Ephraim, Wis. (July 8, 2021) – Peninsula Music Festival President & CEO, Christoph Ptack, today announced the appointment of Russian-American conductor Victor Yampolsky to the honorary post of Conductor Laureate of PMF’s Festival Orchestra; an orchestra he recently laid down his baton and retired from after thirty-four triumphant years on the podium. “Maestro Yampolsky’s vison informed every step that went into building the orchestra we all enjoy today,” Ptack said. “Victor has always been a champion of bold artistry, and it was his unwavering commitment to excellence that guided the spirit of the orchestra, and paved the way for our future success.”
Upon receiving word of this honor, Maestro Yampolsky shared a few thoughts – “I am deeply moved and honored to receive such a prestigious acknowledgement from the Board and Leadership of the Peninsula Music Festival. The service PMF provides to the public is hard to overstate. Countless performances of live music every year and superb concerts by an excellent Festival Orchestra with spectacular soloists – it’s a rarity. The general feeling of goodwill and camaraderie for those who perform at PMF makes the entire experience a culmination of joy for the musicians and public alike.”
“I greatly look forward to welcoming Maestro back to the podium as an honored guest conductor,” said Ptack. “I know everyone will join me in celebrating this milestone for Maestro Yampolsky, and the Festival!
VICTOR YAMPOLSKY, an esteemed professor, conductor, and violinist serves as the Carol F. and Arthur L. Rice Jr. University Professor in Music Performance at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music; Conductor Laureate of the Peninsula Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin; Music Director Emeritus of the Omaha Symphony, and Honorary Director of the Scotia Festival of Music in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Born in the Soviet Union in 1942 to the great pianist Vladimir Yampolsky, a young Victor began studying violin with renowned pedagogue Mikhail Garlitsky (1949-1961) at the Central Music School in Moscow, and the legendary David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory (1961-1966).
On May 15, 1965, he joined the Moscow Philharmonic as both violinist and assistant conductor under the direction of renowned Maestro Kyrill Kondrashin, and from 1968 to 1972 he commuted to Leningrad for his second conducting degree under Maestro Nicolai Rabinovich of the Leningrad Conservatory.Yampolsky eventually emigrated to the United States in 1973, where a recommendation from conductor Zubin Mehta led to an audition for Leonard Bernstein who then offered Yampolsky a scholarship at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, Massachusetts. Two weeks later, Victor accepted a position in the violin section of the Boston Symphony (1973), and was later appointed the orchestra’s principal second violin (1975-1977).
In 1977, Yampolsky became Music Director of the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the conductor of the Young Artists Orchestra at Tanglewood. Two years later he was appointed Adjunct Professor of Violin and Director of Orchestras at the Boston University School of Music. Since 1979 he has participated in the Scotia Festival of Music in Halifax as violinist, conductor, and teacher.
Yampolsky was appointed Director of Orchestras at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music in 1984. Other posts include Principal Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Johannesburg, South Africa (1993-94), and Music Director of the Omaha Symphony (1995-2004). In 2002, he led the Omaha Symphony in its debut recording (Take Flight) and the following year in the world premiere of Philip Glass’ Second Piano Concerto, which received an award from the Nebraska Arts Council.
Maestro Yampolsky has conducted over 80 professional and student orchestras throughout the world, including engagements in the United States, Canada, Spain, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Chile, Israel, and the Czech Republic. Engagements stateside and abroad include concerts with the New Mexico Philharmonic; Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Tennessee; Illinois and Elgin Philharmonic Orchestras; Green Bay Symphony, WI; Richmond Symphony, Virginia; KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic and the Cape Philharmonic, Durban and Cape Town, South Africa; and the Stellenbosch Chamber Music Festival in South Africa. He’s toured Israel with the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra; directed the Conductors Guild Workshop with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra; conducted the RCO Chamber Orchestra in Houston, TX; and the Wintergreen Music Festival in Virginia.
Eventually, after 40 years away from his homeland, Yampolsky made a triumphant return to his native Moscow to conduct the Svetlanov State Academic Orchestra; present conducting master classes at the St. Petersburg Conservatory; and conduct the KMV Philharmonic in Kislovodsk, Russian Federation.
In most recent years, Yampolsky has appeared with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, PA; the Nashville Symphony; L’viv Philharmonic; Ukraine National Symphony in Kyiv; the Weidner Philharmonic in Green Bay, WI; and the Wroclaw Philharmonic in Poland.
A dedicated educator, Yampolsky continues to give conducting master classes throughout the world at the State Conservatory of St. Petersburg, Russia; Stellenbosch Conservatory; Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Cape Town; Emory University, Georgia; and the Universities of Akron, Victoria, Nevada, and Western Ontario, Canada. Other activities include time as a guest panelist for the League of American Orchestras Conductors Continuum Committee; adjudicating the Prokofiev International Conducting Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia; the Len van Zyl conducting competition in Cape Town, South Africa; and maintaining a visible presence with the Conductors Guild and CODA Associations.
Yampolsky has recorded for Pyramid and Kiwi-Pacific Records, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Doane College in Crete, Nebraska. Currently, Victor and his dear wife Carol split their time between Evanston, Illinois, and Toronto, Canada, where they enjoy visiting with their two children and extended family.