Process behind Dorman’s eclecticism begins with a question

Posted on: April 11, 2011

“Avner Dorman’s music works its magic by melding far-flung influences and making them sound natural together,” writes Allan Kozinn in Sunday’s (4/10) New York Times. “But it may be that one reason Mr. Dorman’s music works so well is that he begins his compositional process, at least some of the time, by feeling puzzled about what the musicians who commission him want and why they want it from him. His first unspoken questions, he said in an interview during a recent visit to New York, go like this: ‘Really? Is that what you want? Have you heard my music? That’s not exactly what I do.’ Then he works out ways to meet the players’ expectations on his own terms. That process helped him transform the mandolinist Avi Avital’s request for a work for mandolin and harpsichord (‘That sounded too plucky to me,’ Mr. Dorman said) into a high-energy Mandolin Concerto that was nominated for a Grammy Award this year. And it led to ‘Niggunim,’ Hebrew plural for a particularly soulful type of melody, which will have its premiere in a recital by the violinist Gil Shaham and his sister, the pianist Orli Shaham, on Saturday evening at the 92nd Street Y.”

Dorman was profiled as part of an article about recent compositions for unusual instruments in the January-February 2010 issue of Symphony, available online here.

Posted April 11, 2011