Full Biography

Avner Dorman writes music of intricate craftsmanship and rigorous technique, expressed with a soulful and singular voice. A native of Israel now living in the United States, Dorman draws on a variety of cultural and historical influences in composing, resulting in music that affects an emotional impact while exploring new territories. His music utilizes an exciting and complex rhythmic vocabulary, as well as unique timbres and colors in orchestral, chamber, and solo settings; many of his compositions have become contemporary staples in the repertoire. Dorman's music is championed by conductors including Zubin Mehta, Christoph Eschenbach, Ricardo Chailly, and Andris Nelsons, and by soloists such as Pinchas Zukerman, Gil Shaham, Martin Grubinger, and Hilary Hahn. During the 19-20 season the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra will present country premieres of Dorman’s music, and his new large-scale opera will premiere at Theater Dortmund. 

The 19-20 season begins with the US premiere of Dorman’s Double Concerto,with Pinchas Zukerman, Amanda Forsyth, and the Boston Symphony orchestra conducted by Asher Fisch. Later in the season, the piece receives its Canadian premiere with the National Arts Centre Orchestra conducted by Pietri Inkinen. In April 2020, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Nimrod David Pfeffer will present the Israeli Premiere of the Double Concerto.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, soloist Cynthia Yeh, and conductor James Gaffigan will present the US premiere of Dorman’s most recent percussion concerto, Eternal Rhythm in October. A few weeks prior, Dorman will conduct the Romanian premiere of the piece at the Enescu Festival in Bucarest with soloist Simone Rubino, for whom the concerto was written. 

Dorman’s newest opera, Die Kinder Des Sultans,features a libretto by Ingeborg von Zadow, and will receive its world premiere run in April and May 2020 at Theater Dortmund. A story about two children on an adventure to find their father in a faraway land, the opera is intended for audiences of all ages, and deals with issues of identity, diversity, family and love. Dorman's first opera, Wahnfried, which garnered intense media interest and was hailed as a "masterpiece" by Opernwelt, returned to Karlsruhe in the 2017-2018 season for a second run as part of the Badisches Staatsoper staging of Wagner's complete ring cycle. The work was named a finalist in the category of World Premiere at the 2018 International Opera Awards.

In 2018 Dorman won the Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music for his second violin concerto, Nigunim. As part of the award, the piece will be released commercially in September 2019, featuring soloist Lara St. John with the Orchestre Clasique de Montréal, conducted by Boris Brott. The concerto will concurrently receive its European premiere performances with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Steve Mercurio, and with Sinfonia Varsovia at Polin, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. 

Dorman’s recent recording of Letters from Gettysburgwas released in June 2019 to great acclaim. Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Allan Kozinn described the piece as a “wrenching score for choir, soprano and baritone soloists and percussion ensemble” and added that “Mr. Dorman’s colorful but disciplined, intensely focused style is suited to the subject matter, and he has produced a work that appeals to pacifist sensibilities by showing the devastation of war as human, personal and direct.” Amir Mandel of Haaretzwrote that “Dorman stretches the use of musical effects almost to the extreme, but achieves a work that is very beautiful to the ear and emotionally tight.” Susan Miron of Art Fusedescribed the piece as “an extraordinarily haunting five-movement work that elevates the experience of one man into a memorial to all victims of war.”

The 18-19 season featured several world premieres, including Nigunim for violin and orchestra, Double Concerto,Eternal RhythmStill (violin concerto no.3) premiered by Sayaka Shoji and CityMusic Cleveland conducted by the composerandNow, a short, video opera commissioned and premiered by Houston Grand Opera. Premieres from the 17-18 season included: Boundless, the first entry in Dorman’s innovative opera collaboration with Houston Grand Opera; a new suite, for Solo Violin, commissioned by the ARD competition in Munich; Four Marimbas, commissioned by Jianli Percussion; and Dancing with the Torah at Mount Meron, commissioned by ZOFO piano duo.  

Dorman's music has garnered numerous awards and prizes. At the age of 25, he became the youngest composer to win Israel's prestigious Prime Minister's Award for his Ellef Symphony. He has earned several international awards from ASCAP, ACUM, and the Asian Composers League. His music is available on Naxos, Deutsche Grammophone, Canary Classics, and other labels. He holds a doctorate in composition from the Juilliard School and serves as Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College.  

Avner Dorman's music is published exclusively by G. Schirmer, Inc. 

— July 2019