Music by Avi Avital and Omer Klein
Bach Partita for Violin (Mandolin) solo no. 2 d minor BWV 1004 with Jazz Improvisations by Omer Klein
The first mandolin soloist to be nominated for a classical Grammy, Avi Avital has been compared to Andres Segovia for his championship of his instrument and to Jascha Heifitz for his incredible virtuosity. Passionate and “explosively charismatic” (New York Times) in live performance, he is a driving force behind the reinvigoration of the mandolin repertory. Avital’s wide-ranging repertoire and inventiveness ...
The first mandolin soloist to be nominated for a classical Grammy, Avi Avital has been compared to Andres Segovia for his championship of his instrument and to Jascha Heifitz for his incredible virtuosity. Passionate and “explosively charismatic” (New York Times) in live performance, he is a driving force behind the reinvigoration of the mandolin repertory.
Avital’s wide-ranging repertoire and inventiveness have led to collaborations with musicians including Ksenija Sidorova, Giovanni Sollima, Mahan Esfahani, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Alice Sara Ott, Andreas Scholl, Dover Quartet, New Danish Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Omer Klein (jazz piano), Omer Avital (oud/bassist), actress Martina Gedeck and Georgian puppet theatre, Budrugana Gagra. He has been showcased as a “Portrait Artist” with residencies at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, BOZAR in Brussels and the Dortmund Konzerthaus (Zeitinsel) and is a regular presence at major festivals such as Aspen, Salzburg, Tanglewood, Spoleto, Ravenna, MISA Shanghai, Cheltenham, Verbier and Tsinandali.
Avital has commissioned over 100 new works for the mandolin adding new concertos to the repertoire by Anna Clyne, Avner Dorman and Giovanni Sollima and chamber pieces by David Bruce and Elena Kats-Chernin amongst others. Later this season he will give the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Mandolin Concerto with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Krzysztof Urbanski.
An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, his sixth album for the label “The Art of the Mandolin” is released this season and follows recordings of solo Bach (2019), Avital meets Avital (2017) with oud/bassist Omer Avital, Vivaldi (2015), an album of Avital’s own transcriptions of Bach concertos and Between Worlds (2014), a cross-generic chamber collection exploring the nexus between classical and traditional music. He has also recorded for Naxos and SONY Classical.
Avital is highly in demand also as a concerto soloist and has performed with orchestras all over the world working with conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, Osmo Vänskä, Yutaka Sado, Jonathan Cohen, Nicholas McGegan, Omer Meir Wellber, Ton Koopman and Giovanni Antonini. Engagements include the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Orchestre National de Lyon, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Israel Philharmonic, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Residentie Orkest and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. He tours 2-3 times each season in the USA working with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Les Violons du Roy, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and The Knights.
Born in Be’er Sheva in southern Israel, Avital began learning the mandolin at the age of eight and soon joined the flourishing mandolin youth orchestra founded and directed by his charismatic teacher, Russian-born violinist Simcha Nathanson. He studied at the Jerusalem Music Academy and the Conservatorio Cesare Pollini in Padua with Ugo Orlandi. Winner of Israel’s prestigious Aviv Competition in 2007, Avital is the first mandolinist in the history of the competition to be so honoured. He plays on a mandolin made by Israeli luthier Arik Kerman.
Pianist and Composer Omer Klein’s music is “borderless” (New York Times) in its organic assimilation of widely diverse sources of inspiration, as he continuously “pushes mainstream Jazz concepts into the future” (Time Out New York). A prolific performer and composer, Klein has released 8 albums as a soloist, and published over 100 original compositions. An exclusive Warner Music artist, Klein ...
Pianist and Composer Omer Klein’s music is “borderless” (New York Times) in its organic assimilation of widely diverse sources of inspiration, as he continuously “pushes mainstream Jazz concepts into the future” (Time Out New York). A prolific performer and composer, Klein has released 8 albums as a soloist, and published over 100 original compositions.
An exclusive Warner Music artist, Klein has made two recordings for the label so far. Sleepwalkers (2017) is a trio exploration of themes related to society in the information age, for which the Omer Klein Trio has won the 2018 ECHO award. This was followed by Radio Mediteran (2019), adding analog synthesizers and percussion to the classic trio format, thus creating “a very contemporary, forward-looking album full of subtle grooves and strong melodies” (Hamburger Abendblatt).
Klein’s concert appearances have been widely praised. He has performed as soloist and band leader at the Elbphilharmonie, North Sea Jazz Festival, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Nice Jazz Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Bremen Musikfest, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Swing Hall Tokyo, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and many more.
Upcoming highlights in 2021 include Klein’s Berliner Philharmonie and Wiener Konzerthaus debuts, and the premiere of a new composition for theater and dance at Schauspiel Frankfurt.
With bassist Haggai Cohen Milo and drummer Amir Bresler, Klein formed the Omer Klein Trio in 2013. The trio performs Klein’s compositions and tours extensively. Their debut recording, Fearless Friday (2015) is considered “one of the most rewarding piano trio releases of recent years” (All About Jazz).
Klein’s collaboration with Mandolin star Avi Avital has been celebrated as a creative meeting of the minds. This includes Klein improvising new movements for pieces by J.S.Bach performed by Avital. Other collaborations include Klein’s project with the NDR Big Band, premiered in 2019, and an upcoming duo project with classical percussionist Alexej Gerassimez, following their 2017 residency at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
“One of the most fascinating artists that have emerged from this country in the last decade” (City Mouse Tel Aviv), Omer Klein’s roots in Israeli music are heard loud and clear. He composed songs or performed with iconic singers like Arik Einstein, Gidi Gov, Yehudit Ravitz and Rona Kenan. He is a regular presence at the Red Sea Jazz Festival and the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival and is “broadening the country’s musical horizons.” (Haaretz).
In addition to the aforementioned ECHO, Klein has won the 2015 Förderpreis des Landes NRW, the 2013 Förderpreis für Musik der Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf, and was nominated for an ECHO in the category Best Pianist for Fearless Friday.
Omer Klein was born in Israel in 1982 and grew up in Netanya. He is the son of Israeli-born parents, and the grandchild of immigrants from Tunisia, Libya and Hungary. Klein began playing keyboard instruments at 5, turning his focus to the piano at 13, while composing and improvising from a young age. He studied at the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts in Givatayim, before moving to the US as the recipient of a scholarship from the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he studied Jazz Piano with Danilo Perez and Ran Blake, and Classical Piano with Alexander Korsantia. In 2005 Klein moved to New York, where he continued his studies privately under Fred Hersch. Since 2009 he is based in Germany. He currently resides in Frankfurt with his girlfriend, the actress Viola Pobitschka, and their three children.