BBC HARDtalk – Monday 20 June

BBC World News TVBBC Sounds BBC iPlayer

ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL – Thursday 23 June at 7.30pm


Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra

Stephanie Wake-Edwards mezzo-soprano

Royal Academy of Music Chorus

Tiffin Boys’ Choir

“To remain silent today is to betray our conscience and our values, and ultimately what defines the nobility of human nature.”           


In London to conduct Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 at the Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, Semyon Bychkov was last week the invited guest on BBC HARDtalk filmed at the BBC’s Westminster studios. Born in St. Petersburg in 1952, Bychkov was one of the first musicians to express his position on the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Over the last few months, he has spoken at a rally held in Prague’s Wenceslas Square in support of Ukraine, on radio and television in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Austria, the UK and the USA, and written By Invitation for The Economist. Today, his appearance on BBC’s HARDtalk will be broadcast four times on BBC World News. It is now also available as a podcast via BBC Sounds and online via BBC iPlayer

This Thursday 23 June, Bychkov will conduct one of the most anticipated events of the Royal Academy’s bicentenary celebrations. The performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 has special resonance for Bychkov,as the opening of the finale “What Love Tells Me” are the first notes of Mahler that he heard at the tender age of 13: “And that is how it all started. A lifetime of exploring and loving this music.”  Bychkov, who has held the Klemperer Chair of Conducting at the Academy since 2012, previously conducted Symphony Nos. 2 and 9 with the musicians of the Royal Academy. This summer, the Academy will award him one of their two prized honorary doctorates, alongside composer Lin-Manuel Miranda. 

Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic since 2018, Bychkov is currently recording a complete Mahler cycle with the Orchestra for PENTATONE. The cycle launched this spring with Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, which will be followed in the autumn by Symphony No. 5. In August, he will conduct the Czech Philharmonic in Symphony No. 7 at the Edinburgh International Music Festival, and in October in Luxembourg and Paris. Between the performances of Mahler, Bychkov will be at the BBC Proms on Friday 5August, where he will conduct the world première of Julian Anderson’s complete Prague Panoramas with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Prague Panoramas is one of 14 commissions initiated by Bychkov at the start of his tenure with the Czech Philharmonic.

Column post #4,000: RELEASED TODAY, April 8: Semyon Bychkov & the Czech Philharmonic, with Chen Reiss, record Mahler Four for Pentatone.