A young Tchaikovsky comes home

The 2011 Tchaikovsky Prize winner, young Israeli violinist Itamar Zorman, will appear with the Tel Aviv Soloists ensemble under a baton of Barak Tal.

May 24, 2019 06:08
3 minute read.

ITAMAR ZORMAN . (photo credit: CHUNG CHIN)


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The 2011 Tchaikovsky Prize winner, young Israeli violinist Itamar Zorman, will appear with the Tel Aviv Soloists ensemble under a baton of Barak Tal. The concert program features Mendelssohn’s concerto for violin and orchestra, which never sounds overplayed, The Interrupted Lines – a concertino by Israeli composer Ayal Adler, as well as Serenade for Strings by Tchaikovsky.
In a phone interview from his home, the 34-year-old confides that he spends most of his time traveling from one concert venue to another.

“Georgia serves my base, since my wife teaches at the University of Georgia, which is not far from Atlanta,” he says, adding that his connection with his homeland is still very strong. His parents are pianist and educator Astrit Balzan and composer Moshe Zorman.

“I have played with all or almost all Israeli orchestras and I appear with the Israeli Chamber Project every year,” he says. “I will join the latter ensemble just in two weeks after performing with the Tel Aviv Soloists and will play, among other pieces, my father’s sonata for violin and a piano.”

Zorman says that the release of Evocation – an album of pieces by the late Israeli composer Paul Ben-Haim on BIS label – is arguably the most important thing that happened in his recent music life.

“Since I just like his music, I read the biography of Ben-Haim, written by Yoav Hirshberg, and there I came across the piece of which I had never heard before – ‘Yizkor’ (Evocation),” Zorman says. “With the help of my well-connected mother, I’ve got the recording of this piece, which was made decades ago, and I loved it. It had never been recorded commercially and I thought that doing so would be just a right thing, because this 20-minutes-long piece fully deserves it.”

The violinist explains that Paul Ben-Haim (born Paul Frankenburger), before his immigration to Mandatory Palestine in 1933 in response to the Nazis’ rise to power, had been fully immersed in the German tradition, and his compositions followed in the footsteps of the great German post-Romantics. “In its style, ‘Yizkor’ is closer to his pieces of German period,” Zorman says. “Other pieces, which I included in the album, such as his concerto for violin and orchestra, ‘Berceuse Sfaradite,’ as well as ‘Three Songs without Words,’ show how the music of the region gradually became an integral part of Ben-Haim’s compositions.”

Zorman has nothing but compliments for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under baton of Spanish maestro Philipp Bach, with which he worked on the new album.

“The orchestra and the conductor made a great job, they liked the music and played with a lot of energy and with the right understanding of the style, which made me really happy – after all, they are not Israelis,” he says.

Zorman admits that he is satisfied with the album: “This recording represents my current understanding of his music.”
On his tours, Zorman performs mostly pieces of standard violin repertory, but not only.

“What can we do, concerti by Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky are still in high demand, but there are so many wonderful pieces written for this instrument and I always try to variegate my programs,” he says. “For example, in Israel I performed the Four Seasons Round the Globe program, which featured less than familiar pieces by Rodrigo and Eugene Isai, among others. And I also play music written here and now.”

Zorman calls “Lines Interrupted” by Ayal Adler, which he is about to perform in Tel Aviv, “beautiful, demanding and hard to describe. The title suits this 10-minute-long piece to perfection – the music lines, those of the soloists and the orchestra are interweaving and interrupting. I fail to describe this music more precisely and I have a feeling that it comes from the subconscious. But it is beautiful and I hope the audience will enjoy it.”

The concert takes place on May 26 at the Israel Conservatory in Tel Aviv at 8:30 p.m.
The program features pieces by Mendelssohn, Adler and Tchaikovsky.
For reservations: 03-546-6228 or www.soloists.co.il

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