Vasily Petrenko was born in St Petersburg on 7 July 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 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 the early years of the 21st century, Petrenko 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 - the youngest person and the first Russian to have held this appointment - and six months into his first season this contract was extended to 2012. He continued in the post until 2021. 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.
Petrenko is equally at home in symphonic and operatic repertoire, and has toured widely.
Ensemble. Baba-Yaga's Whistle - Mike Wheeler is impressed by Lyadov, Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Rachmaninov from Pavel Kolesnikov and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko
CD Spotlight. Startlingly Fresh and Very American - Patrick Maxwell is impressed by Maurice Abravanel and the Utah Symphony Orchestra's Tchaikovsky. '... impassioned string playing and vibrant conducting.'
Ensemble. Ear-catching Moments - Mike Wheeler listens to Bomsori Kim, Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Sound Sense and Nonsense
Classical music news. October 2022 Newsletter - Our October 2022 MP3 newsletter has just been published
Ensemble. Suggesting the Possibility of Renewal - Beethoven, Brahms, Vaughan Williams and Walton from Boris Giltburg, Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Masterly Playing - Boris Giltburg plays two very different Beethoven piano concertos, strongly recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... brilliantly supported by Vasily Petrenko and his Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra ...'
CD Spotlight. Truly Exciting - Music by Alexander von Zemlinsky and Franz Schreker, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Petrenko has this music in his blood, and the performances have a sweep and power that keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.'
Drastically Revised - Giuseppe Pennisi looks at the detail of the replanned 2020 Salzburg Festival
CD Spotlight. Exquisite Precision - Early Beethoven from Boris Giltburg, Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, heard by Patrick Maxwell. '... the orchestra and the piano are often interwoven in their lines, and the conversational phrases built up a tension that is perfectly managed by Giltburg.'
Ensemble. A Fresh Pair of Ears - Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Sibelius from Vasily Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Heartfelt Effect - Elgar from Petrenko and the RLPO, appreciated by Howard Smith. '... our Liverpool Orchestra is every bit the equal of its fine London counterparts ...'
CD Spotlight. Elusive and Disguised - Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony impresses Gerald Fenech. 'A strong competitor for the disc of the year ...'
CD Spotlight. A Manipulating Baton - Rachmaninov orchestral music, heard by Ron Bierman. 'Vasily Petrenko gives us an extreme interpretation ...'
Ensemble. Still Radical - Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring', heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Natural Affinity - Klaggerud, Petrenko and the Philharmonia, heard by Bill Newman
CD Spotlight. A Towering Rage - Shostakovich's Symphony No 11, heard by Robert Anderson. '... total conviction.'
CD Spotlight. Somewhat Lacklustre - Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, heard by Howard Smith. '... a tumultuous, dynamic conclusion.'
CD Spotlight. Quite Orgiastic - Petrenko conducts Shostakovich, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... very much on the ball ...'
Ensemble. Wilfully Distorted - Petrenko conducts the RLPO, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Great Poise - Petrenko conducts Shostakovich symphonies, recommended by Paul Sarcich. '... care and thoughtfulness ...'
Ensemble. Inner Detail - Beethoven and Tchaikovsky from Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler