Sinaisky studied conducting with Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory and began his career as assistant to Kirill Kondrashin at the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1973, he won the Gold Medal at the Karajan Competition in Berlin.
Sinaisky was Chief Conductor of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra from 1976 to 1989. He served as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra from 1991 to 1996. He has also held the post of Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. He also served as Music Director of the Russian State Orchestra (formerly Evgeny Svetlanov's USSR State Symphony Orchestra), a position he held until 2002, and was principal guest conductor with the Bolshoi Theatre. In Russia, he holds a post as professor of conducting at the St Petersburg Conservatoire.
Sinaisky was Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic from 1996 until January 2012. Sinaisky has made several recordings with the BBC Philharmonic for Chandos, including works by Karol Szymanowski, Rodion Shchedrin, Mily Balakirev, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Franz Schreker, as well as a series of recordings of Dmitri Shostakovich's film music. Sinaisky now has the title of conductor emeritus with the BBC Philharmonic.
Sinaisky was principal conductor of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra from January 2007 through the 2010-2011 season. With the Malmö orchestra, he has conducted commercial recordings for the Naxos label, including music of Franz Schmidt. He became Conductor in Residence at the Bolshoi Theatre with the 2009-2010 season. In August 2010, he was named the Bolshoi's music director and chief conductor. In December 2013, Sinaisky resigned his posts with the Bolshoi Theatre, with immediate effect.
In December 2018, Sinaisky first guest-conducted the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra. He returned for a second guest-conducting engagement at the start of the 2019-2020 season. In April 2020, the orchestra announced the appointment of Sinaisky as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2020-2021 season.
- Shostakovich: Film Music Vol. 1. Chandos 10023
- Shostakovich: Film Music Vol. 2. Chandos 10183
- Schreker: Orchestral Works Vol. 1. Chandos 9797
- Schreker: Orchestral Works Vol. 2. Chandos 9951
- Balakirev: Symphony 1, Overture King Lear, In Bohemia. Chandos 24129
- Liadov: Baba Yaga, Enchanted Lake, Kikimora. Chandos 9911
- Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23 / Grieg - Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16. Denis Kozhukhin, Vassily Sinaisky, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. Pentatone PTC 5186566
- Andrew Clements (2007-06-29). "Rimsky-Korsakov: Overtures to The Maid of Pskov & The Tsar's Bride; Legend; Sinfonietta; etc, BBC Philharmonic/ Sinaisky". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
- Andrew Clements (2001-11-23). "Classical CD releases". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
- "New Principal Guest Conductor Announced: John Storgårds to succeed Vassily Sinaisky in 2012" (Press release). BBC Philharmonic. 2 March 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- Andrew Clements (2009-04-03). "Schmidt: Symphony No 1, etc; Malmö SO/Sinaisky". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
- Andrew Clements (2009-10-16). "Schmidt: Symphony No 2; Fuga Solemnis: Malmö SO/Sinaisky". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
- AFP (Agence France Presse) (2010-08-07). "Conductor Vassily Sinaisky named Bolshoi musical director". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
- AFP (Agence France Presse) (2013-12-03). "I resigned to avoid conflict - Bolshoi chief conductor". The Voice of Russia. Retrieved 2013-12-08.
- "Do 67. sezóny vstupuje ostravský orchestr s novým šéfdirigentem" (Press release). Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra. 29 April 2020. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
| Music Director, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
| Chief Conductor, Malmö Symphony Orchestra
| Music Director and Chief Conductor, Bolshoi Theatre
Heiko Mathias Förtster
| Chief Conductor, Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra