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YURI SIMONOV

the USSR People's Artist,

 Professor

  "/ am not going to make any discoveries, but I set to myself a concrete task - to play well what I like. I am an artist and I have always sought to attain the highest level of performance. And as long as I can be useful to people I must do it at the conductor's stand. This is my mission".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Biography

   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.

In 2003/4, he made his debuts with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Warsaw 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.

 In 2006/7, he led the Moscow Philharmonic on tours to Japan and Germany, and conducted a five-performance-cycle of Queen of Spades with Budapest Opera. He also conducted the opening three concerts with the MPO at 35th Hong Kong Festival and led the 9th International Master Course for conductors in Budapest.

 Season 2007/8 included two tours of Russia and two of Japan with the MPO, his debut with the Het Brabant Orkest (Eindhoven) and the 10th International Master Course for conductors in Budapest.

 Season 2008/9 was marked by a jubilee – “Ten years together”, dedicated to ten years long collaboration with MPO. Special for-concert-serial included the most famous musical pearls as well as world famous soloists. In addition, there were Spain and Japan tours.

 In the season 2009/10, there were Russian and Korean tours as well as guest appearances to the orchestras of Riga, Wuppertal and Eindhoven. In 2010, Yuri Simonov and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra won the "Conductor and Orchestra" category of the Russian national "Music Review".

 The highlight of year 2011 was Maestro’s 70th birthday. Celebrations started with New Year concerts in China; continued with concerts in Moscow and Orenburg in March; on tour in Spain and Germany in April; in Ukraine and Romania in May. In addition, he performed special three-concert-series in Moscow to appeal to young audiences, using a wealth of music and literature material but within themes from the tales of The Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin and Cinderella.

 The jubilee tours continued in United Kingdom and South Korea throughout the season 2011/12. Besides that, on September 15 there was one more jubilee concert – this time in occasion of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra itself turning 60 years. The festive season of both the Orchestra and Maestro were supported by great soloists: B.Berezovsky, N.Lugansky, D.Matsuev, V.Ovchinnikov, M.Vengerov, N.Boriso-Glebsky, S.Roldugin.

 The season 2012/13 was full with concerts in Moscow, with tours to Russian provincial cities, to Korea and Japan. In St.-Petersburg, Maestro conducted the Eugene Onegin at the season opening production of the St.-Petersburg Conservatoire’s Opera Theater, marking his 50 years opera debut at that stage. In July 2013, Maestro led the 1st Moscow International Master-Class for young conductors, with nineteen active and ten passive participants.

In the season 2013/14, beside twelve programs in Moscow, there were Russia, South 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 in Zagreb.  
            Season 2014/15 is full of different programs in Moscow, including the opening of new concert hall – refurbished hall in former Olympic village, which holds a title Philharmony-2. Besides that, Maestro will tour Spain with MPO and debut with Symphony Orchestra of India in Mumbai.

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 All-Russian conductor’s competition in Moscow in December 2011. At present, he is writing a book about conducting.

In July 2014, Maestro led the 2nd Moscow International Master-Class for young conductors, with nineteen active and fourteen passive participants.

    

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 Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra

“The tour of Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra recalls in memory those times, when some conductors literally reigned over musical team, and most famous orchestras in the world had in their arsenal an invariable ideal sound… Almost unbounded sound of brass band and fascinating modulations of strings surprised everybody again and again” (Allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurt)

 

                 

 

             The Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) is one of the leading symphony orchestras in the world. The orchestra was founded in 1951 under the All-Union Radio Committee, in April 1953 it was incorporated in the Moscow Philharmonic and become its "visiting card".
Over the decades the MPO has given more than 5500 concerts in 50 countries worldwide. I
t performed in the best concert halls of the world and took part at prestigious Russian and international festivals. It has been led by such outstanding conductors as G. Abendroth, K. Sanderling, A. Cluytens, F. Konvichny, L. Maazel, I. Markevitch, Z. Mehta, Ch. Munch, K. Penderecki, K. Tsekki. During his visit to Moscow in 1962 Igor Stravinsky conducted Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.
Many great singers of the second half of the 20th and early 21st century have performed with the orchestra: A. Rubinstein, I. Stern, I. Menuhin, G. Gould, M. Pollini, A.-B. Michelangeli, S. Richter, E. Gilels, D. Oistrakh, L. Kogan, M.  Rostropovich, R. Kehrer, N. Starkman, V. Tretyakov, Y. Bashmet, N. Petrov, E. Virsaladze, V. Krainov, D. Matsuev, N. Lugansky, M. Vengerov, N. Gutman, A. Kniazev and others.
MPO has made more than 300 records and CDs, many of which received high international awards.  
The orchestra was conducted first by the outstanding opera and symphony conductor
 Samuil Samosud (1951-1957).

    In 1957-1960 the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Nathan Rachlin. During this period the team has acquired the glory of one of the best orchestras in the USSR. An extraordinary success came to the Orchestra at the 1st International Tchaikovsky Competition (Moscow, 1958), where the orchestra (led by K. Kondrashin) accompanied to Van Cliburn in the third round of piano competition. In 1960, the orchestra was the first Soviet band which toured the United States.
Kirill Kondrashin has led the Orchestra for 16 years (1960-1976). In these years the team has worked with D. Shostakovich, G. Sviridov, A. Khachaturian, D. Kabalevsky, M. Weinberg, many works by these and other composers being the first performed by MPO. The orchestra triumphantly toured many countries around the world. Since 1973 has the title of  an "academic orchestra".
 During 1976-1990 the orchestra was under the baton of Dmitry Kitaenko, 1991-1996 - Vassily Sinaisky, 1996-1998 — Mark Ermler. Each of them has made an outstanding contribution to the history of the orchestra, its performing style, repertory and maintained the best traditions, high status and artistic level of the team.

             In 1998, Maestro Yuri Simonov, People's Artist of the USSR, became Music director and Principal conductor of MPO. His appointment marked a new era in the history of the orchestra. One year later, the press reviews extolled the progress of the team: "It’s been a long time when such performance took place in this venue - vivid, strictly verified dramaturgy, saturated with subtle shades of feelings…   The famous orchestra appeared transformed, responsive to every movement of Yuri Simonov.” In 2001, critics included the band among top three Moscow orchestras.

            Under the baton of Maestro Simonov the orchestra became world-famous.
During the last four seasons only MPO performed in France (UNESCO Festival), Japan, South Korea, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Lithuania, UK, Spain  and took part in the 35th Hong Kong Art Festival. "What a fine orchestra the Moscow Philharmonic is! And what a predominantly young orchestra too! The orchestra displayed a full and rich sound – wonderful warm string tone, singing woodwinds, forceful and ringing brass and rampant percussion (when necessary). Simonov directed performances of the highest distinction”, - wrote the British critic Bob Briggs when the band toured the UK in October 2008.

In January 2007 the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra received a grant from the Russian Government.

The orchestra tours in cities throughout Russia as part of “All-Russian philharmonic seasons” project, participation in festivals and competitions became a tradition.

Nowadays the orchestra is one of the props of philharmonic life. The best projects of Moscow Philharmonic are put into practice by it: premieres of works by contemporary composers, concerts of most famous opera singers in the world, active cooperation with regional concert agencies, promotion of young talents. The team under the direction of Yuri Simonov pays great attention to work with children. In the last four seasons the staff takes part in the incredibly popular subscription for children "Tales with the orchestra” with leading Russian actors accompanied by conductors Yuri Simonov, V. Ponkin, D. Kirpanev, I. Manasherov, N. Vinokurov. "Best-sellers are not only books. These are also subscriptions for children “Tales with the orchestra” from Moscow Philharmonic", - wrote Psychologies magazine in December 2008.  The project "Tales with the orchestra” was a huge success in other Russian cities also.

           In 2010 Yuri Simonov and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra won the "Conductor and Orchestra" category of the Russian national "Music Review".

             The highlight of year 2011 was Maestro Simonovs 70 birthday. Celebrations started with New Year concerts in China; continued with concerts in Moscow and Orenburg in March; on tour in Spain and Germany in April; in Ukraine and Romania in May. The jubilee tours continued in United Kingdom and South Korea during the season 2011/12. Besides that, on September 15, 2012 there was one more jubilee concert – this time in occasion of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra itself turning 60 years. Great international soloists supported the festive seasons of both the Orchestra and Maestro. 

            The season 2012/13 was full with concerts in Moscow, with tours to Russian provincial cities, to Korea and Japan. In July 2013, the Orchestra took part in the 1st Moscow International Yuri Simonov Master-Class for young conductors.


            Season 2014/15 is full of different projects: tours to different Russian cities, participation in TV children competition “Nutcracker”, tour to Spain and many others.