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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Mar 29, 2019

I’m really happy to continue this series on the pedagogues that shaped me as a violinist with a discussion about another giant in musical journey, Zvi Zeitlin. Unfortunately, Professor Zeitlin passed away in 2012, but I had a wonderful time talking about him with Michael Klotz, violist with the Amernet Quartet and Senior Instructor at Florida International University in Miami. Michael and I were colleagues in the Zeitlin studio at both Eastman and at the Music Academy of the West and, in this episode. we discuss our experience studying with Mr. Zeitlin and his lasting influence on our lives.

It was a true pleasure for me to talk with Michael and I think you’ll enjoy our chat!


More about Michael Klotz



Amernet String Quartet:

Florida International University:

Heifetz International Music Institute:



Born in 1978 in Rochester, NY, Michael Klotz made his solo debut with the Rochester Philharmonic at the age of 17 and has since then appeared as soloist with orchestra, recitalist, and chamber musician, and orchestra principal worldwide. After a performance of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 with violist Roberto Diaz, the Portland Press-Herald proclaimed, “this concert squelched all viola jokes, now and forever, due to the talents of Diaz and Klotz”. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently proclaimed Michael Klotz to be “a superb violist, impressive, with an exceptionally attractive sound,” and the Miami Herald has consistently lauded his “burnished, glowing tone and nuanced presence.”


Michael Klotz joined the Amernet String Quartet in 2002 and has toured and recorded commercially with the ensemble throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Romania, Colombia, Belgium, and Spain. Klotz has performed at some of New York’s most important venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, MoMA, Bargemusic, and the Kosciuzsko Foundation. His festival appearances have included Seattle, Newport, Caramoor, ChamberFest Cleveland, Festival Mozaic, Great Lakes, Cervantino, Festival Baltimore, Piccolo Spoleto, Sunflower, Martha’s Vineyard, Skaneateles, Virginia Tech Vocal Arts and Music Festival, San Miguel de Allende, Beverly Hills, Music Mountain, Bowdoin, Madeline Island, Sarasota, Music Academy of the West, and Miami Mainly Mozart.

Passionately dedicated to chamber music, Klotz regularly performs with many of today’s most esteemed artists, having appeared as guest violist with the Shanghai, Ying, and Borromeo String Quartets, the Manhattan Piano Trio, and collaborated with artists such as Shmuel Ashkenasi, Arnold Steinhardt, James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich, Vadim Gluzman, Gary Hoffman, Carter Brey, Michael Tree, Robert DeMaine, Andres Diaz, Roberto Diaz, Joseph Kalichstein, Franklin Cohen, and Alexander Fiterstein, as well as with many principal players from major U.S. and European orchestras. In 2015 he was named a Charter Member of the Ensemble with the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth and regularly appears on this series. In 2002 and 2009, he was was invited by Maestro Jaime Laredo to perform with distinguished alumni at anniversary concerts of the New York String Orchestra Seminar in Carnegie Hall.

Michael Klotz is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the Performer’s Certificate. In 2002 he became one of the few individuals to be awarded a double Master’s Degree in violin and viola from the Juilliard School. At Juilliard, he was the recipient of the Tokyo Foundation and Gluck Fellowships. His principle teachers and influences include Zvi Zeitlin, Lynn Blakeslee, Lewis Kaplan, Toby Appel, Peter Kamnitzer, and Shmuel Ashkenasi.

Michael Klotz is a dedicated teacher and serves as Senior Instructor and Artist-in-Residence at Florida International University in Miami, where he teaches viola and chamber music. Klotz has recently presented highly acclaimed master classes at the New World Symphony, Cincinnati Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Michigan, Penn State University, University of Nevada – Las Vegas, Ithaca College, Texas Christian University, and West Virginia University. He is currently a member of the faculty of The Heifetz Institute and a viola coach at the New World Symphony. His former students currently attend and are graduates of prestigious conservatories, including the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music and are already achieving leading roles in the music world. Michael was featured in the November 2013 issue of the “Alumni Spotlight” in the Juilliard Journal and as the subject of Strad Magazine’s “Ask the Teacher” column in the November 2013 issue. Michael Klotz resides in Hallandale Beach, FL with his wife Kelly and sons Jacob and Natan, as well as two dogs and a cat.



ZVI ZEITLIN (1922-2012)

A faculty member at Eastman from 1967 to 2012, Zvi Zeitlin (1922-2012) was revered for decades as a violinist, pedagogue, chamber musician, and champion of contemporary music.

Born in Dubrovna, Belarus, Zvi Zeitlin was raised and educated in Israel. At age 11, he became the youngest scholarship student in the history of the Juilliard School, studying with Sascha Jacobsen, Louis Persinger, and Ivan Galamian. He served in the RAF (1943-46) and concertized for troops throughout the Middle East and Greece.

He made concerto appearances with such great conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, Antal Dorati, Jascha Horenstein, and Christoph von Dohnanyi, and gave frequent tours of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Central and South America.

One of Zeitlin’s signature pieces was Arnold Schoenberg’s fiendishly difficult, seldom performed Violin Concerto; his 1971 Deutsche Grammophon recording of this work with conductor Rafael Kubelik set the standard, and is still available. Zeitlin also premiered concertos by Gunther Schuller, Carlos Surinach, and Paul Ben-Haim, besides performing and recording a wealth of other repertoire in his long career; the Toronto Star called him “one of the violin world’s grand old men, a true musical Methuselah.” Along with his solo appearances, he was a founding member of the Eastman Trio (1976-1982).

Zeitlin taught annual master classes at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Yehudi Menuhin School. He was a faculty member at the Music Academy of the West since 1973, and a visiting professor at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester, England) since 1992.

Zeitlin was named Eastman’s first Kilbourn Professor in 1976 and Distinguished Professor in 1998. In 2004, he received the University of Rochester’s Edward Curtis Peck Award for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduates. Zeitlin’s students occupy leading positions in major orchestras in the United States and throughout the world; hold important positions in universities and music schools worldwide; and are major prizewinners in international and regional competitions.

Zvi Zeitlin died on May 2, 2012 in Rochester, at the age of 90.



Most sincere thank you to composer Jim Stephenson who graciously provided the show’s musical theme! Concerto #1 for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra – Movement 2: Allegro con Brio, performed by Jeffrey Work, trumpet, and the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Jim Stephenson.

Also a HUGE thank you to my fantastic producer, Bella Kelly!




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