Samuel Zyman

  • Samuel Zyman, a long-time New York-based Professor of Music Theory and Analysis at the Juilliard School, is acknowledged as one of the leading Mexican composers on the international scene today. Zyman’s music is characterized by intense and vigorous rhythmic energy, expressive lyricism, and the frequent use of near-jazzy imitative counterpoint. His musical language often displays both his Mexican and his Jewish heritage. Zyman’s best known composition is his Sonata for Flute and Piano # 1, a work that has entered the standard repertoire. Zyman’s sonata is frequently performed all over the world and has been commercially recorded and posted on Youtube numerous times. The sonata is often included in graduation recital programs and has been used as a recommended or required piece at national and international flute competitions and as a topic for doctoral dissertations. Another popular Zyman piece is his orchestral work Encuentros, a colorful and highly rhythmic Mexican-sounding piece. As of June 2019, Zyman’s catalogue lists 70 works in a wide variety of genres. He has written at least 24 chamber works (including a string quartet and three piano trios), 11 concertos, seven pieces for orchestra (including two symphonies and an ambitious concerto for orchestra), six pieces for solo piano, three works for solo guitar, two works for symphonic band, one film score, a piece for trombone octet, music for chorus and orchestra, for solo voice with orchestra, for solo voice with piano or guitar accompaniment, and much more.

    The year 2018 saw the premiere of Zyman’s work Sefarad, a concerto for guitar and orchestra inspired by and based on Sephardic-like themes from the suite for solo guitar, also entitled Sefarad, by Sergio Bross. The premiere was given in Seville, Spain, by the Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville under its music director John Axelrod, with guitar soloist José María Gallardo del Rey. Also in 2018, Zyman composed the 35 minute-long score (for chorus, percussion quartet, and piano) for a modern dance piece, Sacrifixio, by Colombian choreographer Alvaro Restrepo, conceived to celebrate and nurture the peace accord signed by the FARC rebels and the government of Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, who received the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for this accomplishment. The piece was premiered in the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo in Bogotá in July 2018, with president Santos in attendance. The performers included 20 dancers of the Colegio del Cuerpo Dance Company (choreographed by Alvaro Restrepo and co-choreographed by Marie France Delieuvin), 28 singers of the chorus of the Opera of Colombia (Luis Díaz Herodier, director), Tambuco Percussion Ensemble of Mexico, and pianist Duane Cochran. The music director was Adrián Chamorro.

    In January of 2016, cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Carlos Prieto premiered Zyman’s 30-minute work An Ode to Music (Canto a la Música), for two solo cellos, youth chorus, and youth orchestra, in the Sala Nezahualcóyotl in Mexico City, with the National Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra and Chorus under the baton of Music Director Julio Saldaña, a work that highlights and celebrates the involvement of young people in Mexico in the performance of classical music and the significance of music for all people. Esperanza Azteca is a nationwide system that has created 62 symphony orchestras and choruses that benefit about 12,000 youngsters and children from disadvantaged social strata in all corners of Mexico. One of the movements of Zyman’s An Ode to Music, Basta Escuchar (You Just Need to Listen), scored for a cappella chorus, has since become the hymn of the entire Esperanza Azteca system, and it is sung by all members of Esperanza Azteca, singers and instrumentalists alike, at the beginning of each of their concerts.

    Documentary on Canto a la Música (An Ode to Music) (in Spanish):

    When cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Carlos Prieto performed Zyman’s Suite for Two Cellos at two major sold-out concerts in 2007, in the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts in the heart of Mexico City, Pablo Espinosa of La Jornada wrote that Zyman’s suite was “a feast for the senses, in which the fifth movement was a musical edifice full of magic, fantasy, and sonorous mathematics.” “A composer of his own time, Zyman also incorporates in his work the legacy of other epochs, turning the dialogue between these instruments into a conversation between friends,” said Xavier Quirarte of Milenio. As Allan Kozinn of The New York Times put it, “in [Zyman’s piano piece] Two Motions in One Movement, Impressionism and jazz wind around each other like vines.” Reviewing a performance of Zyman’s piano trio Search, Punch Shaw of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram said, “it was compelling from start to finish and met the goals of its composer with vivid success.”

    Zyman composed the original symphonic score for the critically acclaimed movie The Other Conquest, directed by Salvador Carrasco and produced by Alvaro Domingo. This score was recorded by the Academy of Saint-Martin-in-the-Fields, conducted by David Snell, and it includes Zyman’s aria “Mater Aeterna,” performed by Plácido Domingo. Samuel Zyman’s works can be heard on numerous CDs from Island Records, I.M.P. Masters, Urtext Digital Classics, Ambassador, Sony Classics, EMI, Quindecim, Albany Records, and Naxos. His music, published by Theodore Presser Company, has been performed throughout the United States, Mexico, Latin America, Europe, Russia, New Zealand, and other countries by such ensembles as the American Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Orchestra of Chicago, National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico and all other major Mexican orchestras, National Symphony Orchestra of Argentina, Oakland Symphony Orchestra, Paris Sinfonietta, and many others.

    Samuel Zyman was born in 1956 in Mexico City, where he studied piano and conducting at the National Conservatory of Music with María Teresa Castrillón and Francisco Savín, respectively. Privately, he studied counterpoint and analysis with Mexican composer Humberto Hernández Medrano. He also studied piano with the legendary Mexican jazz pianist Juan José Calatayud and with Héctor Jaramillo (principal flutist of the National Autonomous University Orchestra of Mexico, OFUNAM). He received MM and DMA degrees in composition from The Juilliard School in New York City, studying with the American composers Stanley Wolfe, Roger Sessions, and David Diamond. Zyman has served as a judge in several composition competitions in the US and Mexico. He is the recipient of numerous commissions and awards, including Meet-the-Composer grants in the U.S, the Diploma from the Mexican Society of Theater and Music Critics of Mexico naming him Most Outstanding Composer of the Year (1992), the Mozart Medal (1998) for outstanding achievement in music, awarded by the Embassy of Austria in Mexico, and the Medal of Merit in the Arts (2014), awarded by the Commission on Culture of the Mexico City Legislature for his contributions to art and culture in Mexico City.


  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
    Solo
    144-40542 Suite for Unaccompanied Cello
    15:00 Cello Unaccompanied
    140-40074 Two Motions In One Movement
    For Piano
    Piano Unaccompanied
    140-40109 Variations On An Original Theme
    8:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    Chamber Ensemble
    144-40429 Fantasia
    For Cello and Piano
    7:30 Cello with Piano
    144-40573 Fantasía Mexicana Para Dos Flautas Y Orquesta
    10:00 Flute Duet with Piano
    17430 Fantasia Sobre un Tema Original de Erik Zyman
    10:00 2Ob. 2Cl. 2Hn. 2Bsn.
    144-40559 Guitar Quintet
    24:00 Guitar, String Quartet
    144-40521 Reflection
    For Solo Cello and Ensemble Of Seven Cellos
    8:00 Cello Octet
    144-40512 Search
    For Violin, Cello, and Piano
    23:00 Piano Trio
    144-40288 Sonata
    For Flute and Piano
    18:00 Piano, Flute
    144-40689 Sonata No. 2
    For Flute And Piano
    19:00 Flute, Piano
    144-40430 Sonata for Cello and Piano
    18:00 Cello with Piano
    144-40470 Sonata for Viola and Piano
    18:00 Viola with Piano
    144-40493 String Quartet
    26:30 String Quartet
    144-40474 Suite for Two Cellos
    23:00 Cello Duet
    144-40311 Woodwind Quintet
    20:00 Woodwind Quintet
    Orchestra
    23510 Abanicos
    for Orchestra
    13:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Hp. Str.
    15577 Encuentros
    1030 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 2 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Hp. Str.
    23511 Fanfarria y Fantasia
    for Orchestra
    14:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 4Perc. Hp. Str.
    10118 Soliloquio
    for Orchestra
    3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Str.
    Orchestra with Soloist(s)
    16138 Concerto for Cello and Orchestra
    24:00 Solo Vcl.; 2(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 2 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    16139 Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
    18:00 Solo Fl.; 0 2 0 1 – 2 0 0 0; Timp. Str.
    17429 Concerto for Guitar and String Orchestra
    23:00 Solo Guitar; Str.
    16140 Concerto for Harp and Orchestra
    17:00 Solo Hp.; 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 0 0; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    16141 Concerto for Piano and Chamber Ensemble or Orchestra
    24:00 Solo Pno.; 1 1 1 1 – 1 0 0 0; Timp. Str.
    17348 Concierto De Mineria Para Flauta Y Orquesta
    (Concerto No. 2 for Flute and Orchestra)
    27:00 Solo Fl.; 2 2 2 2 – 4 2 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Str.
    21733 Concierto para Arpa, Flauta, y Orquesta
    Concerto for Harp, Flute and Orchestra
    18:00 Solo Hp., Solo Fl.; 2 2 2 2 – 4 2 0 0; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
    16924 Fantasia Mexicana
    para dos flautas y orquesta (for 2 Flutes and Orchestra)
    10:00 2 Solo Flutes; 0 2 2 2 – 2 2 0 0; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
    21767 Triple Concerto
    for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra
    27:00 Vln. Vcl. Pno. Soli; 3(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 2 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Str.
    Band / Wind Ensemble
    10192 Concertino for Violin, Piano and Wind Ensemble
    14:00 Vln. Pno. soli; 2 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1, Bar.; Timp. 2 Perc.
    17008 Cycles
    for Wind Ensemble
    14:00 3(Picc.) 2 3(B.Cl.) 2, 2A.Sax. 1Ten.Sax. 1Bar.Sax. – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1, Euph.; Timp. 4Perc. Cb.

  • CANTILENA
    …a seductive work.
    –Allan Kozinn, New York Times

    CONCERTO FOR CELLO AND ORCHESTRA
    [Zyman’s] ideas are introspective in character, balanced by brilliant orchestration and abundant explosions in the brass and percussion. We salute an author who is dexterous in his craft and rich in substance.
    –Napoleón Cabrera, El Clarín (Buenos Aires)

    The Mexican premiere of Samuel Zyman’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra amply exceeded all expectations. The work had the flavor of a revelation… We enjoyed this music which, even though it has a seemingly traditional and even ‘old fashioned’ outlook,
    –José Alfredo Páramo, El Economista (Mexico City)

    CONCERTO FOR PIANO AND CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
    …sheer breath-taking bravura.
    –Paul Somers, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

    [Samuel Zyman] also has at his disposal a core of young players willing to lavish great care on his music. And on Thursday evening at Merkin Concert Hall they presented seven of his recent works – enough to indicate that his music deserves the success it
    –Allan Kozinn, New York Times

    DANCE
    A star of the night, Alpin Hong raised the curtain with Mr. Zyman’s explosive Dance for Piano, which sounded a little like Debussy on speed.
    –Anne Midgette, New York Times

    ENCUENTROS
    Mexican composer Samuel Zyman provided the curtain raiser, his Encuentros progressing from gentle shiftings of three- and two-note groupings to a lyric central section to an exuberant close.
    –Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News

    QUINTET
    [Samuel Zyman] also has at his disposal a core of young players willing to lavish great care on his music. And on Thursday evening at Merkin Concert Hall they presented seven of his recent works – enough to indicate that his music deserves the success it
    –Allan Kozinn, New York Times

    SEARCH
    for Violin, Cello and Piano
    …But the hit of the evening was neither of these two blasts from the past. Instead, the near-capacity crowd of about 300 gave its heartiest approval to Search, a piece commissioned from composer Samuel Zyman by the TCU School of Music. It received its de
    –Punch Shaw, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

    SOLAMENTE SOLA
    …Also notable was Solamente Sola, a short, hauntingly evocative cycle on poems by Salvador Carrasco.
    –Allan Kozinn, New York Times

    ..In contrast was Samuel Zyman’s Solamente Sola, four songs couched in effusive and seductive folk styles
    –New York Times

    SONATA FOR CELLO AND PIANO
    …exotic, propulsive and intense…
    –Philippa Kiraly, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    …emotional, with interesting syncopated rhythms, ..and a songful slow movement. It used virtuosity for musical ends.
    —Edith Eisler, Strings

    SONATA FOR FLUTE AND PIANO
    …full excitement in the music, especially in the incredible finale with its seemingly impossible accelerando.
    –Barry L. Cohen, The New Music Connoisseur

    STRING QUARTET
    The second movement [is] a profoundly stirring Adagio…, at the core of this movement is an original melody that suggests Jewish liturgical music – it is so convincing that a friend said she recognized it – …[this] slow movement could well serve as an alt
    –John W. Lambert, Classical Voice North Carolina

    THE OTHER CONQUEST
    Zyman has achieved something that Mexican cinema has lacked for a long time: a truly elegant and even sumptuous score.
    –Gustavo García, Círculo Mixup (Mexico City)

    TRIO NO. 2
    The evening’s freshest pieces came from Mexican composers Silvestre Revueltas and Samuel Zyman…. Zyman’s Trio No. 2 (1999) introduced the new voice of a Mexican composer who teaches at the Juilliard School in New York. An attractive piece…
    –Wilma Salisbury, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

    TWO MOTIONS IN ONE MOVEMENT
    In Two Motions, Impressionism and jazz wind around each other like vines.
    –Allan Kozinn, New York Times

  • Samuel Zyman: 3 Conciertos SAMUEL ZYMAN: 3 CONCIERTOS
    Urtext Digital Classics (JBCC 225); March 25, 2014
    Performer(s): Marisa Canales, flute, Mercedes Gómez, harp, Orchestra of the Americas, conducted by Benjamin Juárez Echenique
    Work(s): Concerto for Harp and Orchestra
    Concerto for Harp, Flute and Orchestra
    Concerto No. 2 for Flute and Orchestra
    Claudia Corona Plays Latin American Music CLAUDIA CORONA PLAYS LATIN AMERICAN MUSIC
    Quindecim (QP075); June 1, 2009
    Performer(s): Claudia Corona, piano
    Work(s): Two Motions in One Movement
    Cuatro Conciertos Mexicanos para Guitarra CUATRO CONCIERTOS MEXICANOS PARA GUITARRA
    Urtext Digital Classics (JBCC 091); September 5, 2006
    Performer(s): Juan Carlos Laguna, guitar; Conjunto de Cámara de la Ciudad de México, Benjamín Juárez Echenique, conductor
    Work(s): Concerto for Guitar and String Orchestra
    Symphony No. 7 (by David Maslanka) SYMPHONY NO. 7 (BY DAVID MASLANKA)
    Albany Records (TROY821); April 1, 2006
    Performer(s): Illinois State University Wind Symphony, Stephen Steele, conductor
    Work(s): Cycles
    Música de las Américas MÚSICA DE LAS AMÉRICAS
    Urtext Digital Classics (JBCC 001); February 22, 2005
    Performer(s): Marisa Canales, flute; Orchestra of the Americas, Benjamin Juarez Echenique, conductor
    Work(s): Concerto for Flute and Small Orchestra
    Flute Music of the Americas FLUTE MUSIC OF THE AMERICAS
    Albany Records (TROY716); January 25, 2005
    Performer(s): Merrie Siegel, flute
    Work(s): Sonata
    Soheil Nasseri plays Yedidia, Zhurbin, and Zyman SOHEIL NASSERI PLAYS YEDIDIA, ZHURBIN, AND ZYMAN
    21st Century Classical Corporation (); June 8, 2003
    Performer(s): Soheil Nasseri, pianist
    Work(s): Cantilena
    A Prieto A PRIETO
    Urtext Digital Classics (JBCC 045); May 7, 2002
    Performer(s): Jesus Castro-Balbi, Carlos Prieto/Cellos
    Work(s): Suite for Two Cellos
    Música para Divertirse MÚSICA PARA DIVERTIRSE
    Urtext Digital Classics (JBCC 027); March 6, 2001
    Performer(s): Sinfonietta Ventus, Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor
    Work(s): Fantasía on an Original Theme by Erik Zyman
    20th Century Mexican Symphonic Music Vol. 3 20TH CENTURY MEXICAN SYMPHONIC MUSIC VOL. 3
    Clásicos Mexicanos (CLMX 21232); November 7, 2000
    Performer(s): Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, Eduardo Diaz Muñoz, conductor
    Work(s): Soliloquio
    The Other Conquest THE OTHER CONQUEST
    EMI International (B00004S9QW); April 4, 2000
    Performer(s): Placido Domingo, Samuel Zyman and Jorge Reyes
    Work(s): The Other Conquest
    American Interweave: New Music for Cello and Piano AMERICAN INTERWEAVE: NEW MUSIC FOR CELLO AND PIANO
    Ambassador (ARC1022); November 23, 1999
    Performer(s): Rajan Krishnaswami, cello and Mark Salman, piano
    Work(s): Sonata
    Sonatas & Fantasias SONATAS & FANTASIAS
    Urtext Digital Classics (JBCC 017); August 17, 1999
    Performer(s): Carlos Prieto, cello, Edison Quintana, piano
    Work(s): Fantasia
    México Sinfónico MÉXICO SINFÓNICO
    Urtext Digital Classics (JBCC 020); June 5, 1999
    Performer(s): Orchestra of the Americas, Benjamin Juarez Echenique, conductor
    Work(s): Encuentros
    World Premiere Recordings WORLD PREMIERE RECORDINGS
    IMP Masters (MCD 70 PK 524); April 16, 1995
    Performer(s): Carlos Prieto, cello; The National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, Enrique Diemecke, conductor
    Work(s): Concerto for Cello and Orchestra
    Concerto for Piano & Chamber Orchestra CONCERTO FOR PIANO & CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
    Antilles New Directions Island Records (91055-2); January 1, 1992
    Performer(s): Chelsea Chamber Ensemble; Mirian Conti, piano, Rachel Rosales, soprano
    Work(s): Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra
    Quintet
    Solamente Sola

  • 2006: Named guest composer, mentor, and judge at the Fresh Ink Florida Composers Competition with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Florida
    2000: Named President of the Jury for the Premio Nacional de Composicion Musical “Sinfomnica 2000,” (National Composition Prize, Mexico) serving with composers Samuel Adler and Robert Xavier Rodriguez
    2000: Zyman
    1999: Meet the Composer Grant
    1998: “Medalla Mozart” (“Mozart Medal”) for outstanding achievement in music, awarded by the Embassy of Austria in Mexico
    1992: Diploma from the Mexican Society of Critics of Theater and Music (Unión Mexicana de Cronistas de Teatro y Música) as Most Outstanding Composer for the Year
    1992: Meet the Composer Grant
    1991-1992: Composer in residence with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra (New Jersey)
    1990: Meet the Composer Grant
    1987: Meet the Composer Grant

  • Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
    Concerto for Guitar and String Orchestra
    Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra
    Concierto de Minería para Flauta y Orquesta
    Concierto para Arpa, Flauta, y Orquesta
    Cycles
    for Wind Ensemble
    Encuentros
    for Orchestra
    Fantasia Sobre un Tema Original de Erik Zyman
    for Woodwind Ensemble
    Sefarad
    for Guitar and Orchestra
    Symphony No. 2, “El Orgullo”
    for Orchestra

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