coleman itzkoff, cello

Hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker for his “flawless technique and keen musicality,” cellist Coleman Itzkoff enjoys a diverse career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator. A Prize winner at the 2019 Houston Symphony’s Ima Hogg Competition, Coleman made his professional debut at the age of 15 with Ohio’s Dayton Philharmonic and has since appeared as soloist with orchestras and in chamber music series countrywide. Coleman demonstrates versatility and command of a wide variety of musical styles, equally comfortable with Renaissance and Baroque music played on period instruments as he is with the eclectic and evermore technically challenging music of today. 


Recent season highlights include performances with the Houston Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, American Youth Symphony at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), Mason Home Concerts, The Philharmonic Society of Orange County, Caramoor, Texas’s Sarafim Music, and Virginia’s Moss Art Center. Amidst the pandemic, Coleman has continued making and sharing music through his website and social media, as well as collaborating with various online music series and institutions. Future projects include recitals of baroque and early classical music, several commissions from composers, performing virtually for hospital patients in collaboration with Project: Music Heals US, and continuing his studies as an Artist Diploma candidate at The Juilliard School.  


Among the distinguished artists with whom Coleman has worked are conductors David Allan Miller, Carlos Izcaray, Eckart Preu, Roderick Cox, and Tomáś Netopil. In addition to the Ima Hogg , Coleman’s honors and awards include being a multiple prize winner at the 2016 Irving Klein Competition and in the 2016 Boulder International Chamber Music Competition, as well as at the Fischoff, Johansen, Blount Slawson, Aspen Concerto Competition, 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. 


Chamber Music is at the heart of Coleman’s musical life, beginning early on with weekly quartet readings with his parents, both professional violinists themselves. At the age of 10, Coleman began attending the Greenwood Music Camp where he began playing with other musicians of his generation and where his love of chamber music deepened. Since that time, he has attended numerous summer music festivals including Aspen Music Festival and School, the International Heifetz Institute, La Jolla SummerFest, YellowBarn, Music@Menlo, and Marlboro Music Festival. He has collaborated in chamber music with such musicians as violinists Pamela Frank, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Cho-Liang Lin, and Glenn Dicterow; soprano Lucy Shelton; cellists David Finckel and Johannes Moser; violist Roger Tapping; and pianists Gil Kalish and Peter Frankl. 


A passionate proponent of new music and interdisciplinary collaboration, Coleman Itkoff has premiered over 100 contemporary works in the last five years, working closely with some of the great composers of today, including Jörg Widmann, Brett Dean, Tan Dun, Steven Mackey, and Matthew Aucoin, to name a few.  He is a founding member of the acclaimed three-year old American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), an ensemble of seventeen singers, dancers, and instrumentalists whose focus is on creating and producing a body of discipline-colliding work combining traditional and experimental artistic processes. Praised by The Los Angeles Times for “…revitalizing what American music theater can mean with several of our most revolutionary young talents”, AMOC has already performed in spaces all around the country, most notably The Park Avenue Armory, the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, the Clark Art Institute, the Met Museum, National Sawdust, ODC Theatre in San Francisco, among many others. Through this work, Coleman has begun pushing into the areas of dancing and acting, most notably in his role in choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith’s dance-theater piece ‘Lost Mountain’ which premiered in May 2019 at La Mama Experimental Theatre in New York and will be performed next season in San Francisco, Boston, and New York. 


Central to Mr. Itzkoff’s career in music is his dedication to community outreach and education. Wherever in the country he may performing, Coleman always makes a point of engaging in the broader community to bring music to the people, whether it be in schools, senior centers and nursing homes, or hospitals. He has received several grants and awards for these purposes, including the Sviatoslav Richter Grant for Music Outreach from Rice University, the Roman Goronok Fellowship from the 2016 Irving Klein Competition, and, in 2015, the Cleveland Clinic Arts and Medicine Award for his engaging talks and accessible performances for clinic patients. Additionally, Coleman is a devoted and dynamic educator of young musicians, and has taught and given masterclasses across the US at such institutions as the International Heifetz Institute, the Lev Aronson Cello Festival, Virginia Tech’s Moss Arts Center, NYU, and Harvard University. Coleman has continued this work in the time of COVID, partnering with PMHU’s ‘Vital Sounds Partnership Grants’ to bring live, one-on-one performances to hospital patients across the country, from Los Angeles to Boston. 


Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Coleman Itzkoff was born in 1992 into a musical family and began playing cello at the age of 4. He holds a BM from Rice University and his Master’s Degree from the Thornton School of Music at USC where he studied under the tutelage of Ralph Kirshbaum. Currently, he is enrolled in The Juilliard School’s prestigious Artist Diploma program studying with Timothy Eddy, Richard Aaron, and baroque cello with Phoebe Carrai. He performs on a 1730 Gennaro Gagliano Cello, generously loaned to him by the Amatius Foundation of Austin, TX.