Internationally acclaimed conductor, Maestro Edvard Tchivzhel, serves as Music Director and Conductor, Emeritus of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra.

He has optioned his story, “The Last Defector”, for film development with Studio 15. His book is also seeking publication.

Tchivzhel continues to maintain an active guest conducting calendar throughout the USA and internationally.

“Maestro Tchivzhel is, simply put, a master... there is an authority and authenticity in his music-making that is indisputably commanding and communicative”

Yo-Yo Ma after performing with Tchivzhel in 2004


atch Maestro’s acclaimed performances on YouTube



maestro’s acclaimed performances on YouTube




oncert highlights

Maestro Performs Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony: January 2025

Maestro Performs Swan Lake With International Ballet: May 2024

Maestro Performs “The Nutcracker” with GSO and International Ballet: December 2023

Holiday at Peace 2023

Maestro Performs Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony: April 2023

Maestro Performs Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme: April 2023


ussian by birth, American by choice


ussian by birth,

American by choice

Edvard Tchivzhel, a distinguished conductor trained at the prestigious Leningrad Conservatory chose freedom instead of a guaranteed career and acclaim in the USSR.

Greenville welcomed Tchivzhel after a dramatic defection from the Soviet Union in 1991. Finally free from political oppression, his artistic expression flourished (as did his career) guest-conducting the world’s finest orchestras and leaving lasting legacies as Music Director of the Atlantic Sinfonietta, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and Greenville Symphony. He remains popular in the ANZ region, having served as Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor of the Auckland Philharmonia and Permanent Guest Conductor of the Queensland Symphony (Brisbane).

His journey, marked by resilience and artistic excellence, celebrates his American dream, affirming his choice of liberty and opportunity in his adopted homeland.

Read more about the incredible story of his Defection and watch his celebration of 25 Years as an American.

When the Greenville Symphony needed a new conductor amid a critical transition in leadership, Tchivzhel accepted the invitation to lead the Greenville Symphony Orchestra as Music Director in 1999.

During his quarter-century of artistic leadership, the orchestra transformed from a small regional orchestra into a nationally-recognized organization known for artistic excellence and attracting the world’s best guest-artists.

Tchivzhel quickly became a pivotal figure in the local arts community, credited with elevating the cultural life of Greenville and raising the profile of the orchestra to become Greenville’s flagship arts organization.

Never forgetting the hospitality of the Greenville community during his first days in America, Tchivzhel settled in Greenville in 2008 as his permanent home.


he Last Defector

Tchivzhel has partnered with Studio 15 to develop a film about his amazing personal story, chronicling his defection from the USSR in 1991.

Tchivzhel has partnered with Studio 15 to develop a film about his amazing personal story, chronicling his defection from the USSR in 1991.


The incredible life stories of Edvard Tchivzhel and Lena Forster—a stunning biopic dramatizing Tchivzhel’s daring defection, Forster’s courageous pursuit of freedom for a fellow artist and his family, and the fruitful artistic careers that followed.