Yuriy Bekker, critically-acclaimed violinist and conductor, has led the Charleston Symphony Orchestra as Concertmaster since 2007 and was named its Principal Pops Conductor in 2016. 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 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 is Music Director of Piccolo Spoleto Festival’s Spotlight Chamber Music Series and co-founder of the Charleston Chamber Music Institute. Mr. Bekker 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, Barcelona, Spain and Graz, Austria. 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 Charleston Symphony, Bekker has worked with notable guests artists such as Ben Folds, Tony Desare, Ellis Hall, and Cirque de la Symphonie.
Bekker’s recent and upcoming engagements include conductor and violinist with the Amarillo Symphony, violinist on Tchaikovsky's and Bruch's Concertos for Violin with the Charleston Symphony, 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 upcoming 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. Mr. Bekker has studied conducting with Christopher Wilkins, David Zinman, Imre Pallo and David Effron. His debut CD, Twentieth Century Duos, received world-wide acclaim and a nomination for the International Classical Music Awards. Born in Minsk, Belarus, Bekker is now a United States citizen, and is a proud husband and father to his wife, Jenny, and their toddler son, Nathanael.
"Bekker, whose usual role is concertmaster, commanded the score and inspired the players to make each phrase meaningful."
THE POST AND COURIER, CHARLESTON, SC