Semyon (Semion) Snitkovsky was born in Odessa, USSR on August 9, 1933. His formal music education began in 1940 at the famous music school named after P.S.Stolyarsky class of violin. An ensuing hiatus, brought on by the World War II, is ended when Semyon is accepted into the class of V.Z. Morkovich, the outstanding violin pedagogue who was later to become a professor at the Odessa Conservatory. After three years of study, Semyon performed his first solo concert and, in 1951, he began his education at the Odessa Conservatory again with Professor Mordkovich. The five years spent at the Conservatory were the years when Semyon initiated his professional career with acknowledgement of his talent. In the early fifties, Snitkovsky was hired as a soloist with the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 1956, after his performance at the recital of the best graduates of Ukraine music colleges, Semyon became a soloist of the Philharmonic and a teacher at the Lvov Conservatory.
In 1957 Semyon was accepted to the Moscow Conservatory, as a postgraduate, class of David Oistrakh. Almost immediately he became maestro assistant and years later – a doctor and full professor at the primary Conservatory of the Soviet Union.
In 1957, Semyon became a laureate of the All-Union competition, afterwards winning a bronze medal at the World Festival of Youth and Students in Moscow. In 1958 he performed brilliantly at his first international competition of the young performers in Bucharest – within the framework of the International Festival named after the Romanian musician: George Enescu. This particular violin competition brought Snitkovsky a first prize, shared with Romanian violin player, Stephan Ruha. At the same time, Snitkovsky, along with talented pianist O. Stupakova, won the second prize for the best performance of the very difficult Enesco’s Third Sonata for violin and piano.
In Brussel, in 1963, Snitkovsky received a second place award at the prestigious and challenging violin competition Queen Elisabeth. After the competition the newspaper "Le Soir" wrote: "Snitkovsky brings to the composer’s concept a soaring luminosity ...a technical aspect making a brilliant impression". In 1967, the International Foundation of Eugene Ysaÿe in Belgium awarded Snitkovsky a gold medal – an honor bestowed only once every five years.
In 1981, fatal disease took the life of Snitkovsky who, at the age of 47, was at the height of his creative abilities.

At first, bright gift of Semyon Snitkovsky was highly praised by critics at the George Enescu International Competition:"...his seemingly effortless technique combined with a profound comprehension of modern music has allowed Snitkovsky to achieve outstanding success", wrote the various Romanian newspapers. Snitkovsky’s performance of Glazunov’s violin concerto at the competition’s finale was labeled "perfect".
During the 1960s and 1970s, Snitkovsky’s mastery reached incredible heights. Aficionados and experts alike were conquered by the depth and uniqueness of his interpretation, the highly charged emotional content, "speech expressiveness", the amazing beauty and flexibility of the phrasing, the richest palette – from the most delicate and tender sounds ... to the bright and powerful. He possessed a boiling temperament, a shining virtuosity seemingly without limits. His repertoire quickly expanded and, as musicians then would proclaim, Snitkovsky excellently plays anything and all composed for violin in the past 300 years – from Corelli and Leclair to then young Rodion Shchedrin". Snitkovsky’s program included, of course, the great classics - his performance of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven or 19th century romantics, Tchaikovsky or Glazunov was always an art event.
Snitkovsky played the music of 20th century classics also with huge enthusiasm: Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Bartok, Hindemith, Britten, Villa-Lobos – their innovative opuses, at this time not widely understood, he presented brightly and convincingly. Music of the soviet composers such as A. Khachaturian, D. Kabalevsky, M. Vainberg and V. Salmanov, also the newest and specially written for Snitkovsky pieces were included in his repertoire as well.
Snitkovsky performed with many great orchestras and famous conductors, such as Nathan Rakhlin, Andre Cluytens, Gennady Rosdhestvensky, and Karel Ancerl. André Cluytens said once after performing with Snitkovsky, "It is a great pleasure to play with such an outstanding artist as Semyon Snitkovsky. I will always be happy to make music with this brilliant musician".
Snitkovsky regarded his teaching career with the same inspiration and devotion as his performing one. Snitkovsky brought new input to violin teaching, there were many serious musicians among his students. While a professor at the Moscow Conservatory, from 1976 he was also a professor of violin class at the Liszt Music Academy in Budapest Snitkovsky taught many master-classes and instructional courses in different countries with great success. Quoting one of the articles about his participation in the concerts and master-classes in Tour (France): "Snitkovsky is not only an outstanding virtuoso, but is a great teacher".
Soviet and foreign press excitingly praised him. There are short quotations from the hundreds of publications: "Soviet music" magazine notes his honorable style, excellent technique, beautiful sound and uniqueness of the phrasing. In 1977 after Snitkovsky triumphantly performed in Zurich, German newspaper "Tages Anzieger" stated that Snitkovsky is one of the greatest violin players of his generation, calling his performance of excerpts from Stravinsky’s "Petrushka" "the fireworks of violin virtuosity that impresses with almost inhuman perfection". "Le Figaro" called Snitkovsky’s Parisian concerts an "eye opener".
To commemorate Snitkovsky’s seventy-fifth birthday, recording company "Melodia" issued a set of CDs containing his recordings of Bach, Paganini, Schumann, Shubert, Liszt, Bartok, Stravinsky, Khachaturian, Ysaye, Debussy, etc.