Vasily Petrenko was born in 1976 and started his music education at the Saint Petersburg Cappella Boys Music School, the oldest music school in Russia. He later studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. Following success in a number of international conducting competitions including the Fourth Prokofiev Conducting Competition in Saint Petersburg (2003), First Prize in the Shostakovich Choral Conducting Competition in Saint Petersburg (1997), and First Prize in the Sixth Cadaques International Conducting Competition in Spain, he was appointed chief conductor of the Saint Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra. He served as principal conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain from 2009 to 2013. He currently serves as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (a position he adopted in 2009 following his tenure as principal conductor), and Principal Guest Conductor of the Mikhailovsky Theatre, where he began his career as resident conductor from 1994 to 1997. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 2010.
Highlights of the 2014-15 season and beyond include return visits to the Berlin Radio Symphony, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, tours of Europe and Asia with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Oslo Philharmonic, and his debut performances with the Israel Philharmonic and Frankfurt Radio Symphony. His future opera plans include Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District for Zurich Opera and Boris Godunov for the Bavarian State Opera.
Recordings with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra include a double bill of Fleishman’s Rothschild’s Violin and Shostakovich’s The Gamblers; Rachmaninoff’s Second and Third symphonies (winner of the 2012 ECHO Klassik Award for Newcoming Conductor of the Year), the complete piano concertos, Symphonic Dances and Isle of the Dead; and a series of recordings for Naxos, including Tchaikovsky’s Manfred (winner of the 2009 Gramophone Award for Best Orchestral Recording), the Liszt piano concertos, and an ongoing Shostakovich symphony cycle.
In 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 has 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).