Violinist Itamar Zorman turned an idea into an odyssey


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Itamar Zorman — Violin Odyssey (First Hand)

New Classical Tracks - Itamar Zorman

Like many musicians during the pandemic, Israeli violinist Itamar Zorman found creative ways to continue performing. He and his wife, pianist Liza Stepanova, created a live-streamed video series, Hidden Gems. It was that video series that inspired Zorman’s latest recording, Violin Odyssey.

Why are you calling this project Violin Odyssey?

“Somehow the geographical scope of this music merged with time. I realized that I was featuring quite a few continents. Since this was a time where I could not travel, it was nice to do the traveling via music. I decided to go for something that evokes the journey.”

How did you select the pieces on this recording?

“These are all pieces that are personal favorites of mine by composers who deserve to be heard. Some have gotten more attention than others. For example, the composers of the first and last tracks of the CD are people who have rightly gained more attention. Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz is a virtuoso violinist and great pianist. One of her pieces start the album and she has become more popular during the last couple of years. The same can be said about William Grant Still. I am playing this wonderful piece, arranged from the original called Summerland.”

How does Wandering, a work composed by your father, Moshe Zorman, set the tone for the album?

Every journey starts from home. It was appropriate to do something by my father, especially something I had an influence on. He made the piece into a violin and piano duet because of me. He did that so I could play. He took the title from a collection of short stories by Hermann Hesse’s book Wanderings.”

Tell me about Erwin Schule’s Sonata for violin and piano.

“The score is very funny. It has illogical meters and smiley faces. It is incredibly fun to look at. He also has a piece called Sonata Erotica. He really went all over the place with his compositions. He wrote this second sonata and became really interested in jazz and folk music in his 20s.”

Tell me about Dora Pejačević.

Croatian composer Dora Pejačević is somewhat of a hero because of her music. She also volunteered as a nurse during World War I even though she was born to a noble family. She was really a part of her people. That is why she became a hero there.”

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


Itamar Zorman — Violin Odyssey (Amazon)

Itamar Zorman (official site)

348 episodes