Semyon Bychkov

Chief Conductor & Music Director  – Czech Philharmonic Otto Klemperer Chair of Conducting – Royal Academy of Music Günter Wand Conducting Chair – BBC Symphony Orchestra

Managed in association with Enticott Music Management


Semyon’s Bychkov’s 2022-23 season, his fifth as Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic, also marked his 70th birthday which he celebrated in November with three concerts in Prague pairing Beethoven’s Fifth with Shostakovich’s Fifth. The season opened with the official concert to mark the Czech Republic’s Presidency of the EU and continued at the Prague International Music Festival with concert performances of Dvořák’s Rusalka, which Bychkov later conducted at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.   

Bychkov’s inaugural season with the Czech Philharmonic was celebrated with an international tour that took the Orchestra from performances at home in Prague to concerts in London, New York, and Washington. The following year saw the culmination of The Tchaikovsky Project – the release of a 7-CD box set devoted to Tchaikovsky’s symphonic repertoire and a series of international residencies. Also in his first season, Bychkov instigated the commissioning of 14 new works which have been premièred by the Orchestra over the subsequent five seasons.

Over the last two years, the focus of Bychkov’s work with the Czech Philharmonic has turned to the music of Gustav Mahler with performances of the symphonies at the Rudofinum, on tour and ultimately on disc for PENTATONE.  The recording of the complete Mahler cycle launched in 2022 with the release of Mahler’s Symphony Nos. 4 and 5. Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 was released in April 2023.   

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The 2023 BBC Proms are Announced!

The 2023 BBC Proms, “the world’s greatest classical music festival”, return with 71 concerts throughout the UK from 14 July through The Last Night of the Proms celebration, featuring cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, on 9 September. Conductors Semyon Bychkov, Vladimir...


“From the first trumpet call to the final hectic bars of the crowning rondo, the Kennedy Center audience was in thrall. Quiet and attentive throughout, it exploded with applause at the final chord. Each orchestral section was superb, from high brass (that trumpet again), to solid, musical low brass in perfect ensemble, Mahler’s all-important horns speaking loudly when asked, with the strings, high to low, smooth, singing and powerful, winds inaudible in the tuttis but brightly characterful when Mahler asks for their individual or sectional presence, and, of course, the superb percussion. All responded alertly to Bychkov’s requests from very loud to very soft and all gradations in between. It was amazing to hear subito-pianos and pianissimos so miraculously achieved by so many musicians.

None of this would have made a difference without Bychkov himself on the podium. Yes, the opening funeral cortege was a bit measured, and the movement as a whole, no matter how well conducted (and it was last night), is a bit of a trial. Reaching Parts II and III, the music, conductor, and orchestra came fully into accord: The Scherzo was a delight (if the music is a little long winded, blame the composer), and the Adagietto came across as a love song, not an endless dirge. The humorous Rondo brought out the best from everyone.

So back to the question: which orchestra is the world’s greatest? On this occasion, there was only one correct answer: the Royal Concertgebouw under Semyon Bychkov. Case closed.”

Michael Gray

Classical Voice America

“Bychkov calls the ‘Leningrad’ Symphony ‘a cry from the heart against death’… His interpretation goes wider than anger and despair, though both emotions coursed through every bar. There was, throughout, a sense of historical and cultural continuity under threat. It’s the best thing I’ve heard Bychkov do, and one of the greatest performances of the work in recent years.”

Tim Ashley

The Guardian

More Reviews

“Conductor Semyon Bychkov… succeeds in maintaining lucid orchestral textures and achieves a finely judged balance between stage and pit.”

George Hall, The Guardian 

“Each of [this new work’s] four movements is fastidiously shaped, and in each there are outbursts of anarchically dissonant fury. But under Semyon Bychkov’s baton the BBC Symphony Orchestra delivered a superbly detailed performance, with the sudden turns into pastiche-Mahler and pastiche-Bach opening like wondrous flowers in a parched terrain. The rest of this Prom was of a similarly high standard. Mezzo Elizabeth Kulman brought rare grace to Wagner’s Wesendonck-Lieder – the beauty of her ‘Im Treibhaus’ took the breath away – while Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony did all that such high-octane program-music is supposed to do.”

Michael Church, The Independent 

“In the Albert Hall’s generous space Strauss’s colossal aural panoroma of a day’s hike on a Bavarian mountain seemed to have found its natural home. Conductor Semyon Bychkov gave the grand passages the time they needed to glow as well as roar, and he made sure the rare delicate passages really told, like the wonder-struck moment when the climber reaches the summit and is lost for words. Strauss’s symphony was the Prom’s summit in terms of aural splendour, but the Symphony No.2 ‘Cenotaph’ by 53-year-old Austrian composer Thomas Larcher wasn’t far behind. There wasn’t a dull moment in this 35-minute piece, cast in the traditional symphonic four movements. Familiar ideas were made to seem brilliant and new, partly by super-bright orchestration, partly by sheer insistence … In between these two diverting pieces, both huge but somehow weightless, it was good to hear something of real substance. Wagner’s Wesendonck-Lieder are often given a sultry air, as if to reveal the all-too-human erotic feelings behind the mystical sentiments of the poetry. Here mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Kulman gave the songs a lovely chaste quality, supported with the utmost delicacy by Bychkov and the BBC SO, which was surprising and deeply moving.”

Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph 

“The Philharmonic remains a superb Mahler orchestra more than a century after the composer led it and half a century after Leonard Bernstein secured its Mahler tradition, and Mr. Bychkov made the most of it despite the hall’s intractable acoustics. Nothing was overblown, and the balances among the various sections, especially between brasses and woodwinds, were exquisite … All in all, an excellent outing for orchestra and conductor.”

James R. Oestreich