Vasily Petrenko has been announced as the new music director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The 42-year-old Russian will begin a five-year contract in August 2021, coinciding with the RPO’s 75th Anniversary Season, succeeding Charles Dutoit.
Petrenko will leave his position as principal conductor at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO), where he has enjoyed huge success as one of its longest-serving conductors. On appointment in 2006, he became the youngest ever principal conductor in the Liverpool ensemble’s history. Despite his new London appointment, he will remain as the RLPO’s conductor laureate, preserving links with the ensemble and city.
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This is not the first time Petrenko has worked with the RPO. Two years ago he conducted Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, ‘Resurrection’, at the Royal Albert Hall. Last year his thrilling performance of Verdi’s Requiem at the Royal Festival Hall cemented the relationship and grew a ‘unique musical synergy between Vasily and the RPO’s musicians’, according to Adam Wright, chairman and sub-principal trumpet of the London ensemble.
‘His title of Music Director is significant,’ says James Williams, managing director of the RPO. ‘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.’
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The RPO has a busy touring schedule, with programmes across the USA, Europe, the Middle East and Asia scheduled as far ahead as 2022.
‘I am delighted to become Music Director at this stage in the RPO’s history,’ Petrenko discloses, ‘This Orchestra, with its outstanding musicians and clear vision from management, has enormous potential. 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.’