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by Daniel Hathaway

CityMusic-Schubert-RehearsalCityMusic Cleveland will present four programs during 2014-2015 in multiple venues around metropolitan Cleveland, three of them conducted by the chamber orchestra’s artistic director and composer Avner Dorman, one by CWRU’s Peter Bennett.

Dorman will be featured as a composer in concerts from October 15 through October 19, when his Saxophone Concerto will be played by Timothy McAllister in performances in Lakewood, Cleveland, Willoughby Hills and University Heights, along with Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 (“Haffner”) and Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 (“Farewell”).

The late Argentine composer Ariel Ramírez’s Misa Criolla (1964) will be at the center of the second series of concerts. Incorporating South American folk instruments, the piece will be sung by the choir of Sagrada Familia Church on Cleveland’s west side in performances in Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Willoughby Hills and Lakewood from December 3-7 conducted by Peter Bennett. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway


Quire Cleveland joined CityMusic Cleveland for a brisk, expressive performance of a gorgeous late Schubert work led by CityMusic music director Avner Dorman at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights on Wednesday, May 14. This was the opening concert of five that the two ensembles will present around the metropolitan area this week. (Rehearsal pictured above.)

Schubert’s Mass No. 6 in E-flat, written during the last month’s of the composer’s life, rarely gets heard these days. That’s a great pity. Though ill, Schubert found alluring and often surprising ways to set ancient liturgical texts, and applied his recent lessons in counterpoint to some of the most inventive fugues since J.S. Bach’s. The E-flat mass offers a long sequence of gorgeous melodies, innovative textures, arresting harmonies and enthralling conversations between chorus and orchestra. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

DORMAN-Avner2“I always knew that Bach was my favorite composer,” said CityMusic artistic director Avner Dorman, “but these days I think it’s Schubert. That’s how much I like this piece!”

The work Dorman was referring to in a recent telephone conversation is Franz Schubert’s Mass in E-flat, written in 1828, the last summer of the composer’s life, on commission from the choirmaster of the Alserkirche in Alsergrund, a suburb just north of Vienna’s Innere Stadt. That church was the venue for Beethoven’s funeral the year before (Schubert served as a torch-bearer).

Alas, the composer didn’t live long enough to hear the last of his six masses performed; its premiere ultimately took place in October of 1829 under the direction of his brother, Ferdinand. This week, Avner Dorman will lead CityMusic and Quire Cleveland in five performances of the E-flat Mass around the metropolitan area, beginning on Wednesday, May 14. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

DORMAN-Avner2CityMusic Cleveland celebrated the beginning of its tenth season with the debut of its new music director, Avner Dorman, on Wednesday evening, October 23 at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights. Dorman skillfully led the 40-piece chamber orchestra in nuanced and nearly flawless performances of his own Concerto Grosso, Vivaldi’s Concerto for two oboes and two clarinets, Schubert’s Symphony No. 3, and the first of five different Mozart concertos with guest violinist Rachel Barton Pine.

Dorman noted both in written and oral notes that he intended to show off the talents of members of the orchestra as much as possible in his first concert, and that principally meant the ensemble’s wind section, whose excellence runs both deep and wide. The Vivaldi concerto boasted pairs of soloists — oboists Rebecca Schweigert Mayhew and Daniel Rios and clarinetists Daniel Gilbert and Ellen Breakfield Glick — who matched each other’s elegant tone perfectly, yet each pair provided cheerful sonic contrasts as oboes tossed phrases off to clarinets. As always, Vivaldi was infinitely resourceful within his time-honored formulas, and he snuck in a strangely arresting rhythmic pattern at the beginning of the last Allegro. Harpsichordist Peter Bennett added stylish decorations to the keyboard accompaniment. Read the rest of this entry »

DORMAN-AvnerCity Music Cleveland kicks off its 10th anniversary on Wednesday October 23rd at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights with the first of five concerts at locations in and around Cleveland featuring the music of Dorman, Vivaldi and Schubert. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine returns to the City Music stage to perform a different Mozart concerto at each of the five performances.

The concerts also mark the debut of conductor/composer Avner Dorman as City Music’s new music director. Mike Telin had the opportunity to speak to Avner Dorman when he was in the area for a performance of his cello concerto with the Youngstown Symphony. He asked Aver Dorman about this week’s concerts and what it takes to juggle an active career as a composer and conductor.

Podcast produced by Erica Brenner. Musical excerpts: Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3, from CityMusic Cleveland’s performance on December 10, 2011; Schubert’s Symphony No. 3, from CityMusic Cleveland’s performance on October 14, 2006, both used with permission from CityMusic Cleveland. Dorman’s Concerto Grosso, from Avner Dorman’s CD: Concertos for Mandolin, Piccolo, Piano and Concerto Grosso.

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by Mike Telin

SEGEV-InbalWhat captivates me about Avner Dorman’s cello concerto is that it is so different than anything I have done before,” cellist Inbal Segev enthusiastically remarks over the telephone. “It is definitely on steroids. The first movement really hits you. The last time I played it, people jumped because they were not expecting a classical piece to sound like that. But it does grip you right away.”

On Saturday, September 21 at 8 PM in Youngstown’s DeYor Performing Arts Center, Inbal Segev will give the Ohio premier of Avner Dorman’s Cello Concerto with the Youngstown Symphony under the direction of Randall Craig Fleischer. The concert also includes Glinka’s Overture to Russian and Ludmilla and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.

Composer Avner Dorman is quickly establishing a presence in Northeast Ohio, having recently been named Music Director of CityMusic Cleveland. He describes his piece as “a concerto for a cello that forgot it was a cello,” and Segev quickly agrees that it is unlike anything that she has done before, adding that “Avner is a great guy and of course his music is great too!”

The story of how the concerto came to be is a real case of like minds being in the same place at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

DORMAN-AvnerCityMusic Cleveland has started a tradition of sponsoring a week’s worth of Intergenerational Concerts at the end of its season. This year’s cycle included four morning performances (opening with a limited access concert at the Juvenile Detention Center) and two evening concerts conducted by David Alan Miller. The morning events began with Rossini’s Thieving Magpie overture and continued with Avner Dorman’s Uzu and Muzu from Kakaruzu, based on the children’s book of the same name by Ephraim Sidon, featuring percussionists Haruka Fujii and Luke Rinderknecht. The two evening performances at the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus and St. Noel, Willoughby Hills added Schumann’s fourth symphony.

I caught the Thursday morning performance at Fairmount Temple Auditorium, which got off to a bit of a late start waiting for school buses to arrive. When everybody was in place, the audience was as intergenerational as one could expect at 10:00 am: students, their teachers and aides and a number of older attendees — people whose commitments and schedules allow them to come to a true “matinee.” Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

DORMAN-AvnerEach season CityMusic Cleveland presents a series of intergenerational concerts devoted to music and educational activities that address the social concerns that stem from bullying as well as creating opportunities for discussions about conflict resolution. In 2011 CityMusic presented Margaret Brouwer’s Daniel and the Snakeman, and in 2012 the children’s opera Brundibár highlighted the orchestra’s Persistence of Creativity Series.

Beginning on Tuesday, April 16th, and running through Saturday, April 20th (see our concert listings pages for locations and times) CityMusic will present Avner Dorman’s Uzu and Muzu from Kakaruzu under the direction of guest conductor David Alan Miller.The work features percussionists Luke Rinderknecht and Haruka Fuji. The concerts also include Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie Overture and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 (Schumann for evening performances only)

Israeli composer Avner Dorman has quickly risen to become one of the leading composers of his generation. His unique approach to rhythm and timbre has attracted some of the world’s most notable conductors, including Zubin Mehta, Christoph Eschenbach, Riccardo Chailly, David Robertson, Andris Nelsons, Marin Alsop, and Justin Brown. Read the rest of this entry »

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