Conductor Yoel Levi


In September 2005, maestro Yoel Levi was appointed Principal Conductor of the Orchestre National d´Ile de France for seven years. During the 2004/2005 season, he conducted Mahler´s Symphony n°2 for the 30th anniversary of the orchestra and opening of the season in a highly acclaimed performance. The following season, he took the direction of the orchestra for eight weeks, most of them being dedicated to concerts series in Paris and its region, but also for a tour in Spain, all of them were extremely popular with the public and the press. Yoel Levi conducted the orchestra in the fall of 2007 for tours in Besançon and Eastern Europe. Earlier this year they performed in London, to great acclaim.
As Chief Conductor of the Flemish Radio Orchestra, between 2001-2007, he uplifted the quality of this orchestra to a highly acclaimed international standard. He was received with enthusiasm by growing audiences and by the press. Yoel Levi is also the first Israeli to hold the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. With this orchestra he made a concert tour in eleven US cities in 2004, where he received great critical acclaim. In May of 2008, he led the orchestra in a festive tour celebrating the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, in Mexico.
While he was Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 1988 to 2000, Yoel Levi´s impact on the orchestra was summed up by Gramophone Magazine, as follows: “Yoel Levi has built a reputation for himself and for his orchestra that is increasingly the envy of the big five American counterparts in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Boston and Chicago. Among his many ASO milestones, are a highly successful performance of Mahler´s Symphony no. 2 ("Resurrection") featuring award winning ASO Chorus in New York´s Avery Fischer Hall, a featured role at the Opening Ceremony of the Centennial Olympic Games in July of 1996, an extensive and by the critics acclaimed European Tour by the ASO in 1991, and the nomination of the ASO as "Best orchestra of the Year" for 1991-92 at the First Annual International Classical Music Awards.
Maestro Levi´s conducting engagements include appearances with orchestras in London, Paris, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Rome, Frankfurt, Munich, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Israel, Korea and Japan. In North America, he has conducted the New York Philharmonic and the orchestras of Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Washington, Minnesota, Toronto and Montreal amongst others. In the summer of 2008 he led the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra on a highly acclaimed tour throughout New Zealand. In 1991 he was invited to conduct the Stockholm Philharmonic for a performance at the Nobel Prize Ceremony.
He made his Opera House debut in 1997 at the Teatro Communale in Florence, Italy, leading eight performances of Puccini´s opera La Fanciulla del West, in nine days. He has also conducted Carmen at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Makropulos Case by Janacek in Prague, Puccini´s Edgar with the Orchestre National de France. At the ASO, he conducted Mozart´s The Magic Flute, The abduction of the Seraglio, and Bartok´s Bluebeard´s Castle. With the Flemish Radio Orchestra, Yoel Levi performed Puccini´s Tosca, La Traviata and Madame Butterfly. In the summer of 2008 he performed Tosca during the Puccini festival in Torre de Lago, Italy. In September of 2008 he performed Nabucco at the Stade de France for 60,000 people, with live television broadcast in Europe. In November of 2008 he made his debut with the Atlanta Opera featuring Hansel and Gretel. Upcoming performances include Aida, Il Trovatore and Fanciulla del West amongst others.
Maestro Levi has made more than forty recordings on different labels with various orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, The London Philharmonic, The Philharmonia Orchestra, The Flemish Radio Orchestra. Thirty of these are with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for Telarc. His recordings are devoted to the music of Barber, Beethoven, Brahms, Copland, Dohnanyi, Dvorak, Hindemith, Kodaly, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mussorgsky, Nielsen, Prokofiev, Puccini, Ravel, Rossini, Saint-Säens, Schoenberg, Shostakovitch, Sibelius, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.
In 1997 Yoel Levi was awarded the honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree by Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, and also gave the commencement address. In June 2001 he was named “Chevalier de l´Ordre des Arts et des Lettres”, one of the most prestigious awards given by the French Government.
Though born in Romania, Yoel Levi grew up in Israel. He studied at the Tel Aviv Academy of Music, where he received a Master of Arts degree with distinction, and the Jerusalem Academy of Music under Mendi Rodan. He also studied with Franco Ferrara in Sienna and Rome, with Kiril Kondrashin in Holland, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He received First Prize in the Conductor´s International Competition in Besançon, France in 1978. That same year he became the assistant to Lorin Maazel at the Cleveland Orchestra for six years, serving as Resident Conductor from 1980 to 1984.