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Shocking news – conductor dies at 51

Word has just been released of the death of Yakov Kreizberg after a long illness.

He was chief conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic and the chamber orchestra. He last conducted them in Amsterdam on February 14.
I knew him at Glyndebourne and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, fill of vim and ambition, brilliant in Russian and Czech repertory. A courteous man with the sweetest smile, he came from a turbulent background and was on difficult terms with some family members, including his brother Semyon Bychkov. Their rivalry was a byword in the music business. Kreizberg took his mother’s surname to avoid confusion. I hope they settled their differences in time.
Yakov was married to the conductor Amy Andersson; they had two sons.
Here’s a tribute from his agent, Linda Marks.
And here’s Yakov’s website:
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  1. I’m shocked by this tragic news. I first met Kreizberg when he studied at Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute under Bernstein and Tilson-Thomas. As he was then just a “starving student” I took him out to eat…we joked about being related (Kransberg/Kreizberg). I should’ve been so fortunate. Yakov Kreizberg was a great talent and intellectual. Too young to have left us, that’s for sure.

  2. Paul Mann says:

    This is horrible, shocking news. I was Yakov’s assistant conductor in Bournemouth from 1996-8. He was the kindest, most generous-natured of men and a wonderful musician. I learnt so much from him, and will never forget the encouragement and help he gave me at a crucial time. (Not to mention his endless repertoire of jokes.) My heart goes out to his family for their terrible loss.

  3. Andrew Morris says:

    A huge loss. I found him as interesting to watch as to listen to. He moved on the podium like no one else – always supremely clear and flowing in his motions. I remember a tremendously powerful Shostakovich 4th Symphony with the LPO at the festival hall a few years ago, alongside a Dvorak Violin Concert from a violinist with whom was closely associated – Julia Fischer. They made some fantastic records together. How sad that we’ll never know how much he would have achieved.

  4. MusikAnT says:

    What a shock to read this. I didn’t even realize Kreizberg was in his 50s, let alone suffering from illness. He was a very fine conductor. I remember in particular a powerful performance of the Shostakovich 11th with the Los Angeles Philharmonic some years back; very impressive.
    I have quite a few of his recordings too. Especially fine was his recording of Franz Schmidt’s 4th Symphony. Never thought I’d hear the recording that would surpass the VPO/Mehta, but Kreizberg did it.
    A conductor of enormous talent and brilliance. What a loss for music.

  5. Yes, also surprised and shocked. Yakov and I were conducting students together, briefly in the early 80′s, at the University of Michigan. I remember his amazing score-reading ability at the piano which had a real sense of wizardry, and was the envy of all. I also remember a blazing performance of Rachmaninov 2nd Symphony which he gave in London with one of the orchestras (either Philharmonia or LPO) in the early 90′s. And he was a genuinely warm-hearted guy, which is rare in someone so talented and ambitious.
    This is very sad news.

  6. Jaap van Heerden says:

    I am shocked to hear this news. Yakov Kreizberg impressed me as both a superb conductor, and as a warm, wonderful human being.
    I feel fortunate to have have heard at least a half dozen concerts with him conducting, many of which had Julia Fischer as the soloist. I fondly remember their Mozart cycle in Frankfurt last May.
    Yakov and Julia had a special chemistry. His passing is a great loss to all of us.
    My sincere condolences to his wife and family.

  7. I cannot believe this news. But then again, I can’t believe all the tragedy that has occurred this past week in Japan. Yakov and I worked together in Germany, playing the Mendelssohn Concerto 3 times around Christmas time.
    He was bright, energetic and a young conductor very much on the rise. His heart seemed to move in rhythm with the music…..
    God bless and may he rest in peace.
    Anne Akiko Meyers

  8. How sad, what a brave man to keep his illness so private. He came to conduct us in Montreal with OSM, and it was always such a treat to work with him. RIP maestro.

  9. It is with great sadness I am writing my sincere farewell to my dear friend … I have stories upon stories I can post …
    Amy, if you read this, please contact me! I can be reached at or call me at 201.362.0054
    I loved him and will continue to do so til we see each other again.
    Peace and love to you,
    In full support,
    ~Jim Neglia
    Personnel Manager, NJ Symphony Orchestra
    Percussionist, NJ Symphony Orchestra

  10. Lisa Stephens says:

    I knew him as the father of my son’s friend. He was warm and sweet and a great father. Such sad news. My best wishes to Amy and the boys.

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