Pop Picks / People
I met Lidiya Yankovskaya first as an alumnus of the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors, or HIWC. I got to know her much better when she conducted an absolutely pellucid “Little Women” in Boston: Within 40 minutes of the first rehearsal, I wrote on my score, “Never lose this woman’s number.” In her rehearsals, Yankovskaya’s ears hear everything. Her podium style is unfailingly collegial but allows no detail to go unimproved – not a second, nor a word, nor a gesture goes to waste. I’d gotten hints of that during her work at HIWC, where she conducted “Things Change, Jo” from “Little Women,” but it was only later that I learned how committed she was to using music to both delight and heal her audience. Her Refugee Orchestra Project brings together players who, like Yankovskaya and her family, first came to the United States not merely to make music, but also to flee violence and persecution abroad. She’s just been appointed Chicago Opera Theater’s new music director. I can’t wait to hear what she does next.