Jerzy Semkow

He studied conducting with Artur Malawski in Krakow and in Leningrad with Yevgeny Mravinsky. He was an assistant to the latter at Leningrad Philharmonic, and later a conductor at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. On his return to Poland, he started working at the Polish National Opera in Warsaw.

From the mid-1960s Semkow was the artistic director and conductor of the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen. From the 1970s onward, he collaborated with such orchestras as Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, the RAI Symphony Orchestra of Rome, and Rochester Philharmonic.

He guest-conducted the world’s most famous orchestras and recorded for such prestigious record labels as Columbia and EMI. A recording of Boris Godunov made by the Great Symphony Orchestra of Polish Radio, the Polish Radio Choir, and an international cast of soloists – won numerous major record awards.

He was a lecturer at Colorado State University, Yale, and the Manhattan School of Music. He was known worldwide as a promoter of Polish music (Moniuszko, Szymanowski, Baird, Szabelski, and others). He initiated and patronised the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra.

Semkow’s accolades include the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2000), the Diamond Baton (2008), and the honorary doctorates of the Academies of Music in Warsaw (now the Chopin University) and Łódź.
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