"Natasha Farny and Eliran Avni are two very skilled musicians who are creating something greater with this new partnership. They cast a perfect and dreamy spell... I was absolutely entranced by the sensitivity and poetry of the way they shaped the music -- lovely ideas, with the exacting technique to carry out these musical visions. Even our cynical engineers were touched by the music!"
— Mona Seghatoleslami, WXXI Radio
Photo By: Isabelle Wroblewski
Ekstasis: Ecstatic music-making
Music that lifts the spirit can be intensely joyful, profoundly moving, and unforgettable. Ekstasis is committed to creating juxtapositions and similarities through daring programming. We thrive on the contrast, intensity, and passion that we find in these compositions. We aim to share music that electrifies our audience and offers every possible emotion on the spectrum.
Natasha and Eliran met as students years ago at Juilliard. After some exciting performances in New York City and upstate NY, the two decided to embark on a new mission: to create compelling programming celebrating masterpieces alongside the secret jewels of lesser-known works.
With a focus on storytelling that pinpoints an aspect of the human condition or creates an atmosphere through sound, their concerts offer solo and chamber music works, and occasionally incorporate multimedia, readings, video, and visual art. In recent seasons, the duo promoted the music of minority composers with two programs called "Women's Voices" and “...From the Shadows.” These initiatives also included lectures, audio and video recordings.
Additionally, the duo is very excited to premiere a double concerto by renowned Israeli-American composer, Avner Dorman. Commissioned by a consortium that includes the Fredonia Foundation and the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, the duo began performances of this piece in the summer of 2022 at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and in fall of 2022 at the SUNY Fredonia School of Music.
The 2022-2023 season will also include a chance to workshop and perform music with composer Chen Yi, and performances of "...From the Shadows" with music by George Walker, Henriette Bosmans, Lili Boulanger, Alexander Zemlinsky, and Alma Mahler. The duo will appear at Chautauqua’s Lenna Hall, Buffalo’s Friends of Vienna series, Grand Valley State University in Michigan, and at Arts in the Village series in Rehoboth, MA. Previous concerts with “...From the Shadows” included engagements with Arizona’s Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Ohio’s Holland Theater, Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, and Maryland’s Resonance Chamber Music Series.
Since their debut in 2018, The Ekstasis Duo has appeared on distinguished series such as New York City’s Merkin Hall, Eastman's Morning Chamber Music Series, and Rochester’s "Live from Hochstein." During the summer of 2020, the duo recorded music for their debut CD, "Women's Voices," released in October 2022. This program inspired Ekstasis to give lectures online and in person both nationally and at an international conference in Lucca, Italy. A multimedia project involving live music and video occurred in 2021 as a result of winning Fredonia’s Kasling Award and a paper on women’s compositions for cello and piano was published in 2021 in the College Music Society Symposium. Postponed engagements due to COVID-19 include California’s L'Ermitage Foundation in Los Angeles and Tateuchi Hall at the Finn Center at Mountainview, New York’s Community School of Music and Arts, Bard College, The Eastman School of Music, and GetClassical Revelation Gallery.
Photos By: Isabelle Wroblewski
Praised as possessing both “ironclad technique” and “ample suppleness” by The New York Times, Eliran Avni is an emerging force in the contemporary classical music scene. Hailed as “The new hope of Israeli music” by Ma’ariv, he made his debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta at age 17. Since then, he has appeared as a soloist and chamber music collaborator throughout Europe, North and South America, as well as in his native Israel, and has played for live broadcasts for the Israeli and German broadcasting systems.
As a soloist, Eliran is known as a preeminent interpreter of the music of composer Avner Dorman. Solo performance highlights include Dorman’s Azerbaijani Dance with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta at Carnegie Hall, Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto with the Alabama Symphony, and the Grieg Concerto with the Oakland East Bay Symphony.
American cellist Natasha Farny has distinguished herself as a musician with significant versatility, sensitivity, and experience. An accomplished soloist, Ms. Farny has performed with orchestras such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, as well as several local orchestras throughout the Western New York region. She has taken solo and chamber music tours across Germany, the Czech Republic, and Brazil, and has played at many national venues like the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Chicago and Brooklyn’s Bargemusic “Here and Now” Series. Ms. Farny can be heard on recordings of chamber music with the Centaur label. She will release her solo CD of French cello music in 2019. A vibrant teacher, she has been invited to give master classes at various institutions, including Weimar’s Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Germany, the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Italy, and the Eastman School of Music.
Dorman's Double Concerto
Ekstasis Duo to Premiere
New Work in Summer 2022
Rare double concerto for cello and piano is one of the few works in this idiom
This one-of-a-kind new work by award-winning composer Avner Dorman written for the Ekstasis Duo received its world premiere in the summer of 2022, followed by the New York premiere on October 15, 2022. Made possible by a generous donation from Chris Granger and the Fredonia Foundation, and consortium member Sewanee Summer Music Festival, the double concerto for cello, piano, and orchestra is one of the few concertos specifically written for cello and piano.
The final notes of the Double Concerto for Cello, Piano, and Orchestra brought the audience to its feet. The solo and orchestral parts explored magical textures and unforgettable rhythms, listeners were struck by the ground-breaking genre that offered continued nuance and conversation between the two soloists, and afterwards, the melodies and harmonies in this four-movement work lit up continuously in the mind. As the soloists for this epic new work, we feel that Avner's writing demands the utmost from us in emotional expression, technical prowess, and interactive abilities. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write a concerto for the Ekstasis Duo,” Avner Dorman remarked. “It’s rare to hear such a high level of musicianship paired with technical prowess from two performers, and to write for both of them is a dream come true.”
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"The Ekstasis Duo presented a breathtaking performance of Avner Dorman's extraordinary new double concerto. Our patrons were mesmerized and our entire festival was elevated by the process and performance. This important new contribution to contemporary music will have a long life in the concert hall. Bravo!"
Executive and Artistic Director, Sewanee Summer Music Festival
"Duo Ekstasis together with Robert Moody and the Sewanee Symphony orchestra created a deeply inspiring premiere of my new concerto. They brought the piece to life with passion and musicality, great virtuosity, and unique personal touch. I could not have hoped for a better premiere."