Meet the Artist……Itamar Zorman, violinist

(Photo: Jamie Jung)
(Photo: Jamie Jung)

Who or what inspired you to take up the violin, and pursue a career in music? 

I have liked the sound of the violin as long as I can remember. Also, my parents are both musicians but neither play the violin, so by choosing this instrument they couldn’t tell me what to do…

Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?

My parents, who have both had a life in music and made me believe that it is possible to have a life in music; my teacher at Juilliard, Sylvia Rosenberg, who has been a great influence in shaping how I think of music; and pianist Joseph Seiger, who encouraged me to always find more colors in music.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far? 

Just playing the violin… I find it very challenging. Also I find that combining physical relaxation with musical tension while playing is a constant challenge.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?  

I really try to avoid listening to recordings of myself (except ones I make for myself in the practice room), so I don’t know… So far I’ve only released one commercial album, my debut CD Portrait, (released August 2014 in Europe and February 2015 in the US).

Which particular works do you think you perform best? 

There seems to be a gap between what I think I play well and what other people think… I think I play Brahms well, but others think Schubert fits me very well.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season? 

I’m always trying to find a balance between new works that I want to learn, keeping enough works that I already know in my repertoire so that I don’t overbook myself, and putting together what I think are interesting programs. Also, it is important for me to include new works in my programs, and lesser known works, especially from the 20th century, which I think deserve to be heard.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why? 

I absolutely love Suntory Hall in Tokyo and the Seoul Arts Center, because of their acoustics. I feel that these halls add new colors to my sound, which are not possible to find in a practice room. The auditorium at the Israeli Conservatory of Music is very special for me though, because I grew up in that institution, and so is the Israel Philharmonic Hall in Tel-Aviv, because as I child I dreamed of performing there.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to? 

There are some pieces that I just feel privileged to play. Ones that pop into my mind at this moment are Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Mozart’s 5th Concerto, Prokofiev’s 1st Concerto and Cesar Frank’s Sonata. I usually prefer not to listen to violin music, so I listen mostly to piano music and sometimes orchestral music. Late piano pieces by Brahms are a particular favorite.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Has to be composers – Schubert, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Ravel, Ligeti and many others…

What is your most memorable concert experience? 

Hearing Ravel’s Sonatine for the first time, at a student’s concert at the conservatory in Tel-Aviv. The beauty of this music brought tears to my eyes instantly.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians? 

Playing an instrument and making music is not easy, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t encounter hardships on the way. One has to work hard in order to improve, and I somehow find that understanding that the process isn’t supposed to be easy, and that everyone is going through difficulties, is quite comforting. Also, on stage always try to make music, no matter how nervous you are. The audience is there to enjoy and to feel, and if one plays in order not to miss a note, it doesn’t mean much to the listeners, and one tends to miss more, in my experience…

Born in Tel-Aviv in 1985 to a family of musicians, Itamar Zorman began his violin studies at the age of six with Saly Bockel at the Israeli Conservatory of Music in Tel-Aviv. He graduated in 2003 and continued his studies with Professor David Chen and Nava Milo. He received his Bachelor of Music from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance as a student of Hagai Shaham. He received his Master’s of Music from The Juilliard School in 2009, where he studied with Robert Mann and Sylvia Rosenberg, and received an Artist Diploma from Manhattan School of Music in 2010, and an Artist Diploma from Julliard in 2012, studying with Ms. Rosenberg. Itamar Zorman is currently a student of Christian Tetzlaff at The Kronberg Academy.