Vasily Petrenko was born in 1976 and started his music education at the Saint Petersburg Cappella Boys Music School. He later studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and participated in masterclasses with conductors such as Ilya Musin, Mariss Jansons, and Yuri Temirkanov. Following success in a number of international conducting competitions including the Fourth Prokofiev Conducting Competition in Saint Petersburg, the Shostakovich Choral Conducting Competition in Saint Petersburg, and the Sixth Cadaques International Conducting Competition in Spain, he was appointed chief conductor of the Saint Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Petrenko currently serves as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (where he previously served as principal conductor), Chief Conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia. He has also served as principal conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and principal guest conductor of the Mikhailovsky Theatre, where he began his career as resident conductor.
Highlights of the 2016-17 season and beyond include tours with the European Union Youth Orchestra, dates in Europe and Asia with the Oslo Philharmonic, Beethoven symphony cycles in both Liverpool and Oslo, and debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony and with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival. In 2016, Mr. Petrenko made his debut at the Bavarian State Opera leading Boris Godunov. Future plans include performances of Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District with Zurich Opera.
Mr. Petrenko has recorded a Shostakovich symphony cycle for Naxos Records with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic; Rachmaninoff’s symphonies, orchestral works, and complete piano concertos with Simon Trpčeski; Tchaikovsky’s piano concertos and Manfred Symphony (winner of the 2009 Gramophone Award for Best Orchestral Recording); and works by Offenbach, Higdon and Tavener, and Elgar. His recordings of the complete Tchaikovsky symphonies were recently released on Onyx Records. With the Oslo Philharmonic, he has recorded the Shostakovich cello concertos with Truls Mørk (Ondine), the Szymanowski violin concertos with Baiba Skride (Orfeo), the first installment in a cycle of Scriabin’s symphonies, and Prokofiev’s complete Romeo and Juliet ballet (LAWO Classics).
In 2007 Mr. 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, and an Honorary Fellowship of the Liverpool John Moores University. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 2010.