Semyon Bychkov served for thirteen years as chief conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne. He holds the Otto Klemperer Chair of Conducting Studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Günter Wand Conducting Chair at the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and he has served as principal guest conductor and music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony, music director of the Orchestre de Paris, and principal guest conductor of Russia’s Saint Petersburg Philharmonic and Florence's Maggio Musicale. As an opera conductor, Mr. Bychkov made his La Scala debut in 1996 with Puccini’s Tosca and returned there in 2005 to conduct Elektra. While chief conductor of the Semper Opera in Dresden (1998-2003), Mr. Bychkov led new productions of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District and Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Die Walküre. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2004 with Boris Godunov and later that year debuted at the Salzburg Festival with Der Rosenkavalier. Born in Saint Petersburg in 1952, Mr. Bychkov studied with Ilya Musin at the Conservatory there, winning first prize in the 1973 Rachmaninoff Conducting Competition. He emigrated to the United States in 1975.
Mr. Bychkov made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1989 and has appeared here many times since. He led the Orchestra most recently last November, and returns next week to conduct works by Shostakovich and Schubert. In recent seasons, he toured with the Filarmonica della Scala in Asia and Europe, led the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Europe, and conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in the US. He also appeared as a guest conductor with the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, Munich Philharmonic, and the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig. He appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Hamburg’s NDR Symphony, the London and Chicago symphony orchestras, the Russian National Orchestra, the Munich and Los Angeles philharmonics, and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionalle della RAI Turin. Mr. Bychkov opened the 2011-12 season at Teatro Real Madrid with Elektra, and returned to Covent Garden for La Bohème. This season he conducts Rigoletto and Otello at the Met; the performances of Otello will also be broadcast live in fifty-four countries.
Semyon Bychkov’s recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 with the Berlin Philharmonic won Belgium’s Caecilia Award and was named Stereo Review’s Record of the Year. His recording of Eugene Onegin with the Orchestre de Paris received the Echo Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the Academie du Disque Français, and the Academie Lyrique Bruno Walter Prize. Mr. Bychkov recently recorded Richard Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony and Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, and his recording of Wagner’s Lohengrin was selected as BBC Music Magazine’s 2010 Record of the Year.