Scott Yoo

About Scott Yoo

Scott Yoo is a conductor who has also pursued a successful career as a violinist. A champion of contemporary music, he had premiered 76 works by 39 composers as of late 2019.
Yoo was born in Tokyo on April 25, 1971, but raised in Glastonbury, Connecticut. His father was Korean, and his mother was Japanese. Yoo took up the violin at age three and made rapid progress, winning a contest whose prize was a solo slot with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, playing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64. He entered the Juilliard School in New York at 16, studying with Paul Kantor and Dorothy DeLay. Yoo then added two more prestigious prizes to his collection, winning Brazil's Josef Gingold International Violin Competition in 1988 and the Young Concert Artists Auditions in 1989. Shortly after the latter event, he broke his left index finger and temporarily put his music career on hold, attending Harvard University and studying physics, but Yoo could not put music out of his mind. He did some conducting of a student orchestra at Harvard, and with another Harvard alumnus, Richard Lim, he formed the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra in 1993. That group performed often around Boston for several years and sharpened Yoo's conducting chops.
In 1997, he became the assistant conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and he performed widely as a guest conductor in the U.S., Britain, and Asia, leading the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra at New York's Carnegie Hall. He has also continued to make solo appearances as a violinist, playing concertos with the Dallas Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, among many others. In 2016, he became the first foreign-born chief conductor of the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra. Yoo became music director of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival (now Festival Mozaic) in 2005, and in 2019, he began serving as host and executive producer of the Public Broadcasting Service television series, Now Hear This, the first prime-time classical music series on U.S. television in many years.
Yoo has made more than a dozen recordings, focusing predominantly but not exclusively on contemporary music. He has recorded the music of Earl Kim both as a conductor and as a solo violinist. In 2019, Yoo led the Odense Symphony Orchestra and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott in the first of a series of recordings of Mozart piano concertos. ~ James Manheim

  • HOMETOWN
    Tokyo, Japan
  • BORN
    April 25, 1971

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