Semyon Bychkov won the Rachmaninov Conducting Competition at age 20, but after being denied the prize of conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic, he left the former Soviet Union two years later. By the time he returned in 1989 to be principal guest conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic he had been recognized for his concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and had enjoyed success as music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic. He has since served as music director of the Orchestre de Paris (1989–1998) and chief conductor of Cologne’s WDR Symphony Orchestra (1997–2010) and Dresden Semperoper (1998). In addition to regular appearances at the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra della Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino, Orchestre National de France, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mr. Bychkov’s symphonic engagements include annual tours with the Munich and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. His repertoire spans the music of four centuries. In the opera house Mr. Bychkov is recognized for his interpretations of Richard Strauss, Wagner, and Verdi. While principal guest conductor of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, his productions of Janáček’s Jenůfa, Schubert’s Fierrabras, Puccini’s La bohème, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov were awarded the prestigious Premio Abbiati. Most recently he conducted Musorgsky’s Khovanshchina at the Vienna Staatsoper, and over next season he will conduct Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and Wagner’s Parsifal at Madrid’s Teatro Real. Mr. Bychkov’s recordings with Philips include discs with the Berlin and London Philharmonic Orchestras, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, and Orchestre de Paris, which were followed by a series of benchmark recordings with Cologne’s WDR Symphony Orchestra, including a cycle of Brahms’s complete symphonies; works by Richard Strauss, Mahler, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, Verdi, Detlev Glanert, and York Höller; and a recording of Wagner’s Lohengrin, which was voted BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Year. Semyon Bychkov currently holds the Klemperer Chair of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, and the Günter Wand Conducting Chair with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with which he appears annually at the BBC Proms. The International Opera Awards named him 2015’s Conductor of the Year.
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