Esteemed teacher, conductor, and violinist, Victor Yampolsky serves as
Carol F. and Arthur L. Rice Jr. University Professor in Music Performance at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music; Music Director of the Peninsula Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin; Music Director Emeritus of the Omaha Symphony, as well as the Honorary Director of the Scotia Festival of Music in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Born in the Soviet Union in 1942, Yampolsky—the son of the great pianist Vladimir Yampolsky—studied violin with the legendary David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory (1961– 1966) and conducting with Maestro Nicolai Rabinovich at the Leningrad Conservatory (1968–1973). He was a member of the Moscow Philharmonic as both violinist and assistant conductor, under the direction of renowned Maestro Kyrill Kondrashin.
Yampolsky emigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1973, where a recommendation from conductor Zubin Mehta led to an audition for Leonard Bernstein, who offered Yampolsky a scholarship at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, Massachusetts. Two weeks later, Yampolsky accepted a position in the violin section of the Boston Symphony (1973). He was later appointed the orchestra’s Principal Second Violinist (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 and conductor, celebrating the festival’s 25th year with the performance of Oliver Messiaen’s “Turangalila” Symphony on June 13, 2004.
Yampolsky was appointed director of orchestras at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music in 1984. He has also been principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Johannesburg (1993-94) and music director of the Omaha Symphony (1995-2004), a period of significant artistic growth for the orchestra. In 2002, he led the Omaha Symphony in its debut recording, Take Flight, and the following year in the world premiere of Philip Glass’s Second Piano Concerto, which received an award from the Nebraska Arts Council.
Yampolsky has also conducted over 80 professional and student orchestras throughout the world, including repeat engagements with orchestras in the United States, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, and Chile. Last year’s engagements abroad included concerts with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic and Cape Philharmonic (Durban and Cape Town, South Africa), and the Stellenbosch Chamber Music Festival in South Africa. US appearances included concerts with the Illinois Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony and the Green Bay Symphony. In March 2011 he returned to his native Moscow to conduct Svetlanov State Academic Orchestra after 40 years. In December 2011 he gave conducting master classes at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and Kirov College of Music as well as conducting KMV Philharmonic in Kislovodsk, Russian Federation.
In 2012 he will travel to Cape Town and Sewanee Summer Music Center and make conducting debuts with the New Mexico Philharmonic and Elgin, Illinois Symphony orchestras.
A dedicated educator, Yampolsky had been invited to give conducting master classes throughout the world. He has taught at the State Conservatory of St. Petersburg, Stellenbosch Conservatory, the Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in Cape Town, Emory University, and the Universities of Akron, Victoria, and Nevada. Other activities include serving as a Panel Member of the America Symphony Orchestra League (now the League of American Orchestras) Conductors’ Continuum Committee and as a juror for the Prokofiev International Conducting Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia and the Len van Zyl conducting competition in Cape Town, South Africa.
Yampolsky holds a Bachelor’s degree in conducting from the Leningrad Conservatory as well as a second Bachelor’s degree and Artist Diploma in violin performance from the Moscow Conservatory. He has also been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Doane College in Crete, Nebraska. He currently lives in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife, Carol,and two children.Yampolsky has recorded for Pyramidand Kiwi-Pacific Records.