Sorin Zlat

Zlat was born on May 7, 1985 to a family of accomplished musicians – his grandfather was a renowned violinist and conductor for the Romanian National Folkloric Ensemble; a position he held for decades. Zlat’s father is a professional jazz saxophonist. Zlat grew up surrounded by the sound of classical and contemporary music.

At the age of seven, and continuing in his family’s tradition, he studied multiple instruments beginning with the violin and the clarinet. At the young age of thirteen he won the National Music Olympics and two years later was featured as a soloist with the Romanian Philharmonic Orchestra “Mihail Jora”. In 2009, he graduated from the George Enescu University of Arts with a degree in classical clarinet.

It was during those university years when he started to experiment with, and then fell completely in love with jazz. Beginning as an autodidact, his musical influences shifted to the work of Dizzy Gillespie, Keith Jarret, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, and Chick Corea. Zlat found the piano as the sublime instrument to reflect his innermost feelings as a composer and orchestrator. Zlat perfected his technical virtuosity in 2011 by earning a master’s in music degree, the Piano Jazz Section, from the Romanian National University of Music.

Zlat’s style is a surprising fusion of jazz, Latin, pop and classical music, which erupts into a colourful and fascinating repertoire. His talent, revealed by his ability to find new dimensions to existing jazz standards and to create original compositions, gained him instant recognition on the jazz scene.

Zlat proved to be a promising young musician from the beginning of his performing career, by winning the Grand Prize at the 2009 International Student Jazz Competition, in Targul Mures, Romania and the Grand Prize at the 2010 International Jazz Competition, in Sibiu, both while still a student. Starting in 2011, he won top place at several renowned international jazz competitions: Getxo, Spain - Best Solo Performance, Best Band Performance, and Prize of the Public; Monaco - Grand Prize and Prize of the Public (2013); Lille, France - Special Prize of the Jury and Golden Jazz Trophy (2014); Jacksonville, Florida – Grand Prize (2015) just to count a few.

In 2014, Zlat furthered his career accomplishments by reaching the finalist stage at elite international competitions such as the Parmigiani Montreux Jazz Piano International Competition in Switzerland and the Nottingham Jazz Piano Competition in the United Kingdom.

He was also the 2015 Nominee for the Public Diplomacy Award and Most Important People of Our Time (Oamenii Timpului), both in his home country of Romania, and won the Grand Prize in the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition which took place in Florida, United States.

Zlat has appeared at numerous festivals, both nationally and internationally, as a solo performer or with his Trio, Quartet and Quintet projects. Notable festivals include Jacksonville Jazz Festival- United States, Izmir Jazz Festival, Monaco Jazz Festival, Bruxelles Jazz Festival, Jazzy Colors Festival-Paris, Montreux Jazz Festival, Getxo Jazz Festival-Spain, MyUnique Jazz Festival- Berlin, Seoul Jazz Festival, Opus Jazz Festival-Budapest, Sibiu Jazz Festival, Jazz Napocensis- Cluj Napoca, Bucharest Jazz Festival, JazzTm-Timisoara, Garana Jazz Festival, Perra Jazz Festival, Instanbul, Jazz Hoeillart, Belgium, Enter Music Festival, Poland etc. He’s had the chance to share the stage with great artists such as Kenny Garett, Lee Ritenour, Branford Marsalis, Lee Konitz, Gregory Porter, The Commodores, Chick Corea, Joey Alexander, Roy Hargrove, Chris Potter, Chucho Valdes, Sonny Emory, Jeff Ballard, Dave Grusin, Ravi Coltrane, Leszek Mozdzer.

Sorin uses Yamaha instruments exclusively in his concerts and studio recording sessions. He believes that the products built by the Yamaha company help him to express his musical vision; providing inspiration and musical ideas in his home studio where he produces music.

“Yamaha is my muse”

In the summer of 2015, Zlat released his first album, entitled Endurance, a work centered on the power of love and family. The project itself is an attestation to his progression as an artist and to his creative capabilities. The inspiration behind the album came to life with Zlat composing the song Roxane, which is dedicated to his younger sister. His sister, that started battling cancer in 2011, became Zlat’s creative muse. It was from the pain, suffering, and turmoil that arose from those events, that the song was born. Roxane, encompasses all those emotions which are masterfully reflected in the melody. With influences from the Latin, flamenco, and classical music styles combined with jazz, each song on Endurance reaches new harmonic and rhythmic depths that leave a lasting impression with the audience.

In October 2016, Zlat took his creativity a step further and premiered his jazz suite symphony at the famous Kings Place in London, United Kingdom, a commission that was funded by the Rimbaud and Verlaine foundation and was very well received by the public and jazz critics. With a new CD in the works and numerous projects ranging from jazz funk, collaborations with philharmonic orchestras, and writing music for film, Zlat continues to expand his creative horizons and constantly bring fresh and exciting material to his audience. As an artist underwritten by the Romanian Cultural Institute, Zlat can be found performing in jazz clubs both in his country of Romania, as well as across Europe and North America.