Classical Music

A Day In The Life Of An Artist: Yaniv Dinur

The conductor describes a day filled with coffee and good food, music and friends…and a raccoon…at the 2017 Round Top Music Festival.

What do artists do in their free time? What inspires them in their everyday life? How do they start their day, tackle their creative processes, balance work-life, and then unwind – all within 24 hours?

In this series, "A Day in the Life of an Artist," we'll invite artists to answer those questions by pulling back the curtain on one day in their lives.

Born in Jerusalem in 1981, Yaniv Dinur is the Assistant Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the New Bedford Symphony in Massachusetts. A fun fact is that Maestro Dinur started his conducting career at the age of 19, performing with the Israel Camerata, making him the youngest conductor ever to conduct an orchestra in Israel. Since then, he has conducted orchestras in Israel, Europe, The United States, Canada and Mexico, and he has won numerous international conducting competitions.

This week, Yaniv Dinur is in residence at the 2017 Round Top Music Festival, where he is preparing to conduct a program of masterpieces by Rossini, Brahms and Dvorak, as well as the annual Patriotic Concert. Now in its 47th season, the Round Top Music Festival is considered the "Tanglewood" of the Lone Star State. A summer conservatory for young professional musicians, distinguished faculty artists and guest conductors, the festival is also famous for its 210-acre campus in the Texas Hill Country, set amidst country roads, forests, gardens, Victorian homes and architecture.

Here is how conductor Yaniv Dinur spent June 29, 2017:



I slept in and missed breakfast. I'm not a morning person and, thankfully, rehearsal is not until 3:30pm. I am in search for coffee, without which I will be doomed. Yuji Kano, one of the interns, offers to drive me to the nearest coffee shop – Espressions Coffee & Art. They give a free cup of coffee per day to any Round Top Festival participant who comes over. They also make me a delicious breakfast burrito.



Yuji gives me a tour of the plaza at Festival Hill, as well as the swimming pool. The area looks like a resort, and the water is calling me to jump in. But something is bothering me. I've had that sensation before. Yes – it's my conscience. I still have to do some work on the score before rehearsal. With a heavy heart, I decide to go back to my room and study.



Lunch time. One of the Festival managers tells me that the chef used to cook for Frank Sinatra. I don't know if he was joking or not, but I decide to believe him. The food is delicious and includes different types of desserts that change every day. There is drip coffee available, but I learned that a secret espresso machine lives in the kitchen. I sneak in there and make myself a double espresso. I decide to take my strawberry rhubarb pie in a box and eat it in my room.



I am heading over to the concert hall for rehearsal. This is my favorite time of day, because I get to work with the fantastic orchestra of the Round Top Festival. The students who play in the orchestra are between 17 – 29 years old and come from 17 different countries. We are rehearsing for two different programs this week. The first one includes Rossini's Overture to La Gazza Ladra, Brahms' Violin Concerto with Regis Pasquier, and Dvorak's New World Symphony. The second concert is a 4th of July program that features Gershwin's American in Paris, a medley from Porgy and Bess for Trumpet & Orchestra with Raymond Riccomini (trumpet player of the Metropolitan Opera), Gershwin's Piano Concerto with James Dick (founder of the Round Top Festival), and more. Lots of work to do, and not a lot of time. We work hard, and by 6pm when the rehearsal ends, both the players and I are exhausted and hungry.



Alain Déclert, the Festival's Program Director, is picking me up to have dinner at his place. He lives in a beautiful house in the middle of the forest. The two other guests are French like Alain – pianist Francois Dumont and violinist Regis Pasquier. Alain is serving us salad, paella, and for dessert – crème renversée. And wine. Lots of wine. They all speak in a mix of French and English and I'm trying to follow. Regis is telling funny, amazing stories about people he had met and played with – great conductors like Leonard Bernstein, Lorin Maazel, and George Szell. He even ran into Salvador Dalí one time in New York. Alain is an animal lover. He feeds two families of about 10 raccoons that live around his house. At around 9pm, a raccoon appears at the window to remind Alain that it's almost time to eat. (Take a good look at the back of the photo.)

The night keeps going, we drink more wine and get into an argument about musical ornaments, grace notes, trills, et cetera. Each of us goes up to the piano and plays a passage that challenges the different theories. It's already 11pm, and tomorrow we have a rehearsal at 9:30am. Yikes! But it's too late to quit now... Goodnight!


Yaniv Dinur conducts the Texas Festival Orchestra at the 2017 Round Top Music Festival in two concerts: Saturday, July 1, 7:30pm, featuring Rossini's Overture to La Gazza Ladra, Brahms' Violin Concerto (with Regis Pasquier, violin) and Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World"; Sunday, July 2, 3pm, featuring a Patriotic Concert.


Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

More Information