“If there were a futures market for classical music, the touts would be pushing Lidiya Yankovskaya.”


“Chicago Opera Theater may be entering a golden age in its history—a Russian golden age. The company had its most successful season in a decade last year, with new music director Lidiya Yankovskaya. Saturday night the juggernaut continued… Yankovskaya continues to impress with every performance. Even working behind the singers and stage action, she balanced the large orchestra, cast, chorus and wind effects with great clarity and dramatic point, keeping this complex and challenging score on track with clear direction and firm momentum.”

Chicago Classical Review

“With Yankovskaya firmly in control, the orchestra was lively and idiomatic…”

Wall Street Journal

“Under Yankovskaya’s passionate baton, the orchestra heaved and swirled in massive, dark waves…Yankovskaya is injecting new energy and focus to Chicago Opera Theater. Attention should be paid.”

Musical America

“Yankovskaya conducted with a sinuous but strong-boned rhythmic mastery, and the production caught both the storybook aspects of the piece and its emotional urgency…Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozartean pastiche is deftly pulled off, and Yankovskaya balanced her forces with confident aplomb.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“A defining success in the history of the company… This section and the rest of the score are handsomely realized by the Chicago Opera Theater’s pit orchestra, masterfully led by music director Lidiya Yankovskaya, who never allows the momentum to flag.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“Yankovskaya brought forth brilliantly colored accompaniment from the orchestra, where the most exciting musical action takes place. The chorus, too, proved resplendent, onstage and off.”

Chicago Tribune

“The orchestra, under Yankovskaya’s attentive baton, seethed and suffered right along with Boris.”

San Francisco Classical Voice

“20 For 20 | Artists To Watch. It’s hard to keep track of the force of nature that is Russian-American conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya.”


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. As Music Director of Chicago Opera Theater, Ms. Yankovskaya has led the Chicago premieres of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick, Rachmaninov’s Aleko, Joby Talbot’s Everest, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, and the world premiere of Dan Shore’s Freedom Ride. Elsewhere, she has recently conducted Ricky Ian Gordon’s Ellen West at New York’s critically acclaimed Prototype Festival, Il barbiere di Siviglia at Wolf Trap Opera, Pia de’ Tolomei at Spoleto Festival USA, and the world premiere of Taking Up Serpents at Washington National Opera. On the concert stage, she has been recently engaged with Chicago Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Mobile, Flagstaff, Hawaii, and Oviedo, Spain. Upcoming debuts include Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Dallas Opera, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, Opera Vlaanderen, Opera Seville, and the Glimmerglass Festival.

Ms. Yankovskaya is Founder and Artistic Director of the Refugee Orchestra Project, which recently performed at the United Nations in New York City and LSO St Luke’s in London. She has served as Artistic Director of the Boston New Music Festival and Juventas New Music Ensemble, where she led operatic experiments with puppetry, circus acts, and robotic instruments, as well as premieres by more than two dozen composers. As Music Director of Harvard’s Lowell House Opera, she conducted sold-out performances of repertoire rarely heard in Boston, including Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the U.S. Russian-language premiere of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden.

An alumna of the Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors and Marin Alsop’s Taki Concordia Fellowship, Ms. Yankovskaya has also served as assistant conductor to Lorin Maazel, assisted Vladimir Jurowski via a London Philharmonic fellowship, and was featured in the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview. Ms. Yankovskaya has been a featured speaker at the League of American Orchestras and Opera America conferences, served as U.S. Representative to the 2018 World Opera Forum in Madrid, and received a 2018 Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award.