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Yuri Simonov

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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 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.

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