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 Conser- vatoire with Nikolai Rabinovich and became Evgeny Mravinsky's assistant at the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra.   In 1968 Yuri Simonov won the Santa Cecilia Conductor's Compe- tition 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 pro- grammes 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 con- ductor. Since 1998 he has been Chief Conductor of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.   In recent seasons he toured the USA, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea with the Moscow Philharmonic and Spain, Austria and Switzerland with the St. Pe- tersburg 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