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Maestro Yuri Simonov (Conductor)

Yuri Simonov was born in Saratov, USSR, to a family of opera singers. At the age of 12, he made his first appearance at conductor‘s podium with the school orchestra performing Symphony No.40 by Mozart. So, on 12 January 2003 he celebrated the 50 anniversary of his conducting debut.
He studied at the Leningrad Conservatoire of Music with Nikolai Rabinovich and was Evgheny Mravinsky‘s assistant at Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. In January 2003 Mr. Simonov paid tribute to his famous teacher conducting the St. Petersburg Symphony in the program dedicated 100 anniversary of Mravinsky‘s birth.
In 1966 he won a price at the Second Soviet Union‘s Conductors Competition and in 1968 he became the first ever Russian conductor to win any Western competition - that was the Santa Cecilia Conductors Competition in Rome.
Mr.Simonov was invited to make his debut at the Bolshoi Opera in 1969, with "Aida", after which he was almost immediately appointed Chief Conductor, making him the youngest Chief Conductor in the history of the company and subsequently the longest serving, holding the position until 1985.
Highlights of his period with the Bolshoi Opera were the re-introduction of Wagner to the repertoire after a forty-year absence, and several memorable tours which he led to Paris, Japan, Vienna, New York, Milan and Washington. Also, he made many new productions there, including Glinka‘s "Russlan and Ljudmilla" (recorded by "Chant du Mond"), R.-Korsakov‘s "Maid of Pskov", Shchedrin‘s "Anna Karenina" (recently released in Japan), Mozart‘s "Cosi fan tutte", Bizet‘s "Carmen", Bartok‘s "Blue Beard" and "Wooden Prince", Shostakovich‘s "The Golden Age". During this period he conducted all the leading Soviet orchestras on a regular basis, including foreign tours. In 1979 Mr.Simonov founded the Bolshoi Theater Chamber Orchestra consisting of twenty young string players from Bolshoi Orchestra and toured with them as its musical director to numerous cities of USSR and abroad.
With his activities at the Bolshoi Theater, he was rarely able to accept invitations from Western orchestras and opera houses. Still, in 1982, he made his debut with a Western operatic company, conducting "Eugene Onegin" at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Also that year he made his British concert debut, conducting three concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Since then Mr. Simonov made his debuts with The Philharmonia (1988), the Royal Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic (1989) in London and on tours, also recording. In 1986, he opened the Royal Opera‘s season at Convent Garden with Verdi‘s "La Traviata".
In 1985 Mr.Simonov founded the Maly Symphony Orchestra in Moscow and toured with them to Poland, Hungary, Germany, Italy.
Mr. Simonov made his American concert debut with Boston Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras in 1989. The following year he made his American operatic debut conducting a production of Verdi‘s "Don Carlos" with Plasido Domingo in Los Angeles, followed by Mussorgsky‘s "Khovanshchina" for San Francisco Opera (with N.Ghiaurov) in 1990 and "Eugene Onegin" in Dallas (with Renee Fleming) in 1993.
Further debuts followed with the NHK Symphony in Japan, Belgian National Orchestra in Brussels, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Berliner Simfoniker, the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper (Berlin), the Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, RAI Orchestras in Rome, Milan and Turin, TVE Orchestra in Madrid, Orchestras in Seville and La Coruna, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, the Royal Scottish and English Northern Philharmonia Orchestras as well as Opera Houses in Florence (‘‘Salome"), Genoa ("Cosi fan Tutte"), Birmingham ("Aida"), Hamburg ("Don Carlos"), Paris ("The Queen of Spades"), Marseilles ("La Forza del Destino"). Mr.Simonov also carried on his long-lasting contract with Budapest Opera, making every year one of Wagner‘s opera there ("Tannhauser", "Tristan und Isolde", "Lohengrin", "Parsifal", "Der Fliegende Hollander", "Das Rheingold", "Die Walkure", "Siegfried" and "Gotterdammerung").
From 1978 up to 1991 Mr.Simonov had been a professor of conducting at the Moscow Conservatoire, taking over the position previously held by Kirill Kondrashin.
He also was a member of the Jury at conductors competitions in Florence, Moscow, Tokyo, Budapest.
Mr. Simonov took part in many festivals all around the world - Prague Spring and Autumn, Tanglewood, Flanders, Walloons, Athens, Zagreb, Edinburgh, Salisbury, Budapest Spring - to name but a few. He also toured Europe with Leningrad Philharmonic, European Youth Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Bulgarian Radio Orchestra, Junge Deutsche Philharmonic, Buenos Aires Philharmonic and San-Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestras.
From 1994 to 2002 Maestro Simonov held a position of Music Director of Belgian National Orchestra in Brussels, the former orchestra of great Belgian conductor Andre Cluytens, given a lot of concerts both in Brussels and all around Belgium. In 1997 he toured with this Orchestra to U.K., Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France.
In 1997, Mr. Simonov made his Canadian debut with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Since April 1998 Mr. Simonov has been a Music Director of Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and had a tour with them to USA in 1999 and 2002. Also in the season 1998 -1999 he toured Spain and Germany with his Belgian National Orchestra. In year 2000 and 2003 he was on tour in UK and Germany with Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.
In the season 2002 - 2003 Mr. Simonov lead the Moscow Philhannonic Orchestra to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and England. In Budapest Opera, in June 2003, he made a new production of Tchaikovsky‘s famous opera "Queen of Spades".
The season 2003 - 2004 was busy with tours to Romania - Enescu Festival in Bucharest, Germany, Japan and Hungary. In May 2004 he made a new production of Wagner‘s "Lohengrin" in Hungarian State Opera; as a guest conductor he appeared for the first time with Swiss Romande Orchestra (Geneva) and Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.
The season 2004 - 2005 included American and Japanese tours, as well as Prague Autumn and Russian Winter Festivals (all with Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra).
In the season 2005 - 2006 will be new Russian, Spain, UK and Korea tours.
Mr. Simonov has recorded with the Bolshoi company for Melodia, with Berlin Philharmonic for EMI, with the London Symphony, the London Philharmonic and the Philharmonia for Collins Classics, and with the Royal Philharmonic for Tring International. He also has a Video recordings - at "Kultur" - of his performances at Bolshoi Opera: Tchaikovsky‘s "The Queen of Spades", Mussorgsky‘s "Khovantshina", R.-Korsakov‘s "Sadko", Shchedrin‘s "Anna Karenina", Shostakovich‘s "The Golden Age".

*** Training:

1956 -1963 Music High School (Leningrad)
1963 - 1968 Leningrad Conservatoire as Viola player (with Yuri Kramarov)
1963 -1969 Leningrad Conservatoire as orchestra conductor (with N. Rabinovich)
1969 - 1970 Assistant to Y. Mravinsky at Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra

*** Debut:

1953 - Saratov Music School orchestra (Mozart - Symphony 40) 1
1963 - Opera Studio of Leningrad Conservatoire (Dargomyzhsky - The Mermaid)

*** Appointments:

1968 - 1970 Chief Conductor of KMW Philharmony (Kislovodsk)
1970 - 1985 Chief Conductor of Bolshoi Theater (Moscow)
1985 - 1989 Chief Conductor of Maly State Orchestra of USSR (Moscow)
1994 - 2002 Music Director of Belgian National Orchestra (Brussels)
Since 1998 Music Director and Chief Conductor of Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Since 2001 Music Director of "Liszt - Wagner" Orchestra (Budapest)

*** Career landmarks:

1. Productions at Bolshoi Theater:
Glinka - Russian and Ludmilla( 1972)
Wagner - Das Rheingold (1979)
Bartok - "Blue Beard Castle", "Wooden Prince" (1981)
Shostakovich - The Age of Gold (1982)

2. At Royal Opera House Covent Garden:
Tchaikovsky - Eugen Onegin (1982)
Verdi - La Traviata (1986)

3. MahlerFestival in Paris (with LPO) - 1989

4. At Bastille Opera (Paris):
Tchaikovsky - The Queen of Spades (1993)

5. Concert tours to Japan (with NHK Orchestra) -1993-95

6. Concert and CD of Shostakovich‘s Sym. 4 (with BNO) - 1996

7. At Budapest Opera House:
Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen (1995 - 1998)

*** Honours:

People‘s Artist of Russian Federation - 25 May 1976
Prize of Lenin‘s Komsomol - 1977
People‘s Artist of USSR - 13 March 1981
Professor of the Moscow Conservatoire - 1 February 1985
Order for Merits in Culture of Polish Republic - April 1988
Order of Honor of Russia - March 2001
Officer Cross of Hungary - March 2001
Order of Comandor (Rumania) - September 2003

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