Semyon Bychkov: What a conductor does

Semyon Bychkov: What a conductor does


norman lebrecht

January 05, 2016

An educative essay, from the ROH.

‘I have to become them in the moment they are involved in the performance.’



  • John Borstlap says:

    Very sympathetic and very much to the point….: leading by sharing. That brings about better results with the players than merely authoritarian stamping them on the head.

    • Peter says:

      It should, but not all orchestra musicians like to be given responsibility. Anyway, surely you have to hold people accountable to the standard you expect them to have, not the standard they necessarily demonstrate.

  • NYMike says:

    This man should have a major orchestra! I heard him guest with Philadelphia and NY in successive weeks. Outstanding!

    • Stereo says:

      Certainly better than his late half brother

      • Andrew Constantine says:

        Brothers, not half brothers.

      • Randy says:

        Don’t know what your beef is. Whatever bad blood there was between these two talented siblings, we may never know. However, I heard Kreizberg conduct several times, both with the L.A. Philharmonic and as a replacement on tour with the Philadelphia. With the former, he did the most amazing performance of Bernstein’s “On the Waterfront” Suite. With the Philadelphia, it was an incisive, propulsive take on Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony. Unforgettable concerts!. And, his work with the wonderful Julia Fischer is indelible. I’ve never read a bad word about him. He is missed.

    • Rick says:

      Totally agree NYMIKE. As a New Yorker myself I can only pray the NY Phil will pick him. Wishful thinking I’m afraid. Adore Bychkov!

  • mark says:

    According to one of his more recent interviews, he does not want one

  • Barbara says:

    Thank you for this. A very articulate and wise piece.

  • JVG says:

    He’s one of the most expressive conductors active today. His gestures speak, his energy passes on to the players and inspires them.

  • Constantine Kitsopoulos says:

    He was my first conducting teacher during the summer of 1977 when he was teaching at Mannes. He taught me so much about conducting that summer.

  • Gerhard says:

    What a great conducting musician he is himself! And so sad that these beautifully phrased basic principles are obviously quite far from being common knowledge in his profession.

    • Max Grimm says:

      +1. I’m quite happy having had the chance to grow up with Semyon Bychkov at the helm of the WDR Sinfonieorchester.

  • R says:

    His recent interpretations of Schmidt’s 2nd Symphony with the Vienna Phil were underwhelming, but he has success in other pieces. A good communicator too.

  • M2N2K says:

    He is without a doubt a very fine musician and I enjoyed working with him on numerous occasions. But I must admit that his insistent referring to orchestral musicians as “them”, as if it is some kind of adversarial relationship, bothers me a little bit in this video.