| “A very talented composer.” Vladimir Ashkenazy, pianist and conductor
With many world premieres, scores of performances and multiple recordings of his music, British-French-Israeli composer Nimrod Borenstein is much in demand. Leading artists, ensembles and institutions who feature his work include Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the Enescu Festival, Ex Cathedra, the Quartetto di Cremona, the Israel Camerata, Roberto Prosseda, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, and many others. The 2019/20 season sees commissioned Borenstein works from both the Hong Kong International Piano Competition and the International Jeunesses Musicales Competition and at least 10 other world and regional premieres - among them Lullaby for string quartet and clarinet (prem.
di Cremona and David Orlowsky, California); Odysseus for cello and piano (prem. International Jeunesses Musicales Competition, Belgrade) and L'Oiseau bleu for solo harp and string orchestra (prem. Anne-Sophie Bertrand, World Harp Congress, Cardiff). Also Yodit for string orchestra (Orquestra Sinfônica Municipal de João Pessoa, Brazil, who are presenting a different Borenstein work every month for seven months in this season).
The son of a renowned painter, Nimrod’s first musical experience came as a child on holiday in France, when on a family walk through a forest they came across an outdoors concert. “I just stopped and refused to move until the concert was finished two hours later. And I told my parents then and there that I wanted to learn violin and be a musician.” recalls Borenstein. A love affair with music started, with the young Borenstein challenging himself by listening to classical works on the radio, then turning the sound down halfway through and himself scoring the way he felt the next 30 seconds would continue (he was often more or less correct)!
In 1984 he won the competition of the Cziffra Foundation, and moved to London in 1986, to pursue his studies as a violinist with Itzhak Rashkovsky at the Royal College of Music. He was then awarded the highest scholarship from the Leverhulme Trust to study composition at the Royal Academy of Music (where he is now an Associate).
Every composer needs artists to perform their music. One of the most important for Borenstein has been Vladimir Ashkenazy, who took an interest early on. A first opportunity to work together arose when Ashkenazy conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra for a performance of The Big Bang and Creation of the Universe to great acclaim. This was quickly followed by a Philharmonia premiere, again with Ashkenazy, If you will it, it is no dream. The collaboration has continued, including in 2017 the release on the Chandos label of a major album conducted by Ashkenazy, entirely devoted to Borenstein’s music. That recording was highly successful and was named BBC Music Magazine 'Choice'.
Borenstein’s music continues to rise in popularity. His ballet score, Suspended, has received more than 150 performances (from the Edinburgh International Festival to the Taipei Arts Festival) since its premiere in January 2015 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The score was the launch-recording of the Berlin-based Solaire label.
Other recent recordings include his Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and strings (English Symphony Orchestra, SIgnum) and "Reminiscences" (Nadav Hertzka, Skarbo). A new string quartet commission, Cieli d'Italia, will feature on the next recording of the Quartetto di Cremona, and two of his solo violin works feature on the forthcoming album from Olga Kaler (Centaur).
Borenstein is prolific in writing concertos for a wide variety of instruments, recently including his Cello Concerto No. 2 (premiered by Corinne Morris and the BBC Philharmonic under Frederic Chaslin, broadcast on BBC Radio 3),
L'Oiseau bleu for harp and String Orchestra, Concerto for Trumpet, Piano and String Orchestra, and concerto for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra. He is currently a quarter of the way through a multi-year '24 Piano Études' project (after Chopin).
Borenstein's substantial catalogue continues to develop and currently numbers more than eighty works including ballet, concertos, orchestral and chamber music as well as vocal and solo instrumental pieces.
"An exuberantly inventive composer"
BBC Music Magazine
"For sheer pleasure and melodic inventiveness nothing I have heard this year touches this delightful CD"
"superbly written for the soloist: the objective qualities of Nimrod Borenstein's violin concerto should ensure its durability."
"Contemporary works full of grand gestures and soaring melody"
"Brilliant - it begins and ends there"
"Proof of modern music’s dizzying variety is found on this beguiling disc"