"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
We wanted an easy-to-spell, easy-to-pronounce name, and we ended up with ... EKSTASIS
The term suggests an experience that lifts the spirit in an intensely joyful, profoundly moving, and unforgettable way. We believe that there is a treasure trove of unknown works that a listener would be excited to discover with us.
Natasha (cello) and Eliran (piano) met as students years ago at Juilliard. Later, as colleagues at SUNY Fredonia, they decided to perform concerts of masterpieces alongside recently-discovered jewels.
Since their debut in 2018, The Ekstasis Duo has appeared on distinguished series such as New York City’s Merkin Hall, Arizona’s Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Ohio’s Holland Theater, and the Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs.
The duo's previous programs include German and French repertoire. More recently, they have promoted the music of minority composers with two programs titled "Women's Voices" and “...From the Shadows.” These initiatives also included lectures, audio and video recordings.
The 2022-2023 season comprises collaborations with living composers; Avner Dorman on the premiere of his double concerto, and Chen Yi's chamber music, during her Sorel Guest Artist Residency. The duo appears 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.
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.
Acclaimed as a "terrific cello soloist" and as having a "big, generous tone," American cellist Natasha Farny performs frequently as a soloist and chamber musician. Her debut CD of French music for cello and piano was released on the Centaur label in 2020, followed by Ekstasis's first album in 2022. An accomplished soloist, Ms. Farny has performed with orchestras such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra and 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. 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 Premieres
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."