Hailed by the Los Angeles times for his “astonishing prowess,” cellist Coleman Itzkoff enjoys a diverse career as a soloist, chamber & orchestral musician, and educator.
Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Coleman was born into a musical family, his parents both professional violinists, and so began playing cello at the age of 5. Coleman’s first primary teacher was Eric Kim, who was then principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony, followed by Desmond Hoebig, who Coleman studied with for four years and an undergraduate student at Rice University. Currently Coleman is pursuing graduate degrees at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, under the tutelage of Ralph Kirshbaum.
Coleman most recently received the Gold Medal in the 2017 International Berliner Music Competition, and was a multiple prize winner at the 2016 Irving Klein Competition and the 2016 Boulder International Chamber Music Competition. He has also been prize winner at the Fischoff, Johansen, Blount Slawson, and Young Texas Artist Competitions. In January 2013, Coleman was invited for a weeklong artist residency with NPR’s Performance Today with host Fred Child, recording interviews and a full recital program. He has performed solo with numerous orchestras across the country, the most recent of which was his Walt Disney Concert Hall concerto debut.
Coleman enjoys playing in the orchestra as well, and is currently the principal cellist of the American Youth Symphony and the USC Symphony Orchestra, and is a regular sub with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
An avid chamber musician, Coleman has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Midori, John O’Connor, Richie Hawley, Cho-Liang Lin, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Johannes Moser, and Daniel Heifetz. Coleman is a regular performer at the Brooklyn concert series Bargemusic and has performed at festivals around the country, including Aspen Music Festival and School, the International Heifetz Institute, La Jolla SummerFest, YellowBarn, and Music@Menlo.
In 2014, as a graduate student at the University of Southern California, Coleman was introduced to the Armenian-American pianist Alin Melik-Adamyan and soon after they began their musical collaboration. The duo hit it off immediately and swiftly achieved success in their first local competition, the Beverly Hills National Auditions, subsequently making their debut together in recital at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. This past November the duo traveled to Colorado for their first International competition, the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s “The Art of Duo”, and, from an applicant pool of over 150 duos, were awarded Second Prize and the special prize for the commissioned work. Future engagements include recitals in Boulder and Denver, CO, an appearance in the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's series of the Music of Kurt Weill, and several recitals in the Southern and Northern California areas.
Aside from his performing career, Coleman is a gifted educator and communicator, teaching and performing outreach concerts in schools, community centers, and hospitals around the county. Through this work, Coleman was recently awarded the Cleveland Clinic Arts and Medicine Award in recognition of his contribution and performances for patients in the clinic.
Coleman received his BM from Rice University and his Master’s Degree at the Thornton School of Music at USC under the tutelage of Ralph Kirshbaum. He performs on a Paul Siefried bow on loan to him from the Maestro Foundation and on 1740 Carlo Antonio Testore Cello, generously loaned to him by the Newman family of Los Angeles.
Photographer: Philip Holahan