Newly appointed music director and chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, Semyon Bychkov was born in St. Petersburg and studied at the Glinka Choir School and at the Leningrad Conservatory as a pupil of Ilya Musin. He won the Rachmaninoff Conducting Competition at age 20, but was denied the prize of conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic and immigrated to the United States.
Returning as principal guest conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic in 1989, Mr. Bychkov enjoyed success in the United States and Europe following a series of high-profile cancellations that resulted in invitations to conduct the New York and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He was named music director of the Orchestre de Paris in 1989, chief conductor of Cologne’s WDR Symphony Orchestra in 1997, and chief conductor of the Dresden Semperoper in 1998.
In the U.S. he can be heard annually with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and The Cleveland Orchestra. In Europe he is an annual guest of the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra, and tours frequently with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Vienna and Munich Philharmonic orchestras. He conducts in all the major opera houses including Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, Opéra national de Paris, Dresden Semperoper, Vienna Staatsoper, and Teatro Real Madrid, and is an annual guest at The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. He holds honorary titles at the Royal Academy of Music and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to the core repertoire, Mr. Bychkov has worked closely with contemporary composers including Berio, Dutilleux, and Kagel. In recent seasons he has worked closely with Julian Anderson, Richard Dubignon, Detlev Glanert, Thomas Larcher, and Renée Staar.
Following early concerts with the Czech Philharmonic in 2013, Mr. Bychkov devised The Tchaikovsky Project, a series of concerts, residencies, and studio recordings exploring Tchaikovsky, recording the results for Decca. The project, which included a festival at the New York Philharmonic in 2017, culminates in 2019 with residencies in Prague, Vienna, and Paris and the release of the complete recordings. In 2015 Semyon Bychkov was named Conductor of the Year by the International Opera Awards.
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