotten in America. Also, it's better to learn in a smaller and more quiet place, where one can concentrate on the studies and easily contact other musicians."
A few weeks ago, Dorman moved out west from New York. "I want to be closer to the world of the movies; I write for cinema, too," he explains. "The other reason is that my wife has received a job offer here. She is a lawyer - not an easy thing, but far more sure than composing!" he laughs.