San Francisco Symphony guest conductor enjoying newfound freedom

Posted on: October 15, 2010

In Thursday’s (10/14) San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman writes, “At 57, conductor Semyon Bychkov seems to have stumbled onto the secret of midcareer fulfillment: Quit your day job. Not that Bychkov has spent any time lately waiting on tables or punching a time clock. He’s been conducting, by his own reckoning, for more than 40 years, beginning as a teenage choirboy. But having just concluded a 13-year stint as music director of the WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne, Germany, he finds himself for the first time without a steady post—and the huge grin he flashes when asked about the subject reveals just how he feels about that. … Bychkov’s newfound freedom has allowed him more latitude to take guest-conducting jobs, including at the San Francisco Symphony, where his appearances have been among the most exciting and revelatory of recent seasons. This week, he will conduct the orchestra in William Walton’s rarely heard First Symphony, as well as Rachmaninoff’s ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini’ with Kirill Gerstein as the piano soloist. ‘I now have the opportunity to get to know those orchestras that I haven’t worked with before,’ he says. ‘It’s one thing to hear an orchestra in concert or on a recording, and another thing to meet the people behind the sound.’ ”

Posted October 15, 2010