Russian-American conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya is a champion of Russian masterpieces, operatic rarities, and contemporary works on the leading edge of classical music. As Music Director of Chicago Opera Theater, Lidiya is the only woman to hold that title in a multimillion-dollar opera company in the United States. In the 2019-20 season, Ms. Yankovskaya leads the world premiere of Dan Shore’s Freedom Ride and the Chicago premieres of Joby Talbot’s Everest, Rachmaninoff’s Aleko, and David T. Little’s Soldier Songs at Chicago Opera Theater. She conducts Ricky Ian Gordon’s Ellen West at New York’s critically acclaimed Prototype Festival, and makes house debuts leading Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow at Arizona Opera and the world premiere of Paola Prestini’s Edward Tulane at Minnesota Opera. In standard repertoire, she leads performances of Stravinsky’s The Firebird at Illinois Philharmonic, Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony in C minor at Chicago Philharmonic, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni in her Glimmerglass Festival debut.
Ms. Yankovskaya is Founder and Artistic Director of the Refugee Orchestra Project, which proclaims the cultural and societal relevance of refugees through music, and has brought that message to hundreds of thousands of listeners around the world. In addition to a National Sawdust residency in Brooklyn, ROP has performed in Boston, Washington, D.C., and the United Nations, and will make its UK debut in London in an upcoming season. Ms. Yankovskaya served as Artistic Director of the Boston New Music Festival and Juventas New Music Ensemble, where she led operatic experiments with puppetry, circus acts, and robotic instruments, as well as premieres by more than two dozen composers. Her commitment to exploring the breadth of symphonic and operatic repertoire has been demonstrated in performances of Rachmaninoff’s Aleko, the U.S. Russian-language premiere of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden, and the American premieres of Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei, Rubinshteyn’s The Demon, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Kashchej The Immortal and Symphony No. 1.
An alumna of the Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors and Marin Alsop’s Taki Concordia Fellowship, Ms. Yankovskaya has served as assistant conductor to Lorin Maazel and Vladimir Jurowski. She has been featured in the League of American Orchestras Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview and Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music, and is a recipient of a 2018 Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award.