Lidiya Yankovskaya, conductor
Joyce Yang, piano
Sergei Rachmaninoff’s towering Piano Concerto No. 2 opens with pulse-pounding passion, soothes you in the sentimental middle movement and sets you on the edge of your seat with its fiendishly difficult finale featuring the return of the sensational pianist Joyce Yang, a laureate of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Guest conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya leads The Phoenix Symphony in Jessie Montgomery’s Hymn for Everyone, a meditation for orchestra full of washes of colors and timbre, and in Antonín Dvořák’s cheery and lyrical Symphony No. 8, inspired by the Bohemian folk music of his native land.
Jessie Montgomery: Hymn for Everyone
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
Dvořák: Symphony No. 8
The Phoenix Symphony’s Preludes series returns for the 2023-2024 season! Preludes
will take place prior to select performances with activities that will be sure to delight the
whole family! Prepare to hear live musical performances, discover new artworks,
explore the dances and traditions of new cultures, and much, much more!
Rachmaninoff & Dvořák Preludes – Begin One Hour Prior to Performance on Saturday and Sunday ONLY
Embark on a music journey like no other with the sensational strings and style of the SOL Chamber Orchestra, featuring works by Roumain, Trimble, and more!
The Preludes Series is brought to you by
About Lidiya Yankovskaya
Lidiya Yankovskaya is a fiercely committed advocate for Slavic masterpieces, operatic rarities, and contemporary works on the leading edge of classical music. She has conducted more than 40 world premieres, including 17 operas, and her strength as a visionary collaborator has guided new perspectives on staged and symphonic repertoire from Carmen and Queen of Spades to Price and Prokofiev. As Music Director of Chicago Opera Theater, her daring performances before and amid the pandemic earned recognition from the Chicago Tribune, which praised her as “the very model of how to survive adversity, and also how to thrive in it,” while naming her Chicagoan of the Year.
Following her debut at Santa Fe Opera in a new production of Dvořák’s Rusalka in summer 2023, Ms. Yankovskaya conducts orchestras across the United States. She debuts at Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and Symphony San Jose. Ms. Yankovskaya deepens her ongoing relationship with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, leading MusicNOW world premieres by Jessie Montgomery and Curtis Stewart, and designing a series of educational concert. At Chicago Opera Theater, she leads a new Francesca Zambello production of The Nose and David T. Little’s Soldier Songs in the company’s 50th anniversary season, before returning to English National Opera for performances of Bluebeard’s Castle at London’s Coliseum.
Ms. Yankovskaya has recently conducted Eugene Onegin at Staatsoper Hamburg, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs at English National Opera, Carmen at Houston Grand Opera, and Don Giovanni at Seattle Opera. Elsewhere she has led Der Freischütz at Wolf Trap Opera, Edward Tulane at Minnesota Opera, and Taking Up Serpents at Washington National Opera and the Glimmerglass Festival. On the concert stage, recent engagements include Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Houston Symphony.
In the six years since her appointment as Elizabeth Morse and Genius Music Director of COT, Ms. Yankovskaya has spearheaded the commissioning of 11 new operas, advancing the work of seven female composers and seven creators of color. She has led the Chicago premieres of Heggie’s Moby-Dick, Talbot’s Everest, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, Rachmaninoff’s Aleko, and Szymanowski’s King Roger. Under her leadership, COT has also established the Vanguard Initiative, an immersive two-year residency for emerging opera composers that culminates with the development of a full-length opera, enriching the repertory with new voices and experiences that resonate with today’s audiences.
About Joyce Yang
Blessed with “poetic and sensitive pianism” (The Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color” (San Francisco Classical Voice), Grammy-nominated pianist Joyce Yang captivates audiences with her virtuosity, lyricism, and interpretive sensitivity.
She first came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The youngest contestant at 19 years old, she took home two additional awards: Best Performance of Chamber Music (with the Takàcs Quartet), and Best Performance of a New Work. In 2006 Yang made her celebrated New York Philharmonic debut alongside Lorin Maazel at Avery Fisher Hall along with the orchestra’s tour of Asia, making a triumphant return to her hometown of Seoul, South Korea. Yang’s subsequent appearances with the New York Philharmonic have included opening night of the 2008 Leonard Bernstein Festival – an appearance made at the request of Maazel in his final season as music director. The New York Times pronounced her performance in Bernstein’s The Age of Anxiety a “knockout.”
In the last decade, Yang has blossomed into an “astonishing artist” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung), showcasing her colorful musical personality in solo recitals and collaborations with the world’s top orchestras and chamber musicians through more than 1,000 debuts and re-engagements. She received the 2010 Avery Fisher Career Grant and earned her first Grammy nomination (Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance) for her recording of Franck, Kurtág, Previn & Schumann with violinist Augustin Hadelich “One can only sit in misty-eyed amazement at their insightful flair and spontaneity.” (The Strad).
Other notable orchestral engagements have included Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Hong Kong Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, as well as the Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, and New Zealand symphony orchestras. She was also featured in a five-year Rachmaninoff concerto cycle with Edo de Waart and Milwaukee Symphony, to which she brought “an enormous palette of colors, and tremendous emotional depth” (Milwaukee Sentinel Journal).
In solo recitals, Yang’s innovative program has been praised as “extraordinary” and “kaleidoscopic” (Los Angeles Times). She has performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Museum, The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Chicago’s Symphony Hall, Zurich’s Tonhalle, and all throughout Australia on a recital tour presented by Musica Viva.
As an avid chamber musician, Yang has collaborated with the Takács Quartet for Dvořák – part of Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series – and Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet with members of the Emerson String Quartet at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Yang has fostered an enduring partnership with the Alexander String Quartet and together released three celebrated recordings under Foghorn Classics.
As a champion of new music, Yang has premiered and recorded a World Premier discography of Michael Torke’s Piano Concerto with Albany Symphony and David Alan Miller (Albany Records) in 2015, Jonathan Leshnoff’s Piano Concerto with Kansas City Symphony (Reference Recordings) in 2019, and premiered Reinaldo Moya’s Piano Concerto with Bangor Symphony in 2021.
Yang’s discography includes celebrated solo discs (Collage and Wild Dreams, Avie Records), where she “demonstrated impressive gifts” (The New York Times). Yang also released a live-performance recording of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Denmark’s Odense Symphony Orchestra (Bridge Records), which International Record Review called “hugely enjoyable, beautifully shaped … a performance that marks her out as an enormous talent.”
In recent years, Yang has focused on promoting creative ways to introduce classical music to new audiences. She served as the Guest Artistic Director for Laguna Beach Music Festival in California, curating concerts that explore the “art-inspires-art” concept – highlighting the relationship between music and dance while simultaneously curating outreach activities to young students. Yang’s collaboration with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet of Half/Cut/Split – a “witty, brilliant exploration of Robert Schumann’s Carnaval” (The Santa Fe New Mexican) choreographed by Jorma Elo – was a marriage between music and dance to illuminate the ingenuity of Schumann’s musical language. The group toured nationwide, including five performances at The Joyce Theater in New York.
Yang began the 2023/2024 season as Artist-in-Residence for Grant Park Music Festival and as guest artist with Aspen Music Festival among others, followed by performances in New Zealand with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and in Australia with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. This season, Yang continues to present her wide range of repertoire in over 30 cities playing 10 different piano concerti, solo recitals, and chamber music.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Yang received her first piano lesson from her aunt at the age of four. She quickly took to the instrument, which she received as a birthday present. Over the next few years won several national piano competitions in her native country. By the age of ten, she had entered the School of Music at the Korea National University of Arts, and went on to make a number of concerto and recital appearances in Seoul and Daejeon. In 1997, Yang moved to the United States to begin studies at the pre-college division of The Juilliard School with Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky. During her first year at Juilliard, Yang won the pre-college division Concerto Competition, resulting in a performance of Haydn’s Keyboard Concerto in D with the Juilliard Pre-College Chamber Orchestra. After winning The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Greenfield Student Competition, she performed Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with that orchestra at just twelve years old. She graduated from Juilliard with special honor as the recipient of the school’s 2010 Arthur Rubinstein Prize, and in 2011 she won its 30th Annual William A. Petschek Piano Recital Award. She is a Steinway artist.