Daniil Boyko

Daniil Boyko

Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Country: Israel

  1. Biography of Daniel Boyko
  2. A Journey from Israel to Paris
  3. A Cultural Shock and a Shift in Passion
  4. A Shift towards Conducting
  5. A Life-changing Decision to Study in Russia
  6. The Responsibilities of an Assistant Conductor
  7. A Passion for Music and a Family

Biography of Daniel Boyko

Daniel Boyko, an assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, shared with "MIG" magazine in an interview how his fate led him to the position of an assistant conductor of the renowned New York Philharmonic Orchestra. This young, energetic man with a wide smile had never planned to become a musician, let alone a conductor. Classical music did not interest him. Although he received piano lessons from childhood and attended his father's concerts as a violinist, it did not awaken a special passion for music in him. However, his passion eventually awakened.

A Journey from Israel to Paris

Daniel Boyko's parents immigrated to Israel from the Soviet Union before his birth in 1967, as pioneers of a new wave. But how did he end up in Paris? Daniel's father was invited by Daniel Barenboim, who was then the conductor of the Orchestre de Paris, to become the concertmaster of the orchestra. Thus, Daniel and his brother spent four years in Paris. They attended an Israeli school there and spoke Hebrew all day, while speaking French on the streets. They enjoyed this experience. However, when it was time to return to Israel, Daniel's father unexpectedly received a call from his colleague in America. There was an opening for a second violinist in their quartet. Daniel's father auditioned, was accepted, and upon returning to Paris, he announced that they were going to Wisconsin. He still plays in the Fine Arts Quartet of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

A Cultural Shock and a Shift in Passion

Moving to Milwaukee was a cultural shock for Daniel. After Paris, he became even less interested in classical music and was more inclined towards rock and pop as a teenager. However, he still attended his father's quartet concerts diligently. It was in school where he discovered his passion for music. He joined the choir because of his good voice, and he enjoyed being part of the beautiful choral sound. He realized that music was not only enjoyable but also came naturally to him. He knew more than he thought, and it came effortlessly. When he went to college, he continued studying vocal music.

A Shift towards Conducting

Daniel's interest in conducting grew as he listened to orchestras rehearsing in college. The sound of the orchestra, the harmonies created by the combination of instruments, deeply moved him. He wanted to be among them, to be able to control and lead them. He started taking private conducting lessons from Victor Yampolsky. However, in order to pursue a career in conducting, he needed a degree. In America, it was challenging to find a master's program in conducting. There were only a few professors and a limited number of spots, such as at Juilliard, where there were only two conducting teachers and a handful of students. It was then that Daniel's father went on tour to Russia for the first time in twenty-five years. Someone told him about Ilya Musin, and he went to the St. Petersburg Conservatory to observe Musin's class. He was amazed by what he saw, and from that moment on, Daniel knew he had to study with Musin.

A Life-changing Decision to Study in Russia

Although many people, especially fellow emigrants, discouraged Daniel from returning to Russia, he considered it the most important step in his life. In Russia, conducting was respected as a true profession and art form. In American conservatories, conducting was not taught, and there were no opportunities for practical training. Daniel's education in Russia was immersive. He had the opportunity to work with experienced musicians and the conservatory orchestra. It was a complete immersion in music and the profession.

From Administrative Work to Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic

After returning to America, Daniel faced challenges as an outsider. Nobody knew him or his teacher. He took on any job available, including substitute positions in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and conducting provincial orchestras. He eventually won a competition for a several-year internship with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He also began teaching in Chicago. Everything seemed to be falling into place until he received a call from New York.

They offered him an administrative position in the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Daniel accepted the offer and became part of the artistic management team. Shortly after, Alan Gilbert was appointed as the music director of the orchestra and began looking for an assistant conductor. They announced a competition, and although Daniel initially did not want to participate due to potential conflicts of interest, he agreed when he learned he had been included. He considered it a rare opportunity to stand in front of the legendary New York Philharmonic Orchestra with a conductor's baton. He knew that even if he did not win the competition, he could show the orchestra that he had some conducting skills. After a rigorous selection process, Daniel was chosen for the position, and the decision was made collectively by the musicians of the orchestra.

The Responsibilities of an Assistant Conductor

As an assistant conductor, Daniel will conduct four concerts in the upcoming season, specifically from the "Young People's Concerts" series initiated by Leonard Bernstein. These concerts have interesting programs that help children enter the world of music from different perspectives. However, conducting is not the only responsibility. He must attend rehearsals and concerts of the music director and act as his "ears" in matters such as acoustics. He must also be prepared to replace the main conductor or any other conductor if necessary.

A Passion for Music and a Family

Daniel met his future wife while in St. Petersburg, and they have been together for fourteen years. They have a daughter who is twelve years old. Although his wife is not a musician, their daughter is involved in music. She plays the electric guitar and is part of a classic rock band. Daniel and his wife encourage her to explore different genres of music and appreciate her unique interests.

Daniel Boyko's journey in music has been a winding path, filled with unexpected opportunities and challenges. From his early disinterest in classical music to becoming an assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, he has embraced the passion and talent that emerged within him and continued to pursue his musical dreams.