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Classicsonline Home » Artists » » Kreizberg, Yakov

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Yakov Kreizberg (1959 - 2011)


The younger brother of the conductor Semyon Bychkov, Yakov Kreizberg had his first piano lessons at the age of five and studied conducting privately with Ilya Musin, professor of conducting at Leningrad Conservatory, before emigrating to the USA in 1976. He was awarded fellowships to study conducting at Tanglewood with Bernstein, Ozawa and Leinsdorf, and at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute; and was subsequently invited back to Los Angeles to work as assistant to Michael Tilson Thomas. Kreizberg won the Eugene Ormandy Prize for conducting from the University of Michigan, held the post of music director of the Mannes College Orchestra in New York from 1985 to 1988, and took first prize in the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition in 1986. He returned to Europe in 1988 to take up the position of chief conductor of the Krefeld and Mönchengladbach Opera and Niedrrheinischer Symphony Orchestra, the youngest person to hold such a post at that time in Germany. In an interview with Bruce Duffie, he described graphically some of the issues which a conductor at this stage of his or her career must tackle: ‘It’s hard enough to make music out of Mozart, but taking a third-rate operetta, which people don’t take seriously anyway, which has horrible traditions and is usually sung very badly, taking that and being disciplined about it and making something out of it is incredibly hard, and you learn a lot doing it.’

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