Music director and chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, Semyon Bychkov was born in Leningrad in 1952, immigrated to the United States in 1975, and has been based in Europe since the mid-1980s. In common with the orchestra, his background is firmly rooted in the cultures of both East and West.
Following concerts with the Czech Philharmonic in 2013, Mr. Bychkov and the orchestra devised The Tchaikovsky Project, a series of concerts, residencies, and recordings that enabled them to explore Tchaikovsky’s music together. The Tchaikovsky Project culminated in autumn 2019 with Decca Classics’ seven-disc release of the symphonies and residencies in Prague, Tokyo, Paris, and Vienna.
In 1989 Mr. Bychkov returned to St. Petersburg as the Philharmonic’s principal guest conductor and was named music director of the Orchestre de Paris. His international career was launched with a series of high-profile cancellations that resulted in invitations to conduct the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 1997 he was appointed chief conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and, in 1998, chief conductor of the Dresden Semperoper.
With repertoire that spans four centuries, Mr. Bychkov conducts the major orchestras and major opera houses in the United States and Europe — the combination of innate musicality and rigorous Russian pedagogy ensuring his performances are highly anticipated. He holds honorary titles with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with which he appears annually at the BBC Proms, and the Royal Academy of Music. He was named Conductor of the Year at the 2015 International Opera Awards.
Semyon Bychkov’s recording career began with Philips in 1986 with a collaboration that produced an extensive discography with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Orchestre de Paris. Subsequently, a series of benchmark recordings — the result of his 13-year collaboration (1997–2010) with WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne — included a complete cycle of Brahms symphonies and works by Richard Strauss, Mahler, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, Verdi, Glanert, and Höller. His recording of Wagner’s Lohengrin was voted BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Year in 2010, and his recording of Schmidt’s Symphony No. 2 with the Vienna Philharmonic was BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Month.
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