Vasily Petrenko, the Gramophone Award-winning chief conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, has renewed his contract with the orchestra for another three years (his current contract expires in the summer of 2015). Petrenko became principal conductor in 2006 and has twice extended his relationship with the RLPO; in recognition of his commitment to them he was made chief conductor in 2009. This new extension will make him the second longest-serving conductor after Sir Charles Groves (who headed the RLPO from 1963 to 1977).
Petrenko was given Gramophone's Young Artist of the Year Award in 2007 and since then has taken the Orchestral Award twice – for Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony (2009) and Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony (2011), part of a cycle of the symphonies he is recording for Naxos.
Lorraine Rogers, chairman of the RLPO said, 'Vasily has forged a special bond with our brilliant musicians and staff, our audiences, partners and the City which has produced a golden era for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, so this new long-term agreement with him as our chief conductor is fantastic news. This is a remarkable time in the organisation’s history. We are looking forward to the major refurbishment and 75th anniversary of our home, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall in 2014 and the 175th anniversary of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in 2015. As we develop our long-term strategy beyond 2015, Vasily’s musical leadership, vision and ambition for the development of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic will continue to be inspirational.'
Since taking the helm of the Liverpool orchestra, audiences are up 17 per cent and Petrenko enjoys near-celebrity statues within the city. And Petrenko has overseen a major rise in the RLPO's international status having led them on tours to China, Spain, Romania, the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland. He has also recorded with them for EMI, Avie and Naxos.
Besides his work in Liverpool, Petrenko is also principal conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, chief conductor designate of the Oslo Philharmonic (he assumes the chief conductor role at the start of the next season) and principal guest conductor of the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St Petersburg, the city were he grew up and studied.