A CONSUMMATE COLLABORATOR
Russian-American conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya is a fiercely committed advocate for Russian masterpieces, operatic rarities, and contemporary works on the leading edge of classical music. Her strength as an innovative and multi-faceted collaborator has brought together the worlds of puppetry, robotics, circus arts, symphonic repertoire, and opera onstage, and recently united the classical music traditions of India and the West at the United Nations.
As Music Director of Chicago Opera Theater, Lidiya is the only woman to hold that title in a multimillion-dollar opera company in the United States. Under her leadership, COT has established the Vanguard Initiative, a three-pronged investment in new opera that includes a two-year residency for emerging opera composers. Committed to developing the next generation of artistic leaders, she also serves on the Advisory Board of Turn The Spotlight, a foundation dedicated to identifying, nurturing, and empowering leaders – and in turn, to illuminating the path to a more equitable future in the arts.
Lidiya believes that artistic programming can help shift perspectives on social issues. Her experiences as a refugee inspired her to found the Refugee Orchestra Project, which proclaims the cultural and societal relevance of refugees through music, and has brought that message to hundreds of thousands of listeners around the world. A sought-after speaker, she has led sessions at the League of American Orchestras and Opera America conferences, and recently served as U.S. Representative to the World Opera Forum in Madrid.