Yuri Simonov


Yuri Simonov was born in Saratov, USSR, to a family of opera singers. At the age of 12, he made his conducting debut with his school's orchestra performing Symphony No. 40 by Mozart. He studied at the Leningrad Conservatoire of Music with Rabinovich and was Mravinsky's assistant at  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1968 he was the first Russian conductor to win the Santa Cecilia Conductors Competition in Rome.

In 1969 Mr. Simonov was invited to make his debut at the Bolshoi Opera with "Aida", after which he was almost immediately appointed to the post of company's 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", Shchedrin's "Anna Karenina", Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte", Bartok’s “The Wooden Prince”, Shostakovich's "The Golden Age".

In 1982 he made his debut at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, conducting  "Eugene Onegin" . 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 all leading British orchestras. In 1985, Mr. Simonov founded the Maly Symphony Orchestra in Moscow and toured them to Poland, Hungary,  Germany and  Italy. In 1986, he opened the Royal Opera's season at Covent Garden with Verdi's "La Traviata".

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  in  Los Angeles (Verdi's  "Don Carlos"  with Placido Domingo), followed by Mussorgsky's  "Khovanshchina"  for  San Francisco Opera (with Nikolai Ghiaurov) in 1990 and "Eugene Onegin" in Dallas (with Renée Fleming) in 1993. In May 1993 he made “The Queen of Spades” by Tchaikovsky at Opera Bastille.

Mr. Simonov also carried on his long-lasting contact with Budapest Opera; he made there almost all of  Wagner's operas ("Tannhäuser", "Tristan und Isolde", "Lohengrin", "Parsifal", "Der Fliegende Holländer", "Das Rheingold",  "Die Walküre",  "Siegfried", "Götterdämmerung" and "Die Nuernbergen Meistersinger"), as well as  Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades”.

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. Since 1994 he regularly leeds his conducting master courses in Hungary (Miskolc and Budapest).

From 1994 to 2002, Mr. Simonov had been Music Director of Belgian National Orchestra. Since 1998, he’s been Music Director and Chief Conductor of Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and, since 2001, Music Director of Liszt – Wagner Orchestra in Budapest.

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 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".

Mr. Simonov has been decorated with many prizes, and among others – the Order for Cultural Merits (Poland) in 1987; the Order of Honor (Russia) and the Oficer Cross of Hungarian Republic in 2001 and the Order of Comandor (Rumania) in 2003. Season 2011-2012 is a jubilee season both for Maestro (he turns 70) and for Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra (it turns 60). Beside the festive concert programs in Moscow, it is filled with tours to Russian cities, to United Kingdom, Hungary and Japan (with MPO).