Joel Smirnoff


    Violinist, conductor and pedagogue Joel Smirnoff, a native of New York City, served as President of the Cleveland Institute of Music from 2008 until 2016.  As violinist, Smirnoff performed on four continents over 23 years as member of the Juilliard String Quartet, joining as second violin in 1986 and replacing the legendary Robert Mann as first violin in 1997. In addition to his Grammy-nominated SONY disks with the Juilliard Quartet, Smirnoff also has an extensive catalog of solo recordings, including the world premiere recordings of numerous contemporary works by composers as diverse as Louis Gruenberg and Joan Tower.

    In 1983, as second-prize winner of the International American Music Competition for Violin, Joel Smirnoff was awarded debuts at Carnegie Hall on its Emerging Artists series and at Town Hall on its Midtown Masters series. He was a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for six years in the 1980's and Head of String Studies at the Tanglewood Music Center during the late 1990's, where he was also conducting assistant to Seiji Ozawa. Presented by Maestro Ozawa at the Bernstein Memorial Concert of 1998 at Tanglewood, he made his official American conducting debut with the San Francisco Symphony in July, 2000, conducting an all-Tchaikovsky program.

    Joel Smirnoff has appeared as a conductor with many orchestras within the United States, Europe and Asia. He has participated in the world premieres of countless contemporary works, many of which were composed specifically for him.

    As music educator, Joel Smirnoff has served on the chamber music faculty of The Juilliard School since 1986 and on the violin faculty since 1989, serving as Chair from 1992 until 2008. In addition, he has served on the juries of the Naumburg, Seoul, Bartok, Indianapolis and Sendai Violin Competitions.