Vasily Petrenko is Music Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he took on in 2021, becoming Conductor Laureate of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra following his hugely acclaimed fifteen-year tenure as their Chief Conductor from 2006-2021. He is Chief Conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra (since 2015), the Associate Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, and has also served as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (2013-2020) and Principal Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (2009–2013). He stood down as Artistic Director of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’ in 2021 having been their Principal Guest Conductor from 2016 and Artistic Director from 2020.
Born in 1976, Petrenko was educated at the St Petersburg Capella Boys Music School – Russia’s oldest music school – and the St Petersburg Conservatoire where he participated in masterclasses with such luminary figures as Ilya Musin, Mariss Jansons and Yuri Temirkanov. He began his career as Resident Conductor (1994–1997) of St Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theatre. He has worked with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome), St Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Czech Philharmonic, NHK Symphony and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, and in North America has lead the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and the San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Montreal Symphony Orchestras. He has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival, Grafenegg Festival and made frequent appearances at the BBC Proms. Equally at home in the opera house, and with over thirty operas in his repertoire, Vasily Petrenko has conducted widely on the operatic stage, including at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, Opernhaus Zürich, the Bayerische Staatsoper, and the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Recent highlights have included wide-ranging touring with the Royal Philharmonic, across major European capitals, Japan, and the US, including an acclaimed performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall. In London he led a survey of Mahler’s choral symphonies at the Royal Albert Hall. He made his debut appearance with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and returned to the Cleveland Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and a revival of Boris Godunov with the Bavarian State Opera as part of the Munich Opera Festival. In 23/24 he returns to tour the US and Europe with the Royal Philharmonic, makes his debut with the NDR-Elphilharmonie Orchestra in Hamburg and returns to the Seoul, Hong Kong, Israel and Dresden Philharmonics, the Pittsburgh and Dallas Symphonies, the Filarmonica della Scala, Milan, and the orchestra of the Palau de Les Arts, Valencia.
Vasily Petrenko has established a strongly defined profile as a recording artist. Amongst a wide discography, his Shostakovich, Rachmaninov and Elgar symphony cycles with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra have garnered worldwide acclaim. With the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, he has released cycles of Scriabin’s symphonies and Strauss’ tone poems, and selected symphonies of Prokofiev and Myaskovsky.
In September 2017, Vasily Petrenko was honoured with the Artist of the Year award at the prestigious annual Gramophone Awards, one decade on from receiving their Young Artist of the Year award in October 2007. In 2010, he won the Male Artist of the Year at the Classical BRIT Awards and is only the second person to have been awarded Honorary Doctorates by both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University (in 2009), and an Honorary Fellowship of the Liverpool John Moores University (in 2012), awards which recognise the immense impact he has had on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the city’s cultural scene.