Avner Dorman’s “Concerto Grosso” will be performed at Handel, Bach and Respighi, part of the Symphony’s Crowe Horwath Rising Stars Series, Feb. 28 and March 1 at St. Cecilia Music Center.
Who is Avner Dorman? What’s your personal mission statement?
My goal is to always write good music, music that moves you when you first listen to it, and is still interesting the 10th time you hear it.
When did you start composing, what led you to that?
I wrote my first piece when I was nine years old. My older brother and I recorded some songs that he mostly wrote (he was 13!) - and I wrote a piece for piano, cello, and a bunch of walkie-talkie noises, oh - and me singing on top, but without words. Years later I found a recording of it, and it was in 5/4 and quite experimental.
How many pieces have you composed?
I have 61 published pieces.
Who are your greatest musical influences?
There are too many to list ... but Bach, Bartok, and John McLaughlin must be there...
How do you begin composing a new work?
I try to find a reason to write the piece - one beyond the practical reason of "someone called and commissioned the piece" - it's really important for me to know why I am writing a piece.
What was the inspiration for the piece that will be performed by the GRS (Concerto Grosso)?
Concerto Grosso is a neo-baroque piece - meaning that it looks at baroque music through contemporary ears. My 'twist' for this piece is that I consciously avoided the music of J.S. Bach - and focused on other composers from the era, mainly Handel and Vivaldi.
What can listeners expect to hear/experience in this piece?
Listeners will definitely recognize the Baroque elements (especially the Vivaldi gestures) - but through a different point of reference. In the end, I think this piece is nostalgic - somewhat longing for a simpler, more naive times.
What is your next step for your future?
I am currently finishing a large choir piece commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg titled "Letters from Gettysburg" that will be premiered on April 13 in Gettysburg and the world premiere of my Cello Concerto is coming up a week before my visit to Grand Rapids.