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Jerzy Semkow

October is Month of Polish Conductors. 😉 Jerzy Semkow turned 80 yesterday.

He studied under Artur Malawski in Poland and Yevgeny Mravinsky in Russia (he was Mravinsky’s assistant 1954-56). In the years 1956-58 he worked at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. In the late 50s – early 60s he was conductor and artistic director at the Warsaw Opera (the Teatr Wielki building hadn’t been yet rebuilt after the war). In the years 1965-70 he was principal conductor of the Royal Opera in Copenhagen. His symphonic career begins in the 70s. 1970-71 he led the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, 1975-79 the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, 1979-82 the Italian Radio and TV (RAI) Orchestra, 1985-93 the Rochester Philharmonic.

Among his most notable recordings are Boris Godunov with the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra and Prince Igor with the Sofia National Opera Orchestra on EMI (numerous awards for the Mussorgsky), a set of late Mozart symphonies with the Warsaw Philharmonic on Polskie Nagrania (Muza) and a Beethoven disc with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on Vox.

He is a French citizen and recipient of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

(Note: for some obscure reason outside of Poland his name is sometimes also spelled Semkov.)

[Added a couple of days later:]

Sometime last week DUX seems to have released two new albums to celebrate the conductor’s birthday: a Bruckner 7th and a Mahler 3rd, both recorded with the excellent Sinfonia Varsovia.

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