Yuri Simonov was born in Saratov, USSR, into a family of opera  singers. He first took up the baton at the age of 12 conducting his  school orchestra and went on to study at the Leningrad  Conservatoire with Nikolai Rabinovich and became Evgeny  Mravinsky's assistant at the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra.     In 1968 Yuri Simonov won the Santa Cecilia Conductor's  Competition in Rome and made his Bolshoi Opera debut in 1969  with Aida. The company then appointed him Chief Conductor - the  youngest and longest serving in the Bolshoi's history. Highlights of  this period were the re-introduction of Wagner to the repertoire  after a forty-year absence and memorable tours which he led to  Paris, Tokyo, Vienna, New York, Milan and Washington.     In 1982 he made his British debuts at the Royal Opera House at  Covent Garden, conducting Jewgenij Onegin, and in three  programmes with the London Symphony Orchestra. Since then  Yuri Simonov has conducted all the leading British orchestras. In  1985 he founded the Maly Symphony Orchestra in Moscow and  toured with them to Poland, Hungary, Germany, Italy and all over  the former Soviet Union. Mo. Simonov made his American concert  debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1989 and his  operatic debut in Los Angeles a year later. During the last two  decades Mo. Simonov has conducted a Wagner opera every year in Budapest including the complete Ring Cycle.    From 1994 to 2002 Yuri Simonov was Music Director of the Belgian  National Orchestra and since September 2002 their honorary  conductor. Since 1998 he has been Chief Conductor of the Moscow  Philharmonic Orchestra.    In recent seasons he toured the USA, UK, France, Germany,  Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea with the  Moscow Philharmonic and Spain, Austria and Switzerland with the  St. Petersburg Philharmonic.  He also returned to the NHK  Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia and the Czech  Philharmonic Orchestras and made debuts with the Israel  Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Budapest  Festival Orchestras. Representation: Germany