Semyon Bychkov won the Rachmaninoff Conducting Competition at age 20, but after having been denied the prize of conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic, he left the former Soviet Union two years later. By the time he returned in 1989 as 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 and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He has since been music director of the Orchestre de Paris (1989–98); chief conductor of WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne (1997–2010); and chief conductor of the Dresden Semperoper (1998).
In addition to regular appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, RAI National Symphony, New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, and the BBC, London, Chicago, and San Francisco symphony orchestras, Mr. Bychkov’s conducts annual tours with the Munich Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Vienna Philharmonic. In the opera house he is recognized for interpretation of 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 Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov were awarded the Premio Abbiati. Other conducting appearances include Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina at Vienna Staatsoper, and Wagner’s Parsifal at Madrid’s Teatro Real.
Mr. Bychkov’s recordings with the Philips label include discs with the Berlin and London Philharmonic Orchestras, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, and Orchestre de Paris. A series of benchmark recordings with Cologne’s WDR Symphony Orchestra includes 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..
Semyon Bychkov 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. He was named Conductor of the Year at the 2015 International Opera Awards.
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