Press Room

Vasily Petrenko debuts at Kennedy Center, CSO, and more

Compelling young Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko (vah-SEE-lee peh-TRENK-oh), chief conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and chief conductor designate of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, continues his meteoric rise on the international orchestral scene in the 2012-13 season. On November 15–17, he makes his debut at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center at the helm of the National Symphony Orchestra, in an all-Russian program comprising Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with soloist Sergey Khachatryan. On November 23–25, Petrenko returns to Walt Disney Concert Hall to conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Shostakovich’s epic Tenth Symphony coupled with Grieg’s Piano Concerto, performed with his frequent musical partner, young Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski. The conductor’s recent recording of Shostakovich’s Tenth (part of his ongoing Shostakovich cycle on the Naxos label) was named Orchestral Recording of the Year at the 2011 Gramophone Awards, and the symphony also anchors his upcoming debuts with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (Nov 28 & 30) and Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Dec 6–9). For both engagements he pairs it with Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, featuring violin soloists Alexandre Da Costa and CSO concertmaster Robert Chen, respectively.
Petrenko recently won the 2012 Echo Klassik “Newcomer of the Year Award” for his EMI Classics recording of Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony, and has just been named 2012’s Classic BRIT Male Artist of the Year. Besides his Shostakovich Gramophone Award win, the conductor’s Naxos release of Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony won the 2009 Gramophone Award for Best Orchestral Recording, and in 2007 he was named Gramophone’s Young Artist of the Year. Petrenko is only the second person to have been awarded Honorary Doctorates by both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University (in 2009), as well as an Honorary Fellowship of the Liverpool John Moores University (in 2012), awards that recognize the immense impact he has had on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Liverpool’s cultural scene since the beginning of his tenure with the RLPO as Principal Conductor in 2006.
Early in the new year, Petrenko appears with Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, before returning to the Royal Liverpool and Oslo Philharmonics in January and February.
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About Vasily Petrenko
Born in 1976, Petrenko began his musical education at the St Petersburg Capella Boys Music School – the oldest music school in Russia – and then studied at the St Petersburg Conservatory. Following success in a number of international conducting competitions, including the Fourth Prokofiev Conducting Competition in St Petersburg (2003), the Shostakovich Choral Conducting Competition in St Petersburg (1997, first prize) and the Sixth Cadaqués Orchestral International Conducting Competition in Spain (2002, first prize), he was appointed Chief Conductor of the St Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra, a position he held from 2004 to 2007.
Petrenko commenced his appointment as Principal Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in September 2006 and six months into his first season this contract was extended to 2012. In 2009, when he assumed the title of Chief Conductor, the contract was again extended to 2015. Also in 2009 he was appointed Principal Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. In February 2011 it was announced that Petrenko would take up the position of Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2013-14 season, and in July 2012 he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Mikhailovsky Theatre (formerly the Mussorgsky Memorial Theatre of the St Petersburg State Opera and Ballet) where he first began his career as Resident Conductor from 1994 to 1997.
Petrenko has made numerous critically acclaimed debuts with major orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras, NHK Symphony Tokyo, Sydney Symphony, and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. He has appeared at London’s BBC Proms with both the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the National Youth Orchestra, and toured with the European Union Youth Orchestra. Recent years have seen a series of highly successful North American debuts, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Baltimore, and St Louis Symphony Orchestras.
Equally at home in the opera house – and with more than 30 operas in his repertoire, in 2010 Petrenko made his debuts at Glyndebourne with Verdi’s Macbeth and at the Paris Opera with Eugene Onegin. Future plans include his debut at the Zurich Opera with Carmen.

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Critical acclaim for Vasily Petrenko
“We’re all aware that the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic has advanced to new levels under Vasily Petrenko’s rule. This was an incandescent performance of real beauty and power. I’m surprised someone didn’t call Liverpool’s fire brigade.”
   – The Times (UK)
“This was Petrenko’s third appearance with the [San Francisco] Symphony, and each visit only confirms his stature as a conductor of crisp technical assurance and interpretive depth. His leadership style is understated but authoritative, with a podium manner that suggests quiet mastery and elicits rich, rhythmically cohesive playing from the orchestra.”
   – San Francisco Chronicle
“Vasily Petrenko’s ranting, brutal interpretation of Mahler’s Sixth was driven by a strong sense of the prophetic: political as well as aesthetic. Throughout, Petrenko gave Mahler qualities of terror and protest more usually associated with Shostakovich. … I doubt whether anything so provocative has been done with the piece for ages.”
    Guardian (UK)
“Superb conducting distinguished Glyndebourne’s fine revival of Verdi’s Macbeth. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s maestro Vasily Petrenko may look like an innocent teenager, but in his UK opera debut, he demonstrated that he knows Verdi’s score inside out: rhythms were crisp, the pacing was spot-on, the detail as clean as a whistle.”
   Telegraph (UK)
“What many consider the Soviet master’s greatest symphony gets its finest digital-era recording to date under the young Russian maestro, whose Shostakovich symphony cycle gets better with each new release.”
   – Chicago Tribune
“Petrenko’s Shostakovich cycle goes from strength to strength. [The Tenth] is a symphony that places a high premium on a conductor’s ability to shape long lines with subtle inflections of tempo and structural accent, especially in the epic first movement’s journey from mystery to tragic climax and back. In this respect Petrenko lives up to, I venture to say even surpasses, the greatest of his compatriots, joining the earlier Karajan account as the most satisfying I could name. … If there has been a finer account of the Tenth in recent years, I confess I must have missed it; and I would be surprised.”
   – Gramophone magazine
Vasily Petrenko – upcoming engagements 
Nov 15, 16, & 17
Washington D.C.
National Symphony Orchestra (debut)
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto (Sergey Khachatryan, violin)
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4
Nov 23, 24, & 25
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Nielsen: Maskarade Overture
Grieg: Piano Concerto (Simon Trpceski, piano)
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10
Nov 28 & 30
Montreal, Quebec
Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (debut)
Barber: Violin Concerto (Alexandre Da Costa, violin)
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10
Dec 6, 7, 8, & 9
Chicago, IL
Chicago Symphony Orchestra (debut)
Elgar: Cockaigne
Barber: Violin Concerto (Robert Chen, violin)
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10



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