Petrenko agrees new Philharmonic deal

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Vasily Petrenko. Picture by Mark McNulty

Vasily Petrenko. Picture by Mark McNulty

The musical future of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is more assured now than at almost any time in the last half century following the announcement that chief conductor Vasily Petrenko is to extend his contract indefinitely.

Now regarded as one of the most sought after conductors in the world, Petrenko came to the RLPO in 2006 and has twice extended his contract. His present contract is due to expire in summer 2015 but the new open-ended arrangement has a minimum notice period of three years.

The Russian maestro will have one of the most substantial commitments of any chief conductor to a UK orchestra and will conduct at least 25 concerts in Liverpool as well as national and international touring dates. There will also be special concerts and events as well as recordings.

“It’s a great pleasure for me to have the opportunity to stay in Liverpool as part of the Liverpool Philharmonic family,” said Petrenko. “I really do regard Liverpool as home, even if I do spend most of my life living in Philharmonic Hall. There were challenges when I first came here, notably the language and the famous ‘pavement culture’. But I am now used to that and the people here are used to me.”

Petrenko went on to say that there is still much work to do. His aim is to make the orchestra one of the best in the world and to increase audiences still further.

“While there is not often an empty seat for one of my concerts, I want to make sure that the same goes for every concert we give in the hall,” he added.

“I am looking forward very much to continuing my relationship with our great orchestra, and also with our wonderful audiences whose commitment to our music-making, along with our many partners, we are always grateful for. I really believe there is still so much that we can achieve together.”

Vasily Petrenko with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Picture by Mark McNulty

Vasily Petrenko with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Picture by Mark McNulty

Petrenko’s concerts, broadcasts and recordings with the RLPO have earned not only critical acclaim but also a number of prestigious awards.

He and the orchestra supported Liverpool on the world stage, especially during Liverpool’s presence at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai as well as on tours to Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

He has also introduced new audiences to classical music with numbers at Liverpool concerts up 17% since he took the baton in 2006.

About Glyn Môn Hughes, Journalism Lecturer