the USSR People's Artist,
Yuri Simonov was born in Saratov, USSR, studied at the Leningrad Conservatoire with Rabinovich and assisted Mravinsky at the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. His debut was in 1953 with the Saratov Music School Orchestra (Mozart’s Symphony No. 40) and in 1963 at the Leningrad Conservatory conducting Dargomizhsky's The Mermaid. Following success in the Santa Cecilia Conductors' Competition in Rome in 1968, he was invited to make his debut at the Bolshoi Opera (Aida) in 1969, and was almost immediately appointed Chief Conductor: the youngest in history and, with his appointment ending only in 1985, also the longest serving. Highlights of his period with the Bolshoi Opera were numerous new productions of Russian and Western operas and ballets, 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. During this time, he conducted the Leningrad and Moscow Philharmonics, USSR State and Moscow Radio Orchestras and Philharmonic Orchestras of Kiev, Minsk and Riga on a regular basis, including foreign tours.
In 1982, he made his debut with a Western operatic company, conducting Eugene Onegin at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and also made his British concert debut conducting three concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra. Since then, he has given numerous further concerts with the LSO in London and on tour, and has conducted a Tchaikovsky cycle with them at the Barbican Hall. In October 1986, he opened the season at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducting La Traviata. There followed debuts with the Philharmonia with whom he also toured to Belgium, Hong Kong and Australia, the Royal Philharmonic (in London and Paris), and London Philharmonic. Further debuts followed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Opera (Don Carlos with Domingo), San Francisco Opera (Khovanshchina), Florence Opera (Salome), Genoa Opera (Così fan tutte). He made concert tours of Greece, Spain, Mexico, France and England and conducted further Wagner performances (Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal) in Budapest.
In 1986, he founded the USSR Maly State Orchestra and toured it all over the USSR, as well as to Germany, Poland, Hungary and Italy.
In the 1991/2 season, he toured Europe with both the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and, for the first time in their history, the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 1992/3, he made his debut with the Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Stuttgart Philharmonic, the NHK Symphony in Japan, Hamburg State Opera (Don Carlos), Dallas Opera (Eugene Onegin), Belgian National Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin. He returned to Budapest to conduct Der Fliegende Holländer for the first time and made his debut at the Opera Bastille with Pique Dame. He also conducted the Verdi Requiem in a special memorial performance at Vaison la Romaine in France.
In 1993/4, he conducted La Forza del Destino for the first time, in Marseille, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic and returned to seven western European countries for concerts before making his debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He also conducted the Royal Liverpool, City of Birmingham Symphony and English Northern Philharmonia Orchestras.
In January 1994, he became Musical Director of the Belgian National Orchestra, Brussels, the former orchestra of the great Belgian conductor André Cluytens. At the end of August 1994, he conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Festival. The season 1994/5's reappearances included a month in Japan with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Die Walküre in Budapest and concerts with the Hungarian State Orchestra, recordings with the Royal Philharmonic for Tring and concerts with the Bournemouth Symphony and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras.
Season 1995/6 included reappearances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, further Tring recordings with the Royal Philharmonic, the Hungarian State Orchestra, a new production of Siegfried in Budapest and master classes with young conductors at Miskolc in Hungary as well as the full complement of concerts with the Belgian National Orchestra.
In 1996/7, he appeared in the UK in concerts with the Philharmonia Orchestra and made his debut at the Royal Albert Hall conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the first of their new concert season there, made his Canadian debut conducting the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and led the first tour of the UK by the Belgian National Orchestra.
At the beginning of the 1997/8 season, he conducted five concerts in Amsterdam, Toulouse and Paris with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and toured his own orchestra to Austria, Switzerland and Germany. He also returned to the Czech Republic after many years appearing at the Prague Autumn Festival with the Brno State Philharmonic, conducted a new production of Götterdämmerung in Budapest and returned to the NHK Tokyo.
In 1998, Yuri Simonov was invited to become Music Director of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra; he took up the position at the beginning of the 1998/9 season. Since then he has worked with them extensively, not only in Russia but also on tours to the UK, the USA, Germany, Spain and the Far East. He also toured Japan with the NHK Orchestra in 2002.
Mo. Simonov has also been the Music Director of the "Liszt - Wagner" Orchestra (Budapest) since 2001 and in 2003 began to give annual master classes for young conductors in Budapest. In addition, Mo Simonov’s fruitful contacts with other orchestras continue. He has visited Israel several times to conduct the Israel Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic, and has frequently conducted the St Petersburg Philharmonic. In Budapest, he has conducted Der Ring des Nibelungen in its entirety, Pique Dame in 2003 and Lohengrin in 2004.
he made his debuts with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the
National Phiharmonic, and toured Japan with the Moscow Philharmonic.
In 2004/5, he made his debuts with the Beethovenhalle Orchestra (Bonn) and Budapest Festival Orchestra and led the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra on tours to the US, Japan and the Czech Republic.
During 2005/6, he toured Spain, the UK and Korea and conducted a new production of Die Nurnbergen Meistersinger in the Hungarian Opera House, Budapest.
season 2013/14, beside twelve programs in Moscow, there were
Korea, Spain and UK tours with MPO. Also, concerts with George Enescu
Philharmonic Orchestra in Bucharest, Savaria Philharmonic (Szombathely,
Hungary), Sofia Philharmonic in Sofia and with Croatian
Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra
Season 2014/15 brought new developments, i.e. the opening of new concert hall – refurbished hall of former Olympic village in south-west of Moscow, named after S. Rachmaninov, as well as opening of Virtual Concert Hall, with transmission on about 40 philharmonic halls all over Russia.. Besides that, Maestro was on Spain tour with MPO and made his debut with Symphony Orchestra of India in Mumbai.
Season 2015/16, beside regular concerts in Moscow, was marked with Jubilee -75 concerts in Moscow and Saratov. In November 2015 Maestro again served as a Chairman of Jury at 2nd All-Russia conductor’s competition in Moscow.
2016/17 was full with concerts in many Moscow concert halls, with
concert tours of Russia (Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Saratov,
Nizhny-Novgorod), China, Japan and Switzerland. The soloist were
E.Mechetina, D.Masleev, F.Volodin, A.Romanovsky, S.Roldugin, A.Ramm,
P.Milyukov, C.-J.Kang. In July 2017 Mr. Simonov led the two-weeks-long
master-course for young conductors organized by Moscow Philharmony.
Season 2017/18 featured
fifteen programs with MPO in Moscow, concerts in Russian cities Tcheliabinsk
and Tver, as well as foreign tours to China, Hong-Kong, South Korea and Italy.
Maestro Simonov co-operated with soloists: V. Afanasiev, N. Lugansky,
E.Mechetina, D.Masleev, S.Vladar, S.Roldugin, A.Ramm, P.Milyukov, N.
Boriso-Glebsky, S. Krylov among others.
On 4 March 2018, beside the Maestro’s birthday, there was a special celebration of “20 years together”, marking that long co-operation with MPO.
The season ended with summer Master-course for young conductors: twelve-days-marathon included orchestral and Piano sections with Closing Gala concert on 5 July 2018.
Season 2018/19 will again consist of
fifteen programs in three different Moscow concert venues, as well as in
Russian cities Yaroslavl, Vologda, Cherepovets, Saransk, Samara, Ulyanovsk,
Kazan. Also, with MPO, there will be further South Korean tour in May 2019.
This season soloists will be: violinists – M. Vengerov, P. Miliukov; pianists – E. Mechetina, D. Masleev, D. Trifonov, A. Korobejnikov; cellists – S. Roldugin, A. Ramm.
In June 2019, Maestro and MPO will accompany the Violinists at the 16-th Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
Personal guest-conducting invitations will bring Maestro to Budapest, St.-Petersburg and Novosibirsk.
Beside his concert activities, Maestro Simonov always was a devoted teacher for young conductors. From 1978 to 1991 he was a professor at Moscow Conservatoire. Since 2006 he is teaching at St.-Petersburg Conservatoire, and, since 2009, also at Moscow Ippolitov-Ivanov Music Institute. He gave numerous master-classes in Russia, Hungary, UK, Israel, Kazakhstan, and thirteen international master-courses in Budapest, Miskolc and Moscow with more than 140 participants attending it.
Maestro Simonov was also a member of the jury of conducting competitions in Florence, Tokyo and Budapest. He was the jury Chairman of the 1st and 2nd All-Russia conductor’s competition in 2011 and 2015. At present, he is writing a book about conducting.
He has recorded with the Bolshoi Company for Melodia, with the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic and the Philharmonia for Collins Classics, the Royal Philharmonic for Tring and with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for EMI.
Mo. Simonov has received many awards for his outstanding contribution to music including: Honored Artist of the Russian Federation (1971); People's Artist of the Russian Federation (1976); Lenin's Komsomol Prize (1977); People's Artist of the USSR (1981); Professor of the Moscow Conservatoire (1985); Order for Merits in Culture for the Polish Republic (1988); Russian Order of Honour (2001); Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary: Officer’s Cross (2001); Order of the Star: Commander (Romania, 2003). In March 2011, he received the Russian Order “For the services to the Fatherland”,the IV Grade, and in June 2017 – the III Grade.
The Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
… The Moscow Philharmonic's visit to the city was an irrefutable triumph, with the musicians clearly reveling in the music of their homeland and it bringing the very best out of them, unquestionably at the top of their game, while Yuri Simonov's expressive conducting reflected his passion for and immersion in the music. Stunning performances of Russian masters by a world-class orchestra and two hours of sublime musical perfection.