Semyon Bychkov won the Rachmaninoff Conducting Competition at age 20, but after being denied the prize of conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic, he left the former Soviet Union. By the time he returned in 1989, to be principal guest conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic, he was internationally acclaimed and had served as music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He subsequently served as music director of the Orchestre de Paris (1989), chief conductor of Cologne’s WDR Symphony Orchestra (1997), and chief conductor of the Dresden Semperoper (1998).
Semyon Bychkov studied conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory with Ilya Musin. His repertoire spans the music of four centuries. In the opera house, Mr. Bychkov is especially recognized for his interpretations of Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, and Verdi. He recently conducted Wagner’s Parsifal at Madrid’s Teatro Real and the Vienna Staatsoper, and Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. His return to Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in 2015 after 15 years signaled the beginning of a period in which the music of Russia — particularly Tchaikovsky — became a major focus of his repertoire. Projects in London and New York, together with recordings of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies and concertos with the Czech Philharmonic, form the backbone of Mr. Bychkov’s programming, which looks to the music of the conductor’s formative years.
Mr. Bychkov’s symphonic engagements include regular invitations to the Berlin, Los Angeles, and New York philharmonic orchestras; BBC, Chicago, London, RAI National, and San Francisco symphony orchestras; and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Orchestra della Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Orchestre National de France, as well as annual tours with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Munich and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras. His recordings include discs with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, as well as 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, and Verdi; and a recording of Wagner’s Lohengrin that was voted BBC Music Magazine’s Disc 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.