Vasily Eduardovich Petrenko (Russian: Васи́лий Эдуа́рдович Петре́нко; born 7 July 1976, Leningrad, USSR) is a Russian conductor. Since 2006 he has been principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and, since 2013, also chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Studies and career
Petrenko attended the Capella Boys Music School and the St Petersburg Conservatoire. Petrenko studied conducting principally under Ravil Martynov, also learning from Mariss Jansons, Yuri Temirkanov and Esa-Pekka Salonen. He was resident conductor at the St. Petersburg Opera and Ballet Theatre from 1994 to 1997. He has served as chief conductor of the State Academy of St Petersburg since 1994. In 2002 he won the first prize of the Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition.
Petrenko made his conducting debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) in November 2004. After this appearance, in July 2005, he was named the RLPO's principal conductor, the youngest-ever conductor in the post, effective with the 2006–2007 season for an initial contract of 3 years. Since taking up the post, the orchestra's financial situation and attendance have improved. He has also received critical praise for revitalising the orchestra, in Russian repertoire (especially Shostakovich)  as well as standard repertoire such as Brahms, and in English music. In May 2007, the RLPO announced that Petrenko had extended his contract with the orchestra to 2012. In September 2009, the orchestra announced a further extension of his contract to 2015, with a change of Petrenko's title to Chief Conductor. In March 2013, the RLPO announced the conversion of Petrenko's contract into an extended open-ended agreement with no specific scheduled time of conclusion, and where Petrenko is to give an advance notice of 3 years of when he wishes to conclude his tenure. His first conducting appearance at The Proms was with the RLPO in August 2008. Petrenko and the RLPO have recorded several compact discs for Naxos. Petrenko's recording of Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony won the Gramophone orchestral recording of the year in 2009.
In April 2007, Petrenko was one of eight conductors of British orchestras to endorse the 10-year classical music outreach manifesto, "Building on Excellence: Orchestras for the 21st Century", to increase the presence of classical music in the UK, including giving free entry to all British schoolchildren to a classical music concert. From December 2008 to 2013 Petrenko served as Principal Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, conducting his first concert with them at the 2009 BBC Proms.
In March 2009, Petrenko was awarded an honorary professorship and Doctor of Letters degree from Liverpool Hope University. In April 2009, Petrenko was made an 'Honorary Scouser' by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool.
Petrenko first conducted the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in December 2009. In February 2011, the Oslo Philharmonic announced the appointment of Petrenko as its next chief conductor, as of the 2013-2014 season, with an initial contract of 4 years. His Oslo contract calls for 7 weeks of appearances in his first seasons and 10 weeks of appearances in subsequent seasons.
In August 2013, Petrenko provoked outrage when he told a Norwegian newspaper that 'orchestras react better when they have a man in front of them' because 'a cute girl on the podium means that musicians think about other things.'" Petrenko stated that "[w]hen conducted by a man, [orchestral] musicians encounter fewer erotic distractions." He also stated that "when women have families, it becomes difficult to be as dedicated as is demanded in the business".He said that orchestral musicians react better to male conductors since he thinks they have less sexual energy and can focus more on the music. He was also reported as saying that with a "sweet girl' (also translated as "cute girl") on the podium thoughts are directed to something else. Petrenko published a clarification the day after and said that he was referring to opinions held in Russia. He added: "I'd encourage any girl to study conducting. How successful they turn out to be depends on their talent and their work, definitely not their gender."
Petrenko lives on the Wirral Peninsula in the UK with his wife Evgenia Chernysheva-Petrenko and his son Alexander (Sasha) Petrenko. He is a football aficionado and follower of the club Liverpool F.C.
- Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances/the Isle of the Dead/the Rock (2011)
- Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2, Dances from Aleko (2012)
- Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3, Caprice Bohemien, Vocalise. (2012)
- Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1, Prince Rotisloav (2013)
- Hilary Hahn plays Higdon and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos (2010)
- Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony / The Voyevoda (2008)
- Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 (2009)
- Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 9 (2009)
- Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 (2010)
- Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 (2010)
- Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 12 (2011)
- Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 (2011)
- Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 15 (2012)
- Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7 (2013)
- Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 (2013)
- Shostakovich: Symphony No. 14 (2014)
- Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 (2014)
On Avie Records
- Rachmaninov's Piano concertos nos. 1–4 and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, with pianist Simon Trpčeski (2010, 2011)
- Mike Chapple, "Petrenko's mission to make the Phil the world's best orchestra". Liverpool Daily Post, 17 July 2007.
- Norman Lebrecht (2008-07-30). "Russian to the rescue". La Scene Musicale. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- Condy, Oliver. "A Russian Revolution: Vasily Petrenko". BBC Music Magazine, September 2009 (Vol. 17 No. 13): p. 26
- Anthony Holden (2006-09-17). "Petrenko's Russian revolution". The Observer. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- Alan Weston and Laure Voiment, "The football-mad conductor taking the helm at Liverpool". Liverpool Daily Post, 12 July 2005.
- Matthew Connolly (2005-07-22). "Vasily Petrenko signs for Liverpool!". The Times. Retrieved 2008-01-01.
- David Ward (2005-07-12). "Orchestra's Russian choice". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- Tim Ashley (2007-02-07). "RLPO/Petrenko". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- Larry Neild (2007-02-14). "Beautiful music as Phil smashes box office record". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
- Geoffrey Norris (2007-02-05). "Dynamic visionary rings the changes". Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- David Fanning (2007-02-12). "Petrenko shows that he is a natural Englishman". Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- Geoffrey Norris (2007-10-01). "Vasily Petrenko: Why Liverpool is galvanised by the 'Petrenko effect'". Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
- Catherine Jones (2009-09-10). "Conductor Vasily Petrenko signs up to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra until 2015". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2009-09-11.
- "Vasily Petrenko Extends Contract with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic" (Press release). Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
- Catherine Jones (2013-03-13). "Vasily Petrenko signs new Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra contract". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
- Sophia Lambton (2013-03-13). "Vasily Petrenko extends RLPO contract". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-03-13.
- Vicky Anderson (2008-08-01). "Petrenko prepares for Proms date". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- Gail Thomson (2008-08-02). "Music Review: RLPO / Vasily Petrenko, BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- Anthony Holden (2008-11-09). "Tchaikovsky, Manfred Symphony, The Voyevoda". The Observer. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
- Tim Ashley (2009-01-09). "Liszt Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2; Totentanz; Nebolsin/RLPO/Petrenko". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
- "Pupils get free concert tickets". BBC News. 26 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- Charlotte Higgins (2007-04-26). "Orchestras urge free concerts for children". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- Erica Jeal (2009-08-09). "Prom 31 – NYO/Petrenko". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- Richard Down (2009-03-26). "Conductor Vasily Petrenko made honoured by Liverpool Hope University". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
- "Liverpool's footballing legends among first round of Honorary Scousers". Liverpool Echo. 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
- Erik Bjørnskau (2011-02-17). "Vasily Petrenko ny sjefdirigent". Aftenposten. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- "Vasily Petrenko Oslo-Filharmoniens neste sjefsdirigent" (Press release). Oslo Philharmonic. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- Laura Davis (2011-02-17). "Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra's Vasily Petrenko appointed chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- Knut Olav Åmås (2011-02-17). "Et svært godt valg". Aftenposten. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- Maren Ørstavik (2013-08-29). "Vasily Petrenko, ny sjefdirigent i OFO: - Orkestermusikere reagerer bedre på å ha en mann foran seg. De har ofte mindre seksuell energi og kan fokusere mer på musikken.". Aftenposten. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
- Maren Ørstavik (2013-08-30). "Petrenko: - Jeg snakket om Russland". Aftenposten. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
- "Petrenko presiserer Aftenposten-intervju" Oslo Philharmonien website. Access date 5 September 2013
- Glyn Mon Hughes (2006-09-15). "Signs of old Phil magic as Petrenko makes his debut". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
- "Vasily Petrenko". IMG. 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2013-02-05.