Itamar Zorman, violin

Photo Credit: Jamie Jung

Photo Credit: Jamie Jung

Recently awarded the 2014 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and the 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, violinist Itamar Zorman is also the winner of the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, where he subsequently performed in the winners' concerts with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Other competition successes include the first prize and special prize for a performance of a Mozart Concerto at the 2010 International Violin Competition of Freiburg and the Juilliard Berg Concerto Competition in April 2011, which led to his Avery Fisher Hall debut with the Juilliard Orchestra led by the late James DePreist. Itamar Zorman has performed as a soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, Het Gelders Orkest in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Tokyo Symphony in Suntory Hall, Utah Symphony, Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, and Orquesta Filharmonica de Cali, amongst others. 

Highlights last season included summer engagements at the Marlboro Music Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, his debut at the Verbier Festival (broadcast live on Switzerland’s main classical music radio station) and an East Coast tour with the ‘Musicians from Marlboro’. Itamar Zorman undertook a nine-concert, two-city tour of Israel with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and David Robertson; performed with the Tokyo Symphony in Japan’s Suntory Hall; and gave concerts with the Philharmonie Baden Baden, Russian State Symphony Orchestra “Novaya Rossiya”, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of South Bay, Haifa Symphony, Waterbury Symphony and the Fundación Sinfonia in Santo Domingo.  

In October 2013, Zorman gave recitals in the Laeiszhalle Hamburg and the HR-Sendesaal Frankfurt and took part in the Kronberg Academy Festival, which included a concert with the Moscow Soloists and Yuri Bashmet. In 2014 he will undertake another tour with ‘Musicians from Marlboro’ and make his debut on the Louvre recital series in Paris.In November 2014 he will appear at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo playing the Beethoven concerto with Daniel Oren. In the spring of 2014 his first CD recording will be issued by Profil-Editions Günther Hänssler featuring works by Messiaen, Schubert, Chausson, Hindemith and Brahms.

As a chamber musician, Itamar Zorman has appeared at the Lincoln Center, the Zankel and Weill Recital Halls in Carnegie Hall, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. A founding member of the Israeli Chamber Project, Zorman has toured Israel and North America for the past five seasons. He is also a member of the Lysander Piano Trio, with which he won the 2012 Concert Artists Guild Competition, the Grand Prize in the 2011 Coleman Chamber Music Competition, 1st prize in the 2011 Arriaga Competition, and a bronze medal in the 2010 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.  In July 2010, Mr. Zorman played in a series of recitals broadcast on Radio France for the Radio France Festival in Montpellier. He was one of three protagonists featured in the documentary film “Violinissimo”, which followed the lives of three promising young violinists, and was released by Detail Films throughout Germany in 2012. 

A recipient of scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Itamar Zorman has participated in numerous master classes around the world, working with Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zuckerman, Shlomo Mintz, Ida Handel and Ivry Gitlis, to name a few. He has also participated in festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival and School, the NAC Young Artist Program in Ottawa (Canada), Keshet Eilon (Israel), Voice of Music (Israel), Masters de Belesbat (France), The Heifetz International Music Institute (New Hampshire), and ISA Prague-Vienna-Budapest (Austria).   

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.

Itamar Zorman plays on a Pietro Guarneri violin from 1745 from the private collection of Yehuda Zisapel. 

Liza Stepanova, piano

Photo Credit: Jamie Jung

Photo Credit: Jamie Jung

Praised by The New York Times for her “thoughtful musicality” and “fleet-fingered panache,” pianist Liza Stepanova is in demand as a soloist, collaborator, and educator. She has performed extensively in Europe, most recently as a soloist with the Southwest German Philharmonic and in chamber music performances at the Berlin Museum of Musical Instruments and Belgrade’s Kolarac Hall. In the United States, she has appeared in Carnegie Hall’s Weill and Zankel recital halls, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and Steinway Hall in New York City; at the Kennedy Center and The Smithsonian in Washington, DC, with performances aired by WQXR New York, WFMT Chicago, and WETA Washington.

The 2016-2017 season will see the release of Stepanova’s first solo piano CD, recorded in New York City with Grammy Award-winning producer Adam Abeshouse. The recording features music from Bach to Ligeti that was inspired by visual art. Other season highlights include an Artist Residency at the Yellow Barn center in Vermont, chamber music with New York Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall, and recitals with the Lysander Trio at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, and on tour in Israel.

Stepanova has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at international festivals at Castleton, La Jolla, Music@Menlo, Mostly Mozart, Copenhagen (Denmark), and Davos (Switzerland), where she had opportunities to collaborate with leading artists including violinist Cho-Liang Lin, violist James Dunham, clarinetist Charles Neidich, soprano Lucy Shelton and mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer. Deeply committed to new music, she has premiered works by Jennifer Higdon and Libby Larsen and worked with composers William Bolcom, Gabriela Lena Frank, and John Harbison.

Liza Stepanova studied art song collaboration with Wolfram Rieger in Berlin and was invited by the late Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau to perform in several of his master classes including the Hugo-Wolf-Tage festival in Austria. Since 2010, Stepanova has been on the faculty at SongFest at The Colburn School in Los Angeles and also served as the festival’s Associate Artistic Director and Piano Program Director for two years.

Stepanova received her DMA from The Juilliard School with a Richard F. French Award for an outstanding dissertation. Previously a graduate of the Hanns Eisler Academy in Berlin, Germany, she studied with Joseph Kalichstein, Seymour Lipkin, Jerome Lowenthal, and George Sava, and performed in master classes for Alfred Brendel, Daniel Barenboim and András Schiff. Following teaching positions at The Juilliard School and Smith College, she is currently an assistant professor of piano at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia.

Michael Katz, cello

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Hailed by the press for his “bold, rich sound” (Strad Magazine) and “nuanced musicianship,” (New York Times) Israeli Cellist Michael Katz has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in venues such as Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center (Sarasota, FL), Oji Hall (Tokyo, Japan), Philips Hall (Eindhoven, Netherlands), Teatro Cervantes (Malaga, Spain), Lucerne KKL (Lucerne, Switzerland), and Henry Crown Auditorium (Jerusalem, Israel). He has performed at music festivals such as Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Yellow Barn, Lucerne, Sarasota, Malaga Clasica, Orford, and Kfar Bloom, and has collaborated with conductors such as James DePriest, David Stern, Dongmin Kim, and Menachem Nebenhaus.

His musicianship has been recognized with many awards, among them all three awards at the 2011 Aviv Competition, first prizes at the 2010 Juilliard School’s Concerto Competition, and the 2005 Turjeman Competition, as well as scholarship awards from the America Israel Cultural Foundation and the Ronen Foundation

High in demand as a chamber musician, Mr. Katz has collaborated and performed with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Donald Weilerstein, Anthony Marwood, Peter Frankl, Charles Neidich, Roger Tapping, Lucy Chapman, and Paul Biss. He has participated in chamber music programs such as the Steans Institue for Young Artists and the Perlman Music Program.

Deeply committed to community outreach and education, from 2014-2016 Mr. Katz was a Fellow in Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect (formerly known as ACJW). He was previously selected to be part of a special string quartet led by Midori to present formal and outreach concerts in Myanmar and Japan as part of the 2013-2014 International Community Engagement Program, and was invited to return to the program in 2016-2017 for concerts in Nepal and Japan.  As of 2015 Mr. Katz is on the faculty of Nyack College as an adjunct professor and has previously taught at the Csehy Summer School of Music and the Chamber Music Institute in Stamford, CT.     

Born in Tel-Aviv Israel, Mr. Katz began his cello studies at age 7. Among his teachers in Israel were Zvi Plesser, Hillel Zori and the late Mikhail Khomitzer. Mr. Katz received his Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory where he studied with Laurence Lesser, his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School where he studied with Joel Krosnick, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from SUNY Stony Brook as a student of Colin Carr.