"On Sunday afternoon in a sold-out Walt Disney Concert Hall, the American Youth Symphony led by David Alan Miller gave a remarkable performance of "Heaven Earth Mankind" with more than 150 members of the National Children's Chorus. The featured soloist was Coleman Itzkoff, 24, principal cellist of the youth symphony, an accomplished local training orchestra. He met the work's myriad challenges with astonishing prowess... Itzkoff embodied the unifying, exploratory spirit of the piece. Even while navigating the score's many technically thorny passages, Itzkoff seemed to be having a good time."

-Rick Schultz, Los Angeles Times



"At one master class, the Swiss cellist and composer Thomas Demenga, a musician of piercing intelligence who appears rarely in this country, cross-examined Coleman Itzkoff, a graduate student of Kirshbaum’s at U.S.C. Itzkoff essayed the Prelude of Bach’s Fifth Suite, exhibiting a flawless technique and keen musicality. As Demenga pointed out, the interpretation was “shall we say, a bit Romantic”—sanding away the sharper corners of Bach’s language. Demenga wanted more naturalness, more grit. “Don’t be afraid to play these notes too harshly,” he said at one point. When a low C appeared beneath an upper line, he urged, “Don’t connect!”—he wanted the voices kept separate instead of integrated into a single flowing line. He asked for one held note to rise and fall in volume like a ball thrown in the air. After forty-five minutes, Itzkoff had emerged with a more idiosyncratic, articulate reading."

-Alex Ross, The New Yorker



Cellist Coleman Itzkoff chose an unusual encore for his performance with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra on Saturday. 

Playing the “Pianissimo” movement from “Das Buch” by Latvian composer Peteris Vasks, he tackled fluttery high harmonics and even sang along in an eerie countertenor with his cello. It was both mystical and spellbinding, and a sign that Itzkoff is a young artist who has much to say.

Itzkoff’s encore and his superb reading of the more traditional Elgar Cello Concerto were just two highlights in a multi-faceted opener of the Chamber Orchestra’s Summermusik festival in Corbett Theater at the School for Creative and Performing Arts....

Not many soloists perform a concerto while a parent is playing along in the orchestra. Itzkoff, 25, a Cincinnati native, took the stage while his mom, Heidi Yenney, performed her role as principal viola. (His dad, Gerald Itzkoff, is a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.) With a rising career and a handful of impressive competition prizes, it’s clear that the cellist is well on his way to making a name for himself.

Elgar’s Concerto in E Minor is not a flashy piece. Written in the wake of World War I, it is introspective and lyrical. Itzkoff’s thoughtful phrasing and the sweet tone that he summoned on his cello were ideal for this work. He took his time, shaping each of Elgar’s long, lyrical lines with care. He tossed off technical feats with lightness and ease, often closing his eyes with his head thrown back.

The slow movement, “Adagio,” is the heart of the work, and his playing was deeply expressive. Preu, who chose an intimate chamber arrangement of the concerto by Iain Farrington, was sensitive to the cellist’s every move and kept a perfect balance in the orchestra.

Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Business Courier




"The Prelude Performance concert beforehand featured epic variety of expression from cellist Coleman Itzkoff in Britten’s Sonata in C Major for Cello and Piano written for Mstislav Rostropovich, and a dramatic account of Beethoven’s Op. 95 string quartet from four other young artists from the Chamber Music Institute’s International Program."

David Bratman, San Francisco Classical Voice



"The Pegasus Trio could barely wipe the collective smirk from their faces as they delivered William Bolcom’s astute send-up of Haydn, his “Introduction and Rondo: Haydn Go Seek.” Clearly enjoying Bolcom’s subtle exaggeration of Haydn’s rhetorical flourishes and surprising thematic volte-faces, violinist Yi Zhao, cellist Coleman Itzkoff, and pianist Andrew Staupe brought their beautifully integrated sonorities and tight ensemble into sharp focus for this bit of comic relief. Lest anyone think Pegasus is a comedy act, on Friday evening’s musical prelude these players gave Dmitri Shostakovich’s daunting Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor a profound, emotionally probing performance that touched this critic deeply. I will not be at all surprised to see and hear more from the Pegasus Trio."

-Ken Herman, San Diego Story 


















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