Clarinetist
Biography

Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein is recognized for playing that combines flawless technique and consummate musicianship with graceful phrasing and a warm soulful tone. Considered one of today’s most exceptional clarinet players, he has performed in recital and with prestigious orchestras and chamber music ensembles throughout the world. Recipient of a prestigious 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Mr. Fiterstein has been praised by The New York Times for possessing a “beautiful liquid clarity,” and the Washington Post wrote, “Fiterstein treats his instrument as his own personal voice, dazzling in its spectrum of colors, agility and range. Every sound he makes is finely measured without inhibiting expressiveness.” On October 1, 2013 Bridge Records released Mr. Fiterstein’s debut concerto album featuring both of Carl Maria von Weber’s clarinet concertos with conductor Martin West and the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.

This 2014-15 season, Mr. Fiterstein performs chamber music with the Boston Chamber Music Society and Friends of Chamber Music in Miami, and at Mount Kisco, Music@Menlo, and the University of Chicago. He gives the East Coast premiere of a new clarinet quintet by Chris Brubeck, son of Dave Brubeck, with the Muir Quartet at Rhode Island College, following his world premiere performance of the work at the St. Timothy’s Summer Music Festival in July 2014. He also performs alongside Arnaud Sussmann, Harumi Rhodes, Dimitri Murrath, Nicholas Canellakis, and Michael Brown in the Sedona Winter MusicFest, where he spends his second season as co-artistic director. His orchestral appearances include the Woodstock Mozart Festival, where he performs Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto under conductor Istvan Jaray, and with the Minnesota Sinfonia, performing Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 2. He tours Kentucky with his Goldstein-Peled-Fiterstein trio, and performs with his Alexander Fiterstein Klezmer Trio at Virginia Tech. He is guest principal clarinet this season with the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

As a soloist, Mr. Fiterstein has appeared with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, the China National Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Chamber Orchestra, the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the IRIS Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Israel Sinfonieta Baer-Sheva, the Jerusalem Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Lincoln Center, the Polish Chamber Philharmonic, the San Juan Symphony, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic, the University of South Carolina Symphony, and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. He has performed in recital on the “Music at the Supreme Court” Series, at Carnegie’s Weill Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the Kennedy Center, the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery of Art, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Symphony Space, the Tel-Aviv Museum, and the 92nd Street Y.

A dedicated performer of chamber music, Mr. Fiterstein frequently collaborates with distinguished artists and ensembles. He was a member of the prestigious Chamber Music Society II of Lincoln Center (2004-2006) and has continued to perform regularly with the Society. He has also participated in the Marlboro Music Festival for five summers and toured with Musicians from Marlboro. His U.S. festival appearances include Birdfoot Chamber Music Festival in New Orleans, Moab Music Festival in Utah, and the Music Mountain Festival. Internationally, he has appeared at the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany, the Storioni Festival in Holland, the Toronto Summer Music Festival, and the Zodiac Music Academy and Festival in France. Mr. Fiterstein has performed chamber music with Emanuel Ax, Daniel Barenboim, Elena Bashkirova, Richard Goode, Steven Isserlis, and Mitsuko Uchida; and has joined the American, Borromeo, Daedalus, Fine Arts, Jerusalem, Mendelssohn, Muir, Pacifica, and Vogler String Quartets and appeared with Ensemble Wien-Berlin. He has performed chamber music with the Boston Chamber Music Society, the Miami Friends of Chamber Music, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress in Washington DC, the Louvre, and at the 92nd Street Y.

Mr. Fiterstein is the founder of The Zimro Project and the Alexander Fiterstein Trio. The Zimro Project, founded in 2008, is a unique ensemble dedicated to incorporating Jewish art music into chamber music programs that is inspired by the Zimro Ensemble, a group that nurtured the music of Jewish composers and culture nearly a century ago in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Alexander Fiterstein Trio was also formed in 2008 with cimbalom player Walter Zev Feldman and accordionist Christina Crowder. The trio regularly performs a program of Klezmer music from the traditional Eastern European Jewish wedding ceremony.

Alexander Fiterstein has worked with composers such as John Corigliano and Osvaldo Golijov and has had pieces written for him by Samuel Adler and Mason Bates, among others. He performed the U.S. premieres of Henrik Strindberg’s Clarinet Concerto “Minne,” Harrison Birtwistle’s Pulse Shadows and Paul Schoenfield’s clarinet trio. A recording of Schoenfield’s trio, performed by Mr. Fiterstein with James Tocco and Yehuda Hanani, was released in May 2010 on the Naxos label. Mr. Fiterstein recorded the clarinet music of Ronn Yedidia, which was released by Naxos in the 2011-12 season. He is also featured in the album Sean Hickey: Concertos where he performs the Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra with conductor Vladimir Lande and the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra. The album was released by Naxos in June 2013. His most recent recording, the Weber’s Clarinet Concertos with San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and Martin West, was released in 2013. He also performed and appeared in Richard Ledes’ upcoming film, The Dark Side, with violist Paul Neubauer.

Mr. Fiterstein was born in Belarus. At the age of two, he immigrated with his family to Israel where he later studied at the Israel Arts and Science Academy. He graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Juilliard School. His teachers included Charles Neidich and Eli Heifetz. Mr. Fiterstein is a first prize winner of the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition and the “Aviv” competitions in Israel; a winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions; and he is the recipient of the Bunkamura Orchard Hall Award (Tokyo) and numerous awards from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. Mr. Fiterstein is the clarinet professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

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