Yuriy Bekker, violinist and conductor, has led the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (South Carolina) as Concertmaster since 2007 and was named its Principal Pops Conductor in 2016. Additionally, Bekker served as the orchestra’s Acting Artistic Director from 2010-2014 and Director of Chamber Orchestra from 2014-2015, playing a major role in the orchestra’s successful resurgence.
Mr. Bekker has served on faculty as a violinist and conductor for the Miami Summer Music Festival in Miami, Florida since 2014. He is also an adjunct faculty member of the College of Charleston School of the Arts as a violin professor and as conductor of the College of Charleston Orchestra. He has been Artistic Advisor to the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and was given the Outstanding Artistic Achievement award from the City of Charleston to honor his cultural contributions. Bekker has also held the position of concertmaster for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the AIMS Festival in Graz, Austria, and has held additional positions with the Houston Symphony and the Houston Grand Opera and Ballet Orchestras.
Bekker has performed worldwide as a celebrated guest concertmaster, avid chamber musician, and critically-acclaimed soloist. In addition to over a dozen concertos with the Charleston Symphony, he has performed with the Vancouver Symphony (British Columbia), Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland, Buffalo Philharmonic, Chicago Chamber Music Society, European Music Festival Stuttgart (Germany), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), Spoleto Festival USA, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Aspen Music Festival, at the Kennedy Center, and in cities including: New York City, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Amarillo, Missoula, Asheville, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, and Graz, Austria. He has collaborated with Herbert Greenberg, Claudio Bohorquez, Alexander Kerr, Andrew Armstrong, Robert DeMaine, Sara Chang, Gil Shaham, Joshua Roman, JoAnn Falletta, and Andrew Litton.
Bekker earned a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory under the tutelage of Herbert Greenberg. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees were acquired from the Indiana University School of Music, where he studied violin with Nelli Shkolnikova and Ilya Kaler. Born in Minsk, Belarus, Bekker is now a United States citizen and is married to Jenny Glace Bekker.
Visit yuriybekker.com for more information.
Praised by critics for his passionate expression and dazzling technique, pianist Andrew Armstrong has delighted audiences around the world. He has performed solo recitals and appeared with orchestras in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States, including performances at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and Warsaw's National Philharmonic. He has performed with such conductors as Peter Oundjian, Itzhak Perlman, Günther Herbig, Stefan Sanderling, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, and in chamber music with violinist James Ehnes, cellist Robert deMaine, the Elias, Alexander, American, and Manhattan String Quartets, as a member of the Caramoor Virtuosi at the Caramoor International Music Festival, and as a member of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players in New York City. Since 2010, he has been a member of the Amelia Piano Trio.
Having performed over 50 concertos, Armstrong has impressed his international audiences with a large repertoire ranging from Bach to Babbit and beyond. Before beginning his career as a concert pianist, Armstrong received over 25 national and international First Prizes. In 1996, he was named Gilmore Young Artist. At the 1993 Van Cliburn Competition, where he was the youngest pianist entered, he received the Jury Discretionary Award. The New York Times wrote, "Armstrong may have been the most talented player in the competition....He's a real musician. We'll hear more from him." As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported, Van Cliburn himself, "in a rare showing of enthusiasm for an individual competitor," called Mr. Armstrong "Fabulous! Fabulous!"
Andrew Armstrong is devoted to outreach programs and playing for children. In addition to his many concerts, his performances are heard regularly on National Public Radio and WQXR, New York City's premier classical music station.
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