Yuriy Bekker, critically-acclaimed violinist and conductor, has been a mainstay of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in Charleston SC for 15 years. He has recently been named the CSO’s Artistic Director and also continues to lead as Concertmaster (2007) and Principal Pops Conductor (2016). Bekker previously served as the orchestra’s Acting Artistic Director from 2010-2014, playing a major role in the orchestra’s successful resurgence.
Bekker is 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 Music Director of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival’s Spotlight Chamber Music Series and is co-founder of the Charleston Chamber Music Institute. During the summer, he also serves on faculty of the Gingold Chamber Music Festival in Miami FL.
In 2011, Bekker was given the Outstanding Artistic Achievement award from the city of Charleston to honor his cultural contributions to the community.
Bekker has performed worldwide as a celebrated guest concertmaster, avid chamber musician, and critically-acclaimed soloist. Bekker has held the position of concertmaster for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the AIMS Festival in Graz, Austria. He has also held positions with the Houston Symphony and the Houston Grand Opera and Ballet Orchestras.
In addition to performing over a dozen concertos with the CSO, Bekker has performed as guest concertmaster with the Vancouver Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, and Chicago Chamber Music Society. He has also performed in many notable festivals and venues including European Music Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, Pacific Music Festival in Japan, Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston SC, Aspen Music Festival, the Kennedy Center, and in other cities spanning the United States and around the world.
He has collaborated with Herbert Greenberg, Claudio Bohorquez, Alexander Kerr, Andres Cardenes, Andrew Armstrong, Robert DeMaine, Sara Chang, Gil Shaham, Ilya Kaler, Joshua Roman, JoAnn Falletta, and Andrew Litton. As Principal Pops Conductor of the CSO, Bekker has worked with notable guest artists such as Ben Folds, Tony Desare, Ellis Hall, Ranky Tanky, and Cirque de la Symphonie.
Bekker’s recent and upcoming engagements include conductor and violinist with the Amarillo Symphony, violinist on Tchaikovsky’s, Bruch’s, and Edward Hart’s Concertos with the CSO, conductor of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 at the Miami Music Festival, a chamber music appearance with the Fort Worth Chamber Music Society, and a busy CSO Pops season packed with exciting repertoire and guest artists.
Bekker earned a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory under the tutelage of Herbert Greenberg. He also holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Indiana University School of Music, where he studied violin with Nelli Shkolnikova and Ilya Kaler. Bekker has studied conducting with Christopher Wilkins, David Zinman, Imre Pallo, and David Effron. His debut album, Twentieth Century Duos, received worldwide acclaim and a nomination for the International Classical Music Awards.
Born in Minsk, Belarus, Bekker is now a U.S. citizen, proud husband to his wife, Jenny, and father to their children, Nathanael and Charlotte.
Bekker performs on the 1638 Franz Degen Andrea Guarneri violin, generously on loan to him from an anonymous patron.