Full Biography

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AVNER DORMAN

COMPOSER / CONDUCTOR

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 works utilize an exciting and complex rhythmic vocabulary, as well as unique timbres and colors in orchestral, chamber, and solo settings. The world's finest orchestras, conductors, and soloists regularly perform Dorman's music, and many of his compositions have become contemporary staples in the repertoire. Dorman's music is championed by conductors including Zubin Mehta, Ricardo Chailly, and Andris Nelsons, and by soloists Gil Shaham, Martin Grubinger, and Hilary Hahn.  

Dorman won the 2018 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music, a $50,000 CAD award given biennially through a competitive process to a composer who has written the best new major work of Jewish Music. 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.

The 19-20 season features several exciting premieres, including Double Concerto, receiving its US premiere by the Boston Symphony orchestra at Tanglewood with soloists Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth; Eternal Rhythm, receiving its US premiere with the Chicago Symphony orchestra and its second performance at the Enescu Festival with soloist Simone Rubino. Also, Sayaka Shoji premiered violin concerto no. 3, Still, with CityMusic Cleveland, as Dorman conducted.

The 18-19 season included several premieres, including Nigunim for violin and orchestra, premiering with Lara St. John and the McGill Chamber Orchestra at the Azrieli Prize gala; a new double concerto for Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth, premiering with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (co-commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra); and Eternal Rhythm, a new percussion concerto written for Simone Rubino and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester (co-commissioned by the Enescu Festival).

Premieres from the 17-18 season included: Nigunim, concerto no. 2 for violin and orchestra, premiered by Lara St. John and the McGill Chamber Orchestra; Still, concerto no.3 for violin orchestra, premiered by Sayaka Shoji and Citymusic Cleveland; Now, the second installment of the Star Cross’d project forHouston Grand Opera as well as premieres by the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Adelaide Symphony.

In 2018-2019, Dorman completed his sixth year as music director of CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, which included five performances of Brahms’ Double Concerto, featuring violinist Tessa Lark and cellist Edward Arron. The program also included Brahms Second Symphony. Later in the season Dorman led CityMusic Cleveland in the premiere of his third violin concerto, featuring Sayaka Shoji, along with Takemitsu’s Waltz from The Face of Another, and the Poulenc Sinfonietta. This season Dorman is scheduled to conduct his own music at the “Mihail Jora” Philharmonic Orchestra from Bacau as part of the Enescu Festival in Bucarest.  


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. 

— March 2019