Semkow, Jerzy

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Semkow, Jerzy

Semkow, Jerzy, prominent Polish conductor; b. Radomsko, Oct. 12, 1928. He studied at the Univ. of Krakow (1946–50) and at the Leningrad Cons. (1951–55). After serving as asst. conductor of the Leningrad Phil. (1954–56), he conducted at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater (1956–58); also continued his training with Kleiber in Prague, Serafin in Rome, and Walter in Vienna. He was artistic director and chief conductor of the Warsaw National Opera (1959–62); then was chief conductor of the Royal Danish Theater in Copenhagen (1966–76). In 1968 he made his U.S. debut as a guest conductor of the Boston Sym. Orch. He served as music director of the St. Louis Sym. Orch. (1976–79), artistic director of the RAI orch. in Rome (1979–83), and music adviser and principal conductor of the Rochester (N.Y.) Phil. (1985–89). His guest conducting engagements took him all over the world. He is especially admired for his performances of Polish and Russian scores, particularly of works from the late Romantic era.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire