Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Announced Vasily Petrenko as Music Director from 2021–22 Season

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Announced Vasily Petrenko as Music Director from 2021–22 Season

• The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) appoints Vasily Petrenko as its new Music Director to lead the Orchestra into its next artistic chapter, strengthening its position as one of the world’s great orchestras in London, across the UK and internationally.

• Vasily Petrenko’s 2021 arrival will launch the RPO’s ambitious plans for its 75th Anniversary Season.

• Expansive role of Music Director recognises the artistic leadership he will bring to the Orchestra, both on and off the podium and within the communities the RPO serves.

Vasily Petrenko is set to become Music Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO). The 42-year-old Russian conductor will commence his tenure at the beginning of the 2021–22 Season, initially for five years. His appointment stands as a major landmark in the Orchestra’s history, signalling its determination to broaden the audience for orchestral music while enhancing its reputation as one of the world’s most versatile ensembles.

The maestro will become the RPO’s Music Director Designate in August 2020, after he leaves his current role as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He will conclude his term as Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) in July 2021, closing a fifteen-year period during which he has drawn critical acclaim, global recognition and significantly increased audiences across the region.

Vasily Petrenko made his debut with the RPO at the Royal Albert Hall in March 2016 delivering a powerful interpretation of Mahler’s Symphony No.2, ‘Resurrection’. His rapport with the Orchestra’s players was confirmed in April last year when he returned to conduct Verdi’s Requiem at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. Across the forthcoming two Seasons, he will conduct the RPO for performances in London and will lead the Orchestra on international tours to Europe and Asia.

In August 2021, Vasily Petrenko’s first concert as Music Director will mark the launch of the RPO’s 75th Anniversary Season. He will conduct an expanded number of the Orchestra’s concerts in London at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and will play a central role strengthening the RPO’s Residencies in towns and cities across England. As one of the UK’s foremost cultural ambassadors, the RPO, under Petrenko’s direction, will strengthen its international touring programmes across the USA, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, with tours already scheduled as far ahead as 2022. Although Petrenko’s artistic plans for future Seasons are still taking shape, supporters of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra can expect bold projects and adventurous repertoire from its new Music Director.

Vasily Petrenko comments: “I am delighted to become Music Director at this stage in the RPO’s history. This Orchestra, with its outstanding musicians and clear vision from management, has enormous potential. The RPO has a very modern approach and a youthful energy which underpin its music-making. We want to attract new and, especially, young audiences, embrace digital technologies and structure exciting seasons in London which can then be toured nationally and internationally. This will be a new chapter for an orchestra with a glorious past and high ambitions for the future; my goal is to see this realised on the world’s leading concert platforms.”

James Williams, Managing Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra adds: “On behalf of the players and the team at the RPO, I warmly welcome Vasily Petrenko’s decision to make a long-term commitment to musical life in London and the UK. His title of Music Director is significant; it recognises the artistic leadership that Vasily will bring to the Orchestra, both on and off the podium and within the communities it serves, drawing on his passion for music education and widening access to orchestral music to make it truly inclusive.”

Adam Wright, Chairman and sub-principal trumpet of the RPO says: “There is a unique musical synergy between Vasily and the RPO’s musicians which naturally builds upon the legacy of all the great conductors who have previously worked with the Orchestra. To have someone leading the organisation who embodies such a breadth of repertoire and who is so committed to building audiences, widening access and placing orchestral music at the heart of the community, is essential to the RPO’s identity and future.”

Paying tribute to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko says: “It has been an honour and a great joy to spend so many rewarding years with the RLPO. They will always have a special place in my heart and we will continue to make music together. I look forward to developing special projects with the RPO, forging new partnerships with contemporary arts and technology companies, expanding the RPO’s relationship with the Royal College of Music and building bridges between the worlds of virtual reality, social media and orchestral music. These are just a few of our plans. The artistic quality – the most important aspect – is already there. I can’t wait to see where our work together will lead.”

For more information, or to arrange interviews with the RPO, please contact: Guy Bellamy, Elephant Communications: +44 (0)1342 870142 / 07766775216 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information, or to arrange interviews with Vasily Petrenko, please contact: Sabina Nielsen, Valerie Barber PR: +44 (0) 20 7586 8560 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Vasily Petrenko
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 and Yuri Temirkanov. 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 St Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2007.

Petrenko is Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (appointed in 2013–14), Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (a position he adopted in 2009 as a continuation of his period as Principal Conductor which commenced in 2006), Chief Conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra (since 2015) and Principal Guest Conductor of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia (since 2016). He has also served as Principal Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain from 2009 to 2013, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Mikhailovsky Theatre (formerly the Mussorgsky Memorial Theatre of the St Petersburg State Opera and Ballet) where he began his career as Resident Conductor from 1994 to 1997.

He has worked with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Grafenegg Festival with the European Union Youth Orchestra and the State Academic Symphony of Russia, and made frequent appearances at the BBC Proms. Recent years have seen a series of highly successful North American debuts, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and the San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Montreal and St Louis Symphony orchestras, and appearances at the Aspen and Ravinia summer festivals. He also made acclaimed debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival.

Highlights of the 2017–18 Season and beyond include his debut with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, dates in Europe and Asia with the Royal Liverpool and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras, returns to the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the London and Israel Philharmonic orchestras, and the Vienna and Montreal Symphony orchestras.

Equally at home in the opera house, and with over thirty operas in his repertoire, Vasily Petrenko made his debuts in 2010 at Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Macbeth) and the Opéra de Paris (Eugene Onegin), and in recent seasons has also conducted Pique Dame at Hamburg State Opera, Boris Godunov at the National Reisopera, Eugene Onegin, La bohème and Carmen at the Mikhailovsky Theatre, Carmen at the Zürich Opera, Tosca and Parsifal with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and Der fliegende Holländer with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Mikhailovsky Theatre. 2016 saw a highly successful debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper with Boris Godunov and performances of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Zürich Opera.

Petrenko has established a strongly defined profile as a recording artist. His Shostakovich symphony cycle for Naxos Records with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (collated as a boxset in the autumn of 2015) has garnered worldwide acclaim, and he has produced award-winning surveys of Rachmaninov’s symphonies, orchestral works and complete piano concertos with Simon Trpčeski, Tchaikovsky’s piano concertos and Manfred Symphony (winner of the 2009 Gramophone Award for Best Orchestral Recording), works by Offenbach, Higdon and Tavener, and Elgar’s Symphony No.1 and Cockaigne Overture for Onyx Records. With the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra he has released the Shostakovich cello concertos with Truls Mørk (Ondine), the Szymanowski violin concertos with Baiba Skride (Orfeo), and Prokofiev’s complete Romeo and Juliet ballet, and 2017 saw the continuation of cycles of Scriabin’s symphonies and Strauss’ tone poems.

In October 2007, Vasily Petrenko was named Young Artist of the Year at the annual Gramophone Awards, and in 2010 he won the Male Artist of the Year at the Classical BRIT Awards. He 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.

For more information, please visit: www.vasilypetrenkomusic.com

About the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
For more than seven decades the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been at the forefront of music-making in the UK. The Orchestra’s regular performances at its London home Cadogan Hall are complemented by a distinguished series at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, a hugely popular series at the Royal Albert Hall and frequent visits to its seven principal residencies across the UK. With a wider reach than any other UK large ensemble, the RPO has truly become Britain’s national orchestra.

International touring is also vital to the Orchestra’s work, taking it to many prestigious destinations worldwide. Across its busy schedule, the RPO works with artists of the highest calibre, including Principal Guest Conductor Pinchas Zukerman, Principal Associate Conductor Alexander Shelley, and conductors Rafael Payare and Marin Alsop. The Orchestra looks forward to Vasily Petrenko assuming the title of Music Director Designate in August 2020 prior to commencing the full role in August 2021.

Registered Charity No. 244533

Vasily Petrenko is set to become Music Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO). The 42-year-old Russian conductor will commence his tenure at the beginning of the 2021–22 Season, initially for five years. His appointment stands as a major landmark in the Orchestra’s history, signalling its determination to broaden the audience for orchestral music while enhancing its reputation as one of the world’s most versatile ensembles.

The maestro will become the RPO’s Music Director Designate in August 2020, after he leaves his current role as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He will conclude his term as Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) in July 2021, closing a fifteen-year period during which he has drawn critical acclaim, global recognition and significantly increased audiences across the region.

Vasily Petrenko made his debut with the RPO at the Royal Albert Hall in March 2016 delivering a powerful interpretation of Mahler’s Symphony No.2, ‘Resurrection’. His rapport with the Orchestra’s players was confirmed in April last year when he returned to conduct Verdi’s Requiem at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. Across the forthcoming two Seasons, he will conduct the RPO for performances in London and will lead the Orchestra on international tours to Europe and Asia.

In August 2021, Vasily Petrenko’s first concert as Music Director will mark the launch of the RPO’s 75th Anniversary Season. He will conduct an expanded number of the Orchestra’s concerts in London at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and will play a central role strengthening the RPO’s Residencies in towns and cities across England. As one of the UK’s foremost cultural ambassadors, the RPO, under Petrenko’s direction, will strengthen its international touring programmes across the USA, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, with tours already scheduled as far ahead as 2022. Although Petrenko’s artistic plans for future Seasons are still taking shape, supporters of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra can expect bold projects and adventurous repertoire from its new Music Director.

Vasily Petrenko comments: “I am delighted to become Music Director at this stage in the RPO’s history. This Orchestra, with its outstanding musicians and clear vision from management, has enormous potential. The RPO has a very modern approach and a youthful energy which underpin its music-making. We want to attract new and, especially, young audiences, embrace digital technologies and structure exciting seasons in London which can then be toured nationally and internationally. This will be a new chapter for an orchestra with a glorious past and high ambitions for the future; my goal is to see this realised on the world’s leading concert platforms.”

James Williams, Managing Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra adds: “On behalf of the players and the team at the RPO, I warmly welcome Vasily Petrenko’s decision to make a long-term commitment to musical life in London and the UK. His title of Music Director is significant; it recognises the artistic leadership that Vasily will bring to the Orchestra, both on and off the podium and within the communities it serves, drawing on his passion for music education and widening access to orchestral music to make it truly inclusive.”

Adam Wright, Chairman and sub-principal trumpet of the RPO says: “There is a unique musical synergy between Vasily and the RPO’s musicians which naturally builds upon the legacy of all the great conductors who have previously worked with the Orchestra. To have someone leading the organisation who embodies such a breadth of repertoire and who is so committed to building audiences, widening access and placing orchestral music at the heart of the community, is essential to the RPO’s identity and future.”

Paying tribute to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko says:It has been an honour and a great joy to spend so many rewarding years with the RLPO. They will always have a special place in my heart and we will continue to make music together. I look forward to developing special projects with the RPO, forging new partnerships with contemporary arts and technology companies, expanding the RPO’s relationship with the Royal College of Music and building bridges between the worlds of virtual reality, social media and orchestral music. These are just a few of our plans. The artistic quality – the most important aspect – is already there. I can’t wait to see where our work together will lead.” 

For more information, or to arrange interviews with the RPO, please contact:

Guy Bellamy, Elephant Communications: +44 (0)1342 870142 / 07766775216   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information, or to arrange interviews with Vasily Petrenko, please contact: Sabina Nielsen, Valerie Barber PR: +44 (0) 20 7586 8560

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Vasily Petrenko

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 and Yuri Temirkanov. 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 St Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2007.

Petrenko is Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (appointed in 2013–14), Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (a position he adopted in 2009 as a continuation of his period as Principal Conductor which commenced in 2006), Chief Conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra (since 2015) and Principal Guest Conductor of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia (since 2016). He has also served as Principal Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain from 2009 to 2013, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Mikhailovsky Theatre (formerly the Mussorgsky Memorial Theatre of the St Petersburg State Opera and Ballet) where he began his career as Resident Conductor from 1994 to 1997.

He has worked with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Grafenegg Festival with the European Union Youth Orchestra and the State Academic Symphony of Russia, and made frequent appearances at the BBC Proms. Recent years have seen a series of highly successful North American debuts, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and the San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Montreal and St Louis Symphony orchestras, and appearances at the Aspen and Ravinia summer festivals. He also made acclaimed debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival.

Highlights of the 2017–18 Season and beyond include his debut with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, dates in Europe and Asia with the Royal Liverpool and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras, returns to the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the London and Israel Philharmonic orchestras, and the Vienna and Montreal Symphony orchestras.

Equally at home in the opera house, and with over thirty operas in his repertoire, Vasily Petrenko made his debuts in 2010 at Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Macbeth) and the Opéra de Paris (Eugene Onegin), and in recent seasons has also conducted Pique Dame at Hamburg State Opera, Boris Godunov at the National Reisopera, Eugene Onegin, La bohème and Carmen at the Mikhailovsky Theatre, Carmen at the Zürich Opera, Tosca and Parsifal with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and Der fliegende Holländer with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Mikhailovsky Theatre. 2016 saw a highly successful debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper with Boris Godunov and performances of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Zürich Opera.

Petrenko has established a strongly defined profile as a recording artist. His Shostakovich symphony cycle for Naxos Records with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (collated as a boxset in the autumn of 2015) has garnered worldwide acclaim, and he has produced award-winning surveys of Rachmaninov’s symphonies, orchestral works and complete piano concertos with Simon Trpčeski, Tchaikovsky’s piano concertos and Manfred Symphony (winner of the 2009 Gramophone Award for Best Orchestral Recording), works by Offenbach, Higdon and Tavener, and Elgar’s Symphony No.1 and Cockaigne Overture for Onyx Records. With the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra he has released the Shostakovich cello concertos with Truls Mørk (Ondine), the Szymanowski violin concertos with Baiba Skride (Orfeo), and Prokofiev’s complete Romeo and Juliet ballet, and 2017 saw the continuation of cycles of Scriabin’s symphonies and Strauss’ tone poems.

In October 2007, Vasily Petrenko was named Young Artist of the Year at the annual Gramophone Awards, and in 2010 he won the Male Artist of the Year at the Classical BRIT Awards. He 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.

For more information, please visit: www.vasilypetrenkomusic.com

About the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

For more than seven decades the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been at the forefront of music-making in the UK. The Orchestra’s regular performances at its London home Cadogan Hall are complemented by a distinguished series at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, a hugely popular series at the Royal Albert Hall and frequent visits to its seven principal residencies across the UK. With a wider reach than any other UK large ensemble, the RPO has truly become Britain’s national orchestra.

International touring is also vital to the Orchestra’s work, taking it to many prestigious destinations worldwide. Across its busy schedule, the RPO works with artists of the highest calibre, including Principal Guest Conductor Pinchas Zukerman, Principal Associate Conductor Alexander Shelley, and conductors Rafael Payare and Marin Alsop. The Orchestra looks forward to Vasily Petrenko assuming the title of Music Director Designate in August 2020 prior to commencing the full role in August 2021.

For more information, please visit: www.rpo.co.uk

Registered Charity No. 244533


Latest News

  • Wednesday 5 September 2018
    Orchestrating Adele
  • Wednesday 8 August 2018
    An interview with Michael Petrov
  • Thursday 26 July 2018
    7UP comes to an end

Latest Press

  • Monday 30 July 2018
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Google Arts & Culture Forge New Partnership To Take Orchestral Music To A New Generation
  • Monday 2 July 2018
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Announced Vasily Petrenko as Music Director from 2021–22 Season
  • Wednesday 28 February 2018
    Rafael Payare: Conducting should always feel like your last breath