Yoel Levi (1978)

Lyre d’Or with prize “Emile Vuillermoz” of the 28th International Competition for Young Conductors

[Israeli, 28 years the day of the Final]

Pierre Dervaux, jury chairman

Recently appointed Musical Director and Chief Conductor at the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, Yoel Levi is known throughout the world for his work at the head of many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, his repertoire of symphonic, operatic and lyric works and his extensive discography.

Having won first prize at the International Competition for Young Conductors in Besançon in 1978, he spent six years as assistant to Lorin Maazel before becoming Musical Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 1988 to 2000. It was during this period that the British magazine Gramophone applauded his impact on the artistic standard of the orchestra: ‘Yoel Levi has built a reputation for himself and for his orchestra that is increasingly the envy of the big five American counterparts in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Boston and Chicago’. This sentiment was seconded with the nomination of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as ‘Best orchestra of the Year’ for 1991/1992 at the First Annual International Classical Music Awards.

Yoel Levi has also held positions with several European orchestras, where he has consistently raised performances to new and critically acclaimed levels. Having been Principal Conductor of the Brussels Orchestre de la Radio Flamande (2001 to 2007) he was appointed Musical Director of the Orchestre National d’Ile de France in 2005. He held this post until 2012, giving regular concerts in Paris and the Ile de France area. He also increasingly took the orchestra on tour to locations such as Spain, Eastern Europe and London, where the media praised the orchestra as being one of the most inspiring and dynamic orchestras in Europe.

Yoel Levi’s engagements as Guest Conductor have taken him all over the world to conduct leading orchestras in London, Paris, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Rome, Frankfurt, Munich, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Israel, Korea and Japan. In North America, he has conducted the New York Philharmonic and the orchestras of Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Washington, Minnesota, Toronto and Montreal, among others.

He is also the first Israeli to serve as Principal Guest Conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with which he has toured the United States and Mexico as well as giving a special concert celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the State of Israel. Other recent tours include an extensive tour of New Zealand with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and highly acclaimed concerts in Spain with the Orchestre de Paris. Yoel Levi is regularly invited to conduct at special events such as the Nobel Prize Ceremony at the head of the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ever since his 1997 debut in the orchestra pit at the Teatro Communale in Florence conducting La Fanciulla del West, Yoel Levi has devoted a considerable part of his activities to the opera repertoire, conducting Carmen at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Makropulos Case by Janacek in Prague and Puccini’s Edgar with the Orchestre National de France.   At the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, he conducted Mozart’s The Magic Flute and The abduction of the Seraglio, and Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle. With the Brussels Philharmonic, Yoel Levi conducted Puccini’s Tosca, La Traviata and Madame Butterfly and recent performances have included Tosca during the Puccini festival in Torre de Lago, Italy. In France he has conducted Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites, Nabucco with the Nicolas de Grigny Choir at the Stade de France in front of an audience of 60,000 people, recorded and broadcast live throughout Europe.  Others performances have included Aida, Elixir of Love, Hansel and Gretel and La Bohème, among others.

Yoel Levi was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree by Oglethorpe University in Atlanta in 1997 and also gave the commencement address.  In June 2001 he was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government.

Agent : KMI

Photo © Axel Saxe