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Biography
Yula Ziskel

A member of the New York Philharmonic’s first violin section since 2001, Yulia Ziskel, who holds The Friends and Patrons Chair, has established herself as a highly acclaimed solo, chamber, and orchestral musician. She has been praised by The Strad Magazine for “the sweetness of her sound.”

Ms. Ziskel’s recent appearances apart from the Philharmonic include a successful tour of Spain and the Ballearic Islands and recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Merkin Concert Hall as well as venues in Italy, Germany, and Russia. Her solo appearances include performances with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, South Florida Symphony, New York Chamber Symphony Orchestra, and St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra. She has performed chamber music at Minato Mirai Hall in Yokohama, Japan; former Philharmonic Music Director Lorin Maazel’s private theater for the Chateuville Foundation; Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York for the Kosciuszko Foundation; and with Philharmonic colleagues during Saturday Matinee Concerts at Avery Fisher Hall and the New York Philharmonic Ensembles series at Merkin Concert Hall. Ms. Ziskel has also appeared on numerous radio programs, including WQXR’s The Listening Room, hosted by Robert Sherman. Her awards include First Prize in the Assembly of Arts International Violin Competition; the New Names award, one of the highest honors for young talent in Russia; and the Anna Bernstein Memorial Award.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Yulia Ziskel began her musical training on the violin and piano at the age of four. She made her solo debut at age seven at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall and at age twelve was a soloist with St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra. As a teenager she toured extensively, appearing in solo recitals throughout Russia, Germany, Finland, Poland, and the United States. In 1994 Ms. Ziskel’s family immigrated to the United States, where she completed her bachelor of music degree at Indiana University and later received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. Her teachers included Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow and violinist Yoko Takebe as well as Nelli Shkolnikiva, Lev Ivashenko, and Eugenia Poustireva.

Ms. Ziskel’s debut solo CD on the Sonoris label includes works by Wieniawski, Tchaikovsky, Ysaÿe, Brahms, and Paganini and features pianist Tatiana Goncharova, and her recording of chamber music was released on the Naxos label.

“I love being able to communicate with the audience through this very special language of music. There are so many colors, moods, and shapes; we try to interpret the composers’ thoughts and yet add our own personal voice.”

Q&A with Yulia Ziskel

THE FACTS: Born in St. Petersburg, Russia. Bachelor’s degree, Indiana University; master’s degree, The Juilliard School. Prior to the Philharmonic: New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster of the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Japan. At the Philharmonic: Joined in September 2001.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: Going to concerts in St. Petersburg, hearing the greatest artists, and wanting to be one of them. I started piano and violin at age four. At seven I auditioned on the violin at the Music School of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and it became my primary instrument. At the conservatory, we played many concerts in St. Petersburg and had opportunities to perform abroad, which was unheard of in Russia.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: A Concert for New York, when we performed Mahler’s Second Symphony, Resurrection, with Alan Gilbert conducting, on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th tragedy. It was such a moving experience for everyone; knowing that relatives of the victims were in the hall with us made it unforgettable.

IF YOU COULD PLAY ANOTHER INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Piano. It has a beautiful repertoire, a wonderful array of colors, and a huge range. I studied for many years but had to give it up for the violin.

MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES: I first fell in love with the Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos, Rachmaninoff’s piano music, and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Great Russian and Italian operas inspired me to become a serious musician. I was also inspired by recordings of Nathan Milstein, Sviatoslav Richter, David Oistrakh, and Vladimir Horowitz.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? I love being able to communicate with the audience through this very special language of music. There are so many colors, moods, and shapes; we try to interpret the composers’ thoughts and yet add our own personal voice. Being on stage is addictive — adrenaline goes way up, but I love this rush as it brings out something amazing.

ARE THERE OTHER MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My husband, Joseph Deninzon, is a jazz / rock violinist

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Read, watch movies, travel, enjoy great food, and spend time with my friends and family.

As of December 2014

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