(c) Ben Wright


Vasily Petrenko is Music Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (since 2021). 

He is 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), 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.

Vasily was born in 1976 and started his music education at the St Petersburg Capella Boys Music School – Russia’s oldest music school. He then studied at the St Petersburg Conservatoire where he participated in masterclasses with such luminary figures as Ilya Musin, Mariss Jansons and Yuri Temirkanov.

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, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Sydney Symphony orchestras, and in North America has led 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 has conducted widely on the operatic stage, including at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Opernhaus Zürich, the Bayerische Staatsoper, Bavarian State Opera and Metropolitan Opera, New York.

Recent highlights with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra have included wide-ranging touring, across major European capitals, Japan and the USA, including an acclaimed performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall. In London, he led an impressive survey of Mahler’s choral symphonies at the Royal Albert Hall. In the 2023–24 Season, Vasily and the RPO will tour the USA and Europe, whilst in London their Icons Rediscovered series will explore the music of Elgar and Rachmaninov at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and embrace grand works by Tchaikovsky, Wagner and Verdi in the Royal Albert Hall.

Vasily 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 works by Prokofiev and Myaskovsky.

In September 2017, Vasily 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.

Vasily Petrenko conducts Icons Rediscovered, 2023–24 London Season
Let music be your guide as Music Director Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra rediscover the burning inspiration, the living emotion and the human personality behind even the most iconic of masterpieces. 

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