Vasily Petrenko was born in 1976 and started his music education at the St Petersburg Capella Boys Music School – the oldest music school in Russia. He then studied at the St Petersburg Conservatoire and has also participated in masterclasses with such major figures as Ilya Musin, Mariss Jansons, Yuri Temirkanov and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Between 1994 and 1997, Petrenko was Resident Conductor at the St Petersburg State Opera and Ballet Theatre in the Mussorgsky Memorial Theatre. Following considerable success in a number of international conducting competitions including the Fourth Prokofiev Conducting Competition in St Petersburg (2003), First Prize in the Shostakovich Choral Conducting Competition in St Petersburg (1997) and First Prize in the Sixth Cadaques International Conducting Competition in Spain, he was appointed Chief Conductor of the State Academy Orchestra of St Petersburg from 2004 to 2007. During recent seasons Petrenko has conducted many key orchestras in Russia including the St Petersburg Philharmonic and the Moscow Philharmonic.
He commenced his position as Principal Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2006 and six months into his first season this contract was extended to 2012. In 2009, the contract was again extended to 2015, and he also assumed the title of Chief Conductor. Following his tremendous debut with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, which for the Guardian “deliver[ed] a clarity of expression that sounds as if he has been at the helm of the NYO for years”, he has been appointed their Principal Conductor to work with the orchestra each season.
Petrenko is equally at home in symphonic and operatic repertoire. In recent seasons, he has made his debuts with the London Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Budapest Festival Orchestras, his BBC Proms debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and toured with the European Union Youth Orchestra. Highlights of the 2009/10 season and beyond include his debuts with the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Frankfurt and Finnish Radio Symphonies, NHK Symphony Tokyo and Accademia di Santa Cecilia. After making a series of highly successful US debuts last season (including Dallas, Baltimore, Cincinnati and St Louis Symphony Orchestras) he debuts with the Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony and San Francisco Symphony in 2009/10, and the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras and National Symphony Orchestra Washington in 2011.
With over thirty operas in his repertoire, he has conducted three productions in recent seasons at the Netherlands Reisopera (Puccini’s Le Villi and Messa da Gloria, I due Foscari and Boris Godounov) and in March 2004 he made a highly successful debut at the Hamburg State Opera conducting Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame. Future plans include his debuts at Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Macbeth), and the Opera de Paris (Eugene Onegin).
Recordings with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra include a rare double bill of Fleishman’s Rothschild’s Violin and Shostakovich’s The Gamblers, and a disc of suites from Tchaikovsky’s ballets. Recently released are his debut recordings for Naxos of Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony (winner of the 2009 Gramophone Award for Best Orchestral Recording), the Liszt Piano Concertos, and the first discs of an ongoing Shostakovich cycle (Symphonies 5, 9 and 11). In October 2007 Vasily Petrenko was named Young Artist of the Year at the annual Gramophone Awards, and in 2009 he was awarded Honorary Doctorates by both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University, in recognition of the immense impact he has had on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the city’s cultural scene.
For concerts and events of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, visit: www.liverpoolphil.com