Semyon Bychkov

Conductor

Elektra was sheer magnificence from its volcanic opening phrase to the heroine’s dying fall… Under Bychkov’s magisterial baton the seven terse scenes of this quintessentially Freudian work unfolded with inexorable force…”

Michael Church

The Independent

Otto Klemperer Chair of Conducting, Royal Academy of Music (London)
Günter Wand Conducting Chair, BBC Symphony Orchestra

Born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) in 1952, Semyon Bychkov was 20 when he won the Rachmaninov Conducting Competition. Two years later, having been denied his prize of conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, he left the former Soviet Union where, from the age of five, he had been singled out for an extraordinarily privileged education in music. First studying piano, Bychkov was later selected to study at the Glinka Choir School and received his first conducting lesson aged 13. Four years later he enrolled at the Leningrad Conservatory where he studied conducting with the legendary Ilya Musin.

By the time Bychkov returned to St Petersburg in 1989 as the Philharmonic’s Principal Guest Conductor, he had enjoyed success in the US as Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic. His international career, which had begun in France where he made his debuts with the Opéra de Lyon and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, had taken off when a series of high-profile cancellations resulted in invitations to conduct the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras. In 1989, he was named Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris; in 1997, Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne; and, the following year, Chief Conductor of the Dresden Semperoper.

Semyon Bychkov’s approach to music making combines innate musicality with the rigours of Russian pedagogy. With his time carefully balanced between the concert hall and the opera house, Bychkov conducts repertoire that spans four centuries.

Widely recognised for his interpretation of Strauss, Wagner and Verdi, Bychkov’s operatic repertoire is broad and, as Principal Guest Conductor of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, was awarded the prestigious Premio Abbiati for his productions of Janáček’s Jenufa, Schubert’s Fierrabras, Puccini’s La bohème, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. Most recently, Semyon Bychkov conducted Wagner’s Parsifal at Teatro Real, Madrid and the Vienna Staatsoper, and Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Royal Opera House.

Starting the 2016-17 season with the launch of the Tchaikovsky Project: Beloved Friend, with festivals in London with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and New York with the New York Philharmonic, together with recordings of the symphonies and concertos with the Czech Philharmonic; Bychkov toured with the Concertgebouw Orchestra to Vienna, Bratislava, Washington and New York, as well as giving guest performances with the Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and the Cleveland Orchestra.

Bychkov’s recording career began in 1986 when he signed with Philips and began a significant collaboration which produced an extensive discography with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio, Royal Concertgebouw, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris, with whom he recorded Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin later chosen by Opera Magazine as one of the 30 ‘all-time great recordings’. These were followed by a series of benchmark recordings, the result of his 13-year collaboration (1997-2010) with WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne. The repertoire includes a complete cycle of Brahms Symphonies, and works by Strauss (Elektra, Daphne, Ein Heldenleben, Metamorphosen, Alpensinfonie, Till Eulenspiegel), Mahler (Symphony No. 3, Das Lied von der Erde), Shostakovich (Symphony Nos. 4, 7, 8, 10, 11), Rachmaninov, Verdi (Requiem), Detlev Glanert and York Höller. His recording of Lohengrin was voted BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Year in 2010. In October 2016, Decca released the first CD of the Tchaikovsky Project, a long-term collaboration with the Czech Philharmonic which will encompass all of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies. The first release featured Symphony No. 6 Pathétique coupled with Romeo & Juliet Fantasy-Overture.

Semyon Bychkov currently holds the Klemperer Chair of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, and the Gunther Wand Chair with the BBC Symphony Orchestra with whom he appears annually at the BBC Proms. Semyon Bychkov was named 2015 Conductor of the Year by the International Opera Awards.

 

 

Otto Klemperer Chair of Conducting, Royal Academy of Music (London)

Günter Wand Conducting Chair, BBC Symphony Orchestra


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News

“Legendary” – Semyon Bychkov Conducts Vienna State Opera’s Triumphant Khovanshchina

Semyon Bychkov led the Wiener Staatsoper in a “legendary” (Der Kurier) performance of Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina on 15th November 2014. This new production, the opera’s return to the Viennese stage after a twenty-year absence, features an extraordinary cast including Ferruccio Fulanetto (Iwan Chowanski), Christopher Ventris (Andrei Chowanski), Herbert Lippert (Golizyn), Andrzej Dobber (Schaklowity), Ain Anger (Dossifei) and Norbert Ernst (Schreiber).


Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie / Bychkov · Berliner Philharmoniker Gustav Mahler Das Lied von der Erde Il canto della terra; WDR
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