Hailed by the Alex Ross and The New Yorker for his “flawless technique and keen musicality,” cellist Coleman Itzkoff enjoys a diverse career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator.
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Coleman was born into a musical family - both parents are professional violinists - and began playing cello at the age. Principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony, Eric Kim, was Coleman’s first primary teacher. Further studies have included his undergraduate work with Desmond Hoebig at the Shepherd School ( Rice University, Houston, TX) and more recently he achieved his Master’s degree at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music while a member of the studio of Ralph Kirshbaum.
Gold Medalist in the 2017 International Berliner Music Competition, Coleman was a multiple prize winner at the 2016 Irving Klein Competition and in the 2016 Boulder International Chamber Music Competition. He has also taken prizes at the Fischoff, Johansen, Blount Slawson, and Young Texas Artist Competitions. In January 2013, Coleman was a featured guest artist for a weeklong residency on NPR’s Performance Today, recording interviews with host Fred Child and a full recital program. He has been guest soloist with numerous orchestras across the nation. A recent career highlight was his acclaimed Walt Disney Concert Hall concerto debut, performing the epic cello solo in “Heaven, Earth and Mankind” by Tan Dun.
An avid chamber musician, Coleman has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Pamela Frank, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Cho-Liang Lin, David Finckel, Johannes Moser, James Dunham, John O’Connor, and Peter Frankl. Coleman is a regular performer at the Brooklyn concert series Bargemusic and has appeared at festivals around the country, including Aspen Music Festival and School, the International Heifetz Institute, La Jolla SummerFest, YellowBarn, Caramoor, and Music@Menlo. Coleman is also a passionate proponent of new music, and recently joined the newly founded ensemble,AMOC, the American Modern Opera Company.
In 2014, as a graduate student at the University of Southern California, Coleman was introduced to the Armenian-American pianist Alin Melik-Adamyan and a musical collaboration was born. The duo swiftly achieved success in their first local competition, the Beverly Hills National Auditions, subsequently making their debut 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 Amicus Duo engagements include recital appearances in cities in Ohio, Colorado, and California.
Aside from his performing career, Coleman is a devoted and dynamic educator and communicator, teaching and performing outreach concerts in schools, community centers, and hospitals around the county. His inspiring work has earned him kudos wherever he appears and, in 2015, the Cleveland Clinic Arts and Medicine Award for his engaging talks and accessible performances for clinic patients.
Coleman holds a 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 a 1740 Carlo Antonio Testore Cello, generously loaned to him by the Newman family of Los Angeles.
Photographer: Philip Holahan