Since its inception (1974), the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition has commissioned works by Israeli composers which have premiered in the Competitions.
The works commissioned for the 15th Competition are by Israeli composers, Avner Dorman, who has composed the piece “Sonata No. 5” and Betty Olivero who has composed the piece “On Water, Wind and Bells”.
Competitors are obliged to play one of the two pieces, either in the First or in the Second Stage of the Competition.
Born in Israel, Avner Dorman studied composition with Joseph Bardanashvili and with John Corligliano. He holds a doctorate in composition from the Juilliard School, New York. At age 25,
he was the youngest composer to win Israel’s prestigious Prime Minister’s Award. The first orchestral performance of his work was by the
Haifa Symphony Orchestra in 1994.
Dorman received the ACUM prize for “Millennium Symphony” and “Variations without a Theme”, the Ministry of Culture Prize for best performance of Israeli music, first prize at the Asian Composers League and three times the Morton Gould Award (USA).
Avner Dorman writes music of intricate craftsmanship and rigorous technique, expressed with a soulful and singular voice. He has received commissions from the New York Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Bavarian State Orchestra, Birmingham Symphony, Hamburg Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony; and in Israel, from the Israel Philharmonic, the Camerata Jerusalem, Israel Symphony, Israel Chamber and Haifa Symphony. His compositions have also been performed at Verbier, Cabrillo, Tanglewood and the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival.
In May 2006 a disc dedicated to Avner Dorman’s piano works was released by “Naxos”.
She learned piano and composition at the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University and went on to the Yale School of Music. The Leonard Bernstein Scholarship enabled her to study with Luciano Berio at the Berkshire Music Center, Tanglewood 1982, and then in Italy.
A considerable part of Olivero’s music alludes to Jewish musical tradition, based on popular Sephardi and Middle Eastern liturgy and melodies. Her works have been performed by leading orchestras and ensembles, including the Israel Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, New Juilliard Ensemble, Amsterdam Sinfonietta and the Arditti Quartet; and at international festivals in the USA and Europe as well as the Israel Festival.
Betty Olivero is a founding member of the “The Centro Studi Luciano Berio” in Italy, along with Pierre Boulez, Maurizio Pollini and others. She has been guest lecturer at universities and higher education music schools in the USA.
Betty Olivero is Professor of Music at Bar-Ilan University.
Piano Sonata No. 5
While growing up in Israel I learned to play the piano, and soon became enamored of the instrument and its repertoire. I enthusiastically attended the Rubinstein Competition several times, and was inspired by the virtuoso playing and the extensive range
of works I heard.
This piece, my fifth piano sonata, celebrates the high level of performance that competitors display and gives them the opportunity to showcase different aspects of their playing.
The sonata explores the hues of the modern piano which don’t always feature in conventional repertoire, while including techniques particular to the piano, which are neither routine nor banal.
The sonata has two movements, sharing the same key, each exploring different elements of the piano’s potential.
The opening movement, a fantasy, is a bit like an improvisation,
with changes in rhythm, color, and shape.
The second is a joyful showcase of elated, boundless energy.
Many rhythms are inspired by West African music, and the colors
of harmony and melody draw on other cultures. While written in traditional sonata form, this short virtuoso piece also allows pianists to express their own modern, global insights.
On Water, Wind and Bells
Echoes of familiar piano works by Schubert, Chopin, Debussy, Berio and Kurtag soar and float in turn upon the water, swallowed by a thrashing sea and bells pealing as the wind plays on them. These scenes at first seem chaotic, random, unintelligible, but if we let their melody sweep over us, we shall discover in their murmur the poetry which nestles in our hearts.