Michail Jurowski was born in Moscow on December 25, 1945. His father was composer Vladimir Jurowski, a close friend of Shostakovich, whom young Michail met and performed with. Michail studied music at the Moscow Conservatory under Lev Ginzburg and Alexei Kandinsky. From his student days Jurowski served for 24 years as an assistant to Russian conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky at the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra.
During this period Jurowski regularly conducted at the Moscow-based Music Theater of Stanislavski and Nemirovitch-Dantchenko. Even before Jurowski officially resettled with his family in Berlin in 1990, he had become active on the music scene in Germany: from 1989-1996 he served as permanent conductor of the Semperoper Dresden. In 1992 he was appointed music director of the Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra, Herford, holding the post until 1998.
In the new century Jurowski frequently conducted the Deutsche Oper Berlin and for two seasons (1999-2001) was chief conductor at the Leipzig Opera. In 2006 Jurowski was appointed chief conductor of the Cologne-based WDR Radio Symphony Orchestra. Most of his recordings in the west have been with this ensemble and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. Among Jurowski's recordings is the 2005 CD of Prokofiev's Eugene Onegin and Queen of Spades, with the Berlin RSO. Jurowski's son, Vladimir, serves as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.