Yoav Talmi was born in 1943 in Kibboutz Merhavia, Palestine. He studied composition and orchestral direction first in Israel, at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel-Aviv, and then in the United States, at the Juilliard School.
He has been the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Quebec Symphony in Quebec City, Canada, since 1998. He is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra in Tel Aviv. Previously, he acted as music director of the San Diego Symphony and the Arnhem Philharmonic (Netherlands).
At age 23, he received the Koussevitzky Memorial Conducting Prize. In 1973, he won the Rupert Conductor’s Competition in London. In 2001, Laval University, in Quebec City, awarded him an honorary doctorate.
On March 15th, 2008, Yoav Talmi conducted Mahler's Eighth Symphony or "Symphony of a Thousand," with a thousand singers and musicians on stage. The performance took place in Quebec City as part of the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of the town. Mahler himself conducted this symphony with a similar number of musicians in 1910, in Berlin. Although it has been performed and recorded since, it was seldom played with such large orchestra and choir. So, it is worth noting that Christoph Eschenbach also conducted Malher's 8th with approximately 800 participants in March 2008, in Paris.
On August 25, 2008, Yoav Talmi conducted the Quebec city Symphonic Orchestra in their rendition of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, also part of the festivities surrounding the 400th anniversary of the city. It should be noted that this exceptional performance was presented under a starlit sky on the plains of Abraham, with the assistance of the Royal 22th regiment of the Canadian armed forces. The latter provided the concert with full canon pyrotechnics.