The language of music


Whether singing soft drink jingles as a soprano, learning the violin at a young age, or composing and conducting major orchestral pieces as an adult, Yaniv Segal has had an unconventional musical career. .

The son of a Polish violinist and an Israeli luthier, the New York native was introduced to the violin as a little boy while working as a child actor and singer. He sang in the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus and toured the United States and Japan on the first national tour of the musical “The Secret Garden.”

As a boy soprano, he sang in television commercials for Pepsi, as well as on numerous CDs ranging from classical opera to rock and folk music.

Segal’s stage acting career culminated with a production of Tom Stoppard’s play “Hapgood” at New York’s Lincoln Center, where he played the titular character’s teenage son to great acclaim.

At that time, he decided to focus exclusively on music as a career, as a violinist, composer, and ultimately conductor. Segal said conducting, like acting, is another form of communication from artist to audience.

“It’s about determining your intention and making it known to the public,” he said. “There was a time in my life when I couldn’t say what I wanted to say with words, that’s why I got into music.”

Segal is the third of five finalists vying for the position of conductor and musical director of the Salina Symphony Orchestra. His concert, “Take Flight,” will be at 4 p.m. on Jan. 30 at the Stiefel Theater for the Performing Arts, 151 S. Santa Fe.

The program begins with a performance of Antonin Dvorak’s “Slavic Dance No. 8”, followed by an original “symphonic poem” by young contemporary composer Polina Nazaykinskaya titled “Fenix”.

Nazaykinskaya plans to attend the concert and participate in a pre-concert talk with Segal and guest cellist Hannah Collins at 3 p.m. in the Watson Room of the Stiefel Theater. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m.

Collins, an acclaimed musician who teaches at the University of Kansas, will perform Joseph Haydn’s “Cello Concerto No. 1” with the Salina Symphony. Segal, who has known Collins for many years, said audiences would be “blown away” by his playing.

“It’s good to work with a friend, but it’s better to know that the artist who is coming is world class,” he said.

Segal will also conduct the Symphony in a rendition of “Symphony No. 5” by Jean Sibelius, who he says is one of his favorite composers.

“He’s a composer with his own language,” Segal said. “The music grows and grows until you are overwhelmed by this incredible orchestral palace. It is a magical piece that is fitting for this time as we begin to emerge from a pandemic.”

An orchestral tradition

Segal grew up in New York speaking three languages ​​in a multicultural household.

“I grew up in an orchestral tradition,” he said. “My mother was a violinist with the New York Philharmonic, so I had an understanding of the inside of an orchestra, how to work with people to get them to produce something bigger than their parts.”

Currently living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Segal completed his graduate studies at the University of Michigan in 2013 with renowned conducting pedagogue Kenneth Kiesler and McArthur Prize-winning composer Bright Sheng.

As a conductor and composer, Segal has worked with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Kansai Philharmonic, Ann Arbor Symphony, Cleveland Opera, and Beethoven Academy Orchestra.

As deputy conductor of the Naples Philharmonic from 2014 to 2017, Segal conducted almost 20 different programs each year, including a concert with legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman.

The Chelsea Symphony premiered Segal’s Cello Concerto in 2015 and “Rite of Spring (Redux)” in 2013, which was a revamp of Stravinsky’s seminal work that included electric guitar, bass and saxophone.

Deeply committed to the next generation of musicians and music lovers, Segal has also written a concert work for chamber orchestra and narrator entitled “The Harmony Games” which introduces listeners, especially young listeners, to the instruments of the orchestra while demonstrating the links between music and mathematics.

“They kinda walk away saying the music is great, I want more,” Segal said. “It’s so important for the symphony orchestra to develop new audiences, future musicians, listeners and audiences.”

Segal said that when he researched the Salina Symphony Orchestra, he was impressed with the “high level of performance” of community musicians and the organization’s continued dedication to bringing cultural life to the community. their community.

“My job would be to raise the bar, the ceiling, every time they play, and I’m confident I can do that,” he said. “It’s about figuring out what the orchestra needs and what the audience needs, and then putting it all together.”

take the cello

Like Segal, Collins grew up in a musical family. Her mother played the piano and her sister the violin, so Collins took up the cello so the family could play together as a trio.

“It happens in a lot of musical families,” she said.

In addition to earning graduate degrees in cello performance from the Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and the City University of New York Graduate Center, Collins holds a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Yale.

“When I was 18, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” she said. “I wasn’t ready to decide yet. I always feel like that. I would stay in school forever if I could, but eventually I focused on music.

Solo and chamber music performances have taken Collins to festivals such as Orford Center for the Arts, Kneisel Hall, the Aldeburgh Festival and Chamber Music at Giverny. She is a member of the Bach Aria Soloists, Cantata Profana and the Grossman Ensemble and has performed with The Knights, Decoda, Talea Ensemble, A Far Cry and NOVUS NY.

She also performs regularly as a baroque cellist with the Sebastians, New York Baroque Incorporated, Quodlibet Ensemble and the Trinity Baroque Orchestra.

Collins is currently an assistant cello professor at the University of Kansas School of Music.

For the Salina Symphony performance, Collins will perform Haydn’s First Cello Concerto and premiere two new cadenzas by Spanish cellist and composer Andrea Casarrubios written especially for this concert.

“I’m extremely excited to work with the Salina Symphony and with Yaniv,” she said. “The past two years have been difficult for performing musicians. It’s caused some incredible innovation, but it’s no substitute for being in the same room experiencing things with someone next to you.

Concert tickets

Tickets for the concert can be purchased at the Stiefel Theater box office at 785-827-1998 or online at Single entry tickets cost $29 or $39 for adults and $19 for students.

Please visit the Salina Symphony website for up-to-date information on the Stiefel Theater’s COVID-19 policy.

For more information, contact the Salina Symphony office at 823-8309 or visit


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