Meet The Performers


Semyon Bychkov

Since leaving St Petersburg in the mid 1970s, Semyon Bychkov has been a guest on the podiums of the world’s finest musical institutions. With his time carefully balanced between operatic and symphonic repertoire, he enjoys long-standing and fruitful relationships with the orchestras and major opera houses in London, Paris, Vienna, Milan, Berlin, Chicago and New York.  

A pupil of the legendary pedagogue, Ilya Musin, Bychkov’s name came to international attention while Music Director of Michigan’s Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in the United States. Following a series of high-profile cancellations that resulted in invitations to conduct both the New York and Berlin Philharmonics and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, he was signed to an exclusive recording contract with Philips Classics. Moving to Paris, Bychkov was appointed Music Director of Orchestre de Paris (1989), Principal Guest Conductor of the St Petersburg Philharmonic (1990), Principal Guest Conductor of Maggio Musicale, Florence (1992), Chief Conductor of WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln (1997) and Chief Conductor of Dresden Semperoper (1998). He also holds the Otto Klemperer Chair of Conducting Studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Since completing his 13-year tenure with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Semyon Bychkov has focused on maintaining and deepening the rewarding guest relationships he enjoys with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. In recent seasons he has appeared in Europe with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Vienna, Berlin and Munich Philharmonics, the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra with whom he appears annually at the BBC Proms. In the United States, Semyon Bychkov is a frequent guest with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Chicago and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, and the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonic Orchestras. Future seasons include return engagements with each of these orchestras, in addition to conducting the Orchestre National de France, NDR-sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Turin, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Rome, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo.

Bychkov made his Royal Opera House debut in 2003 with a new production of Elektra and, the same year, returned to conduct Boris Godunov. He has since conducted The Queen of Spades (2006), Lohengrin (2009), Don Carlo (2009), Tannhäuser (2010) and La Bohème (2012). At the Metropolitan Opera he has conducted Boris Godunov (2004) and Otello (2007), returning in 2012 for further performances of Otello which will be broadcast Live in HD to 54 countries. He has conducted Elektra (2000), Tristan und Isolde (2001), Daphne (2003) and Lohengrin (2005) at the Vienna State Opera, and Der Rosenkavalier (2005) at the Salzburg Festival and, made his Paris Opera debut with Un Ballo in Maschera (2007), returning for Tristan und Isolde (2009). Semyon Bychkov opened the 2011/12 season at Teatro Real Madrid with highly acclaimed performances of Elektra, and in Italy conducted Tosca (1996) and Elektra (2005) at La Scala, Milan, a new production of Don Carlo (2006) and a concert performances of Das Rheingold (2000) and Tannhauser (2010), as well as numerous productions at Maggio Musicale Florence, including award-winning productions of Jenufa (1993), Schubert's Fierrabras (1995) and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1997). 

Semyon Bychkov’s conducting is recognised for the breadth of his vision, the clarity of interpretation and the rich beauty of his sound, captured in a series of award-winning CDs and DVDs that are part of the legacy of his tenure with WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln. Winner of BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Year 2010, Bychkov’s recording of Wagner’s Lohengrin was committed to disc following staged performances at the Vienna Staatsoper and concert performances in Cologne, and his recording of Strauss’ Alpine Symphony coupled with Till Eulenspiegel (Profil) follows a series of benchmark Strauss recordings that include Ein Heldenleben and Metamorphosen (Avie), Daphne with Renée Fleming (Decca) and Elektra with Deborah Polaski (Profil). Also with WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln are recordings of Mahler, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, the complete cycle of Brahms’ Symphonies, and Verdi’s Requiem. Both the Brahms symphonies and the Rachmaninov (Symphony No. 2, Symphonic Dances and The Bells) are also available on DVD (Arthaus).

Please note: Biographies on the CSO website are based on the information that was most recently provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on the artists' own websites or those of their representatives.