Dorman holds a doctorate in music composition from the Juilliard School where he studied as a C.V. Starr fellow with John Corigliano. He completed his master's degree at Tel Aviv University (where he majored in music, musicology, and physics) studying with former Soviet composer Josef Bardanashvili.
At age 25, Dorman became the youngest composer to win Israel's Prime-Minister's award. He has since been awarded the ACUM prize for his Ellef Symphony. Ma'ariv newspaper in Israel named Dorman "Composer of the Year" for 2002, and the performance of his song cycle "Boaz" received the Israeli Cultural Ministry Prize for best performance of Israeli music the same year. Dorman's "Variations Without a Theme", premiered by Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in November 2003 and won the 2004 Best Composition of the Year award from ACUM. This piece led to a commission from Zubin Mehta, PercaDu, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for "Spices, Perfumes, Toxins!", a concerto for percussion duo and orchestra.
Orchestras that have performed Dorman's music include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.
In 2006, Naxos Records released an album dedicated to Dorman's piano works with Eliran Avni at the piano. In 2010, Naxos Records released an album dedicated to Dorman's chamber orchestra concerti. Avi Avital's performance of Dorman's "Mandolin Concerto" on this recording was nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award in the category of Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra.
Dorman's debut opera, Wahnfried, was named as a finalist for the 2018 International Opera Awards, in the category of "World Premiere". He was awarded the 2018 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music for his violin concerto, Nigunim, originally written as a violin sonata for violinist Gil Shaham and pianist Orli Shaham.
Dorman is an associate professor of theory and composition at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College. He served as music director of CityMusic Cleveland chamber orchestra from 2013 to 2019.
- Wahnfried (2016)
- Die Kinder Des Sultans (2019)
- Spices, Perfumes, Toxins! (2006)
- Frozen in Time (2007)
- Eternal Rhythm (2018)
Orchestral works without soloists
- Chorale for Strings (1999)
- Ellef Symphony (2000)
- Variations Without A Theme (2003)
- Uriah (2008–9)
- Azerbaijani Dance (2010)
- (not) The Shadow (2010)
- Astrolatry (2011)
- After Brahms (2015)
- Siklòn (2015)
Works for narrator and orchestra
- Uzu and Zuzu from Kakaruzu (2012)
Choral works (with or without orchestra)
- Psalm 67 (2004)
- Letters from Gettysburg (2013)
- Dialogues of Love (2014)
- The Seventy Names of Jerusalem (2015)
- Violin Concerto no. 1 (2006)
- Violin Concerto no. 2 – "Nigunim" (2017)
- Violin Concerto no. 3 – "Still" (2019)
- Piano Concerto in A (1995)
- Piano Concerto no.2 – "Lost Souls" (2009)
Concertos for various instruments
- Piccolo Concerto (2001)
- Concerto Grosso (2003)
- Saxophone Concerto (2003)
- Mandolin Concerto (2006)
- Cello Concerto (2013)
- Double Concerto (2019)
Sonatas for violin and piano
- Sonata Mo.1 (2004)
- Sonata No.2 (2008)
- Sonata No.3 – "Nigunim" (2011)
- Sonata No.4 (2014)
- Tree-yO! (1996)
- Trio (2001)
- String Quartet No.1 (2003)
- String Quartet No.2 (2004)
- Prayer for the Innocents (2009)
Other chamber pieces
- Udacrep Akubrad (2001)
- Boaz (2002)
- Jerusalem Mix (2007)
- Memory Games (2011)
- The Fear of Men (2006)
- Mantra (2013)
- Consumed (2014)
- Suite for Solo Saxophone (2015)
- How to Love (2016)
- Variations on a Simple Theme (2017)
- For Solo Violin (2017)
- Sonata no.1 (1999)
- Sonata no.2 (2000)
- Sonata no.3 – "Dance Suite" (2005)
- Sonata no.4 – "Libi Bamizrach" (2011)
- Sonata no.5 (2018)
Other solo piano music
- Prelude No.1 (1992)
- Moments Musicaux (2003)
- Azerbaijani Dance (2005)
- Octurne Insomniaque (2007)
- Karsilama for Two Pianos (2012)
- Three Etudes (2012)
- After Brahms (2014)
- For a Friend I Never Knew (2017)
- Boundless (2018)
- Now (2018)
Music for dance
- Ben (1997)
- Accord/Discord (1999)
- Falafel (2001)
- Impact (2006)
- The Juilliard Journal, Feb 2012, Margaret Shakespeare, "Keeping It All in the Family"
- David Ng (2009-07-26). "Composer Avner Dorman spices things up". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
- Jerusalem Post, Feb 23, 2001, Zehavi, "Rock-music 'Brat' moves on
- Ma'ariv, Sep. 6, 2002, Ora Binur, "Composer of the Year"
- Haaretz, Editorial (1 April 2005). "ACUM Prize to Betty Olivero". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
- Reich, Howard. "CSO review: Cynthia Yeh finds poetry in concerto's U.S. premiere". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
- New York Times, March 19, 2009, Schweitzer, "Concerto for Percussion, With a Global Outlook"
- Smith, Ken (September 2006). "Reviews". Grammophone.
- Mlyn, Paula. "Avi Avital Nominated For Classical Grammy Award". Mandolin Cafe.
- "2018 | Opera Awards". Opera Awards. 2018-01-29. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
- "Composer Avner Dorman Winner of 2018 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music – The Azrieli Foundation". azrielifoundation.org. 2018-02-07.