His first conducting appearance at the Bolshoi Theatre was in a 1957 production of Cavalleria rusticana. His other noted operatic engagements included conducting the first performances of Sergei Prokofiev's last opera, The Story of a Real Man.
Ermler was especially noted for his conducting of ballets. He conducted, among others, Swan Lake, Petrushka, The Firebird, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker. He made complete recordings of all three of Tchaikovsky's ballets and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet with the orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He became principal guest conductor of the Royal Ballet, London, in 1985.
Ermler died after a rehearsal with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. His wife Dina and daughter Masha survived him.
- Prokofiev – The Story of a Real Man. Bolshoi, 1961. reissued Chandos.
- Prokofiev – Symphony nr 5. Academic symphony orchestra of the Sovjet-Union Melodia. 33C10-09945-6. (LP)
| Music Director, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
| Music Director, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow
| Principal Conductor, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra