The Katz-Shteinberg Duo
The Katz-Shteinberg Duo Praised as “world-class musicians” by the leading German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau, and heralded by the Ottawa Citizen for their “uncommonly rich and introspective” playing, violist Shmuel Katz and pianist Dmitri Shteinberg have continued to garner critical acclaim since they founded The Katz Shteinberg Duo in 1999 in New York City. The two Israeli musicians have been coached by Michael Tree, Richard Goode, Isidore Cohen and Ken Cooper. In March 2001, the duo was invited by the Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation to perform at the National Library of Ottawa. After this highly praised performance, the musicians became the first recipients of the newly established Pinchas Zukerman Music Education Fund. They returned to Ottawa to study with Maestro Zukerman in the National Arts Centre Young Artists Program in July 2001. In September of that same year, the duo opened the concert season at the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C. In 2002, they went on a recital tour of Israel! and Germany that included a performance at the Jerusalem Music Centre which was broadcast live on the “Voice of Music”, Israel’s classical music station. Recently, they made their Carnegie Hall recital debut and were the featured performers on WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase. Shmuel Katz- Viola A native of Israel, Shmuel Katz maintains a performing career on both the viola and violin as a chamber musician, soloist and orchestral player. Mr. Katz received his Bachelor and Master Degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Pinchas Zukerman and Michael Tree. Among his numerous competition awards are the second prize in the HAMS Viola Competition in Chicago and first prize in the CIMS Chamber Music Competition in Palermo, Italy. Mr. Katz is a frequent guest violist and violinist with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Dmitri Shteinberg- Piano Mr. Shteinberg has appeared as soloist with the Jerusalem Symphony, the Italian Philarmonica Marchetiana, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Israel Camerata Orchestra and Porto National Symphony. He is an annual recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship and a major prizewinner in numerous competitions worldwide including first prize in “Citta de Senigallia” in Italy and Porto International Competition. Mr. Shteinberg studied at the Gnessin Special School of Music in his native Moscow under Anna Kantor. He recently received his Doctoral degree from the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Nina Svetlanova
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Mr. Katz and Mr. Shteinberg are bright young lights in the New York musical scene who seem to be appearing everywhere these days. On this debut CD they also include a Bach da gamba Sonata and the great Mozart KV. 378 Violin Sonata, both in transcriptions that seem completely natural to the timbre of viola and piano. It is hard to praise too highly the technical facility of such young artists.
I wish the engineering of this CD had been a little less cloudy-I don't find the instrumental voices nearly as impressive as they are in person. For the sake of the Hindemith alone, however, this recording is not to be missed.
Written in his compositionally mature period, Hindemith's 1939 Sonata is a remarkable work that showcases his unique harmonic language and formal organization skills. The Duo's performance certainly does justice to it, and this alone is worth the price of the CD. The piece opens with an energetic yet somewhat nostalgic movement, which is performed by the two musicians with passion and precision. In the third movement, a mysterious and other-worldly melody is beautifully and enchantingly performed by Mr. Katz . The finale is an ensemble tour de force with a perfectly matched rhythmic interaction between Mr. Katz and Mr. Shteinberg, and a well-thought out linear development plan that drives the music forward. Also, the accuracy and clarity in the piano performance is extraordinary.
Listening to the two transcriptions - Bach's Viola da gamba Sonata and Mozart's KV. 378 Violin Sonata, you will be further convinced that these two musicians make a perfect duo both technically and stylistically. In the Bach, Mr. Katz's rich and majestic tone is supported by Mr. Shteinberg's clear, articulate, and agile performance, which also shows his thoughtful understanding of the composition. The Mozart Violin Sonata transcription works surprisingly well on the viola. Here, the Duo gives a crispy and sparkling yet well-contrasted performance.
This is a must-have debut CD from two very talented young musicians with a bright future. I would like to hear them tackle some contemporary works on their next output since the viola literature has expanded considerably from the twentieth century on.