Since 2014, conductor, composer, and violinist Yaniv Segal has been the assistant conductor to Andrey Boreyko at the Naples Philharmonic, and music director of the Naples Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. During the 2016-17 season Yaniv leads the Naples Philharmonic in nearly twenty different programs, encompassing a wide variety of styles including classical, educational, and pops programming. In December of 2016, he shared the stage with legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman in a concert that the Naples Daily News called “off the charts.” The second half featured Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral and Respighi’s Pines of Rome, which the reviewer noted was “one of the most exciting ever heard” and that “any classical music lover who missed this concert should weep.” Yaniv recently made his debuts with the Toledo Symphony and Orlando Philharmonic, and served as a cover conductor for Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. A versatile musician, the New York Times praised his performance of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the Chelsea Symphony as an “earnest, vibrant account,” and Esquire Magazine profiled him as a rising star that is “redefining classical music.”
Last season, Yaniv released a CD entitled Joy and Sorrow that features all-new music by David Chesky performed by the Chelsea Symphony, with soloists Artur Kaganovskiy, Ethan Herschenfeld, Moran Katz and Kristina Reiko Cooper. Recorded using the latest binaural technology, the album was called “a winner” by Fanfare Magazine. Yaniv also recorded David Chesky’s score to the animated film The Mice War, an opera geared towards teaching children’ the folly of war.
As part of the Krzysztof Penderecki Festival in Warsaw, Yaniv has prepared programs for and assisted conductors Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Maximiano Valdes, and Rafael Payare. Yaniv’s performance with the Krakow Philharmonic and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and his Krakow Opera debut, the Polish premiere of The Mice War, were met with great success. Yaniv’s debut with the Macon Symphony prompted the Telegraph to report that he is “more progressive than many” and that “Segal left us wishing the concert could have gone longer.” His performances with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra led the Pantagraph to call him a “talented director,” while the Giornale di Sicilia called him “enthusiastic, lively, and incisive” when describing his Italian debut with the Sinfonica Siciliana di Palermo.
In October of 2013, the Chelsea Symphony under Yaniv’s baton premiered his new Rite of Spring (Redux), an reduced arrangement of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring for modern orchestra including electric guitar, bass guitar, and saxophone. In the 2016-17 season, the Naples Philharmonic will perform several of Yaniv’s works, including a new orchestral arrangement of Beethoven’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in C Minor Opus 30, No. 2.
In the spotlight from a young age, Yaniv’s first public performance was as an eight year old violinist. He later was a soloist several times with the Yonkers Philharmonic, and performed chamber music with members of the New York Philharmonic on both violin and viola. As an eight year old boy soprano, Yaniv joined the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus and sang both in the choir and as a soloist with great conductors such as James Levine, Valery Gergiev and Georg Solti, sharing the stage with leading singers Samuel Ramey, Luciano Pavarotti, and Dawn Upshaw, among others. Yaniv continued to perform as a singer and actor when he toured the USA and Japan as Colin in The Secret Garden, which he performed alongside Tony award winner Audra McDonald. His stage acting career culminated in a role in Tom Stoppard’s Hapgood, which he performed at Lincoln Center alongside celebrated actors Stockard Channing, David Straithairn and Josef Sommers. In the early 90s, you could hear Yaniv sing on TV commercials for Pepsi as well as on compact discs ranging from classical opera to rock and folk music.
A strong believer and advocate of music that is relevant to modern culture, Yaniv used his professional knowledge and experience to found three music organizations. He first cofounded and music directed the Mahagonny Ensemble at Vassar College – a chamber orchestra devoted to music of the past 100 years. While a freelancer in NYC, he was a founding board member and violinist with the Pamplemousse Ensemble – a contemporary ensemble dedicated to cutting edge new music and multi-disciplinary performances. In 2005, he founded and music directed the Chelsea Symphony – an orchestra that provides unique performance opportunities for both rising and established instrumentalists, composers and conductors. The Chelsea Symphony has performed dozens of world premieres, and presents programs of under-programmed works alongside standard repertoire.
Yaniv is dedicated to bringing classical music of all types to a broader, more mainstream audience. As a music director of the Michigan Pops Orchestra for two years, he programmed exciting concerts and blurred the distinction between genres, often juxtaposing works by classical composers such as Wagner and Mahler against more familiar music from films such as Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, and by rock groups such as the Beatles or R.E.M. He also presented several world premieres including a special US premiere of Australian composer Matthew Hindson’s Litespeed, spearheaded a concerto competition for local high school music students, and expanded the size of the orchestra to over 100 musicians.
Known for having a strong rapport with orchestral musicians and audiences alike, Yaniv has also worked as an assistant and cover conductor with the New York Youth Symphony, Princeton Symphony and at the Manhattan School of Music, among others. In past seasons, Yaniv has conducted the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, New Symphony Orchestra (Bulgaria), Thuringen Philharmonie (Germany), Ukrainian State Symphony, Castleton Festival Orchestra, University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music Symphony, Greenwich Village Orchestra, and Stamford Young People’s Symphony. As a collaborative conductor, he has accompanied great artists such as Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Mark Peskanov, and Francesco Libetti, in venues from Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center to Brooklyn’s intimate Bargemusic.
In 2013 Yaniv finished his graduate degrees in conducting and composition at the University of Michigan, where he was in the studio of renowned conductor and pedagogue, Kenneth Kiesler. Yaniv has also had the opportunity to study with preeminent conductors Kurt Masur, Michael Tilson Thomas, Lorin Maazel, and Gustav Meier. His principle composition teachers have included Tristan Murail, Bright Sheng, Evan Chambers, and Kristin Kuster.
The child of Polish and Israeli immigrants, Yaniv grew up speaking three languages in a multi-cultural household. In support of his education, achievements, and contributions to American Society he was one of thirty-two recipients of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans in 2009.