As a pupil of the legendary Russian pedagogue Ilya Musin, Semyon Bychkov belongs to the select group of great conductors who were trained at the Leningrad Conservatory.
In 1975, when he was 22, he left for the United States to build up an international career free of the limitations of the Soviet regime. He made his name as the music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Later he became chief conductor of the Orchestre de Paris and the Semperoper in Dresden.
In 1997 he became chief conductor with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, a position he held for 13 years. Apart from the symphonic repertoire opera plays an important part in his career.
In 2003 Semyon Bychkov made his debut in Covent Garden with Elektra by Richard Strauss. He conducts its productions with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Opéra de Paris, the Viennese State Opera, the Scala in Milan and the Salzburg Festival.
Semyon Bychkov is regularly invited by orchestras such as the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the symphony orchestras of Chicago and San Francisco. He currently holds the Klemperer Chair of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and the Gunther Wand Chair with the BBC Symphony Orchestra with whom he appears annually at the BBC Proms. The International Opera Awards named Semyon Bychkov 2015’s Conductor of the Year.
As early as 1984 Semyon Bychkov made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In November 2016 he returned for three concerts with Emanuel Ax with works from Mahler, Mozart and Weber in Amsterdam, Vienna and Bratislava. That same month he conducted the orchestra in Theatrum Bestiarum by house composer Detlev Glanert and Mahler´s Symphony No. 5.