Benjamin Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Op. 33a
Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16
Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B flat Major, Op. 100
London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will celebrate its country of origin with the very first work: the Sea Interludes from Benjamin Britten’s first great opera Peter Grimes. The opera is set on the British coast, and the subject matter is taken from an epic poem by a British author, but above all the opera is the work of the most important British composer of the 20th century. His powerful sea music communicates the psychological tempests and calm of the characters of the musical drama with the eloquence of film and with Shakespearean depth. Near the end of the Second World War, when Britten was composing his psychological drama, Sergei Prokofiev was also writing his Symphony No. 5 in B flat Major. It was January 1945, and the audience at the premiere in Moscow heard echoes of the firing of artillery in the rhythmic pulse of the first movement. Before the performance began, they heard real cannon shots announcing that the Soviet armed forces had crossed the Vistula into Germany. Between the two works is the popular Piano Concerto in A Minor by Edvard Grieg, played by the internationally successful Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček. Leading the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be its new chief conductor Vasily Petrenko.
As the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary, its mission to enrich lives through orchestral experiences that are uncompromising in their excellence and inclusive in their appeal, places the RPO at the forefront of music-making in the UK and internationally. Typically performing approximately 200 concerts each season and with a worldwide audience of more than half-a-million people, the Orchestra embraces a broad repertoire that enables it to reach the most diverse audience of any British symphony orchestra. Whilst artistic integrity remains paramount, the RPO is unafraid to push boundaries and is equally at home recording video game, film and television soundtracks and working with pop stars, as it is performing the great symphonic repertoire.
The RPO collaborates with the most inspiring artists and is thrilled to welcome its new Music Director, Vasily Petrenko, from August 2021. His appointment stands as a major landmark in the Orchestra’s history, signalling its determination to broaden the audience for orchestral music while enhancing its reputation as one of the world’s most versatile ensembles. Vasily Petrenko made his debut with the RPO at London’s Royal Albert Hall in March 2016 delivering a powerful interpretation of Mahler’s Symphony No.2, ‘Resurrection’. His rapport with the Orchestra’s players has been reaffirmed with subsequent London performances, and forthcoming plans include a series of Mahler’s choral symphonies at the Royal Albert Hall, the great works of English composers at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, and tours to Germany and leading European festivals.
In addition to the Orchestra’s annual season of concerts in London’s Royal Albert Hall, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and its home Cadogan Hall, the RPO is a respected cultural ambassador and enjoys a busy schedule of international touring, performing in the world’s great concerts halls and at prestigious international festivals. The RPO is recognised as being the UK’s most in-demand orchestra, an accolade that would have pleased Sir Thomas Beecham, who founded the RPO in 1946. His mission was to lead a vital revival of UK orchestras after World War II and form an ensemble that comprised the finest musicians in the country. The Orchestra has since attracted a glittering list of principal conductors, including Rudolf Kempe, Antal Doráti, Walter Weller, André Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yuri Temirkanov, Daniele Gatti and Charles Dutoit.
The RPO aims to place orchestral music at the heart of contemporary society, collaborating with creative partners to foster a deeper engagement with communities to ensure that live orchestral music is accessible to as inclusive and diverse an audience as possible. To achieve this, in 1993 the Orchestra launched RPO Resound, which has grown to become the most innovative and respected orchestral community and education programme in the UK and internationally.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has always been entrepreneurial and in 1986 it was the first UK orchestra to launch its own record label. The RPO has gone on to embrace advances in digital technology and now achieves nearly thirty million downloads of its recorded music each year. The Orchestra is increasingly active online (www.rpo.co.uk) and on social media (@rpoonline) providing audiences with the opportunity to engage with the RPO and enjoy ‘behind-the-scenes’ insights.
Passion, versatility and uncompromising artistic standards are the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s hallmarks, and as it looks forward to an exciting future with its new Music Director, Vasily Petrenko, it will continue to be recognised as one of the world’s most open-minded, forward-thinking and accessible symphony orchestras.
Source: Classic Concerts Management
Vasily Petrenko is Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (since 2009 as a continuation of his period as Principal Conductor, which commenced in 2006) and Chief Conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra (since 2015). In August 2021 he will become Music Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Artistic Director of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia (where he has held the position of Principal Guest Conductor since 2016). He served as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (2013–2020), Principal Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (2009–2013), and Principal Guest Conductor of St Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theatre, where he began his career as Resident Conductor (1994–1997).
Vasily Petrenko was born in 1976 and started his music education at the St Petersburg Capella Boys Music School – Russia’s oldest music school. He then studied at the St Petersburg Conservatoire where he participated in masterclasses with such luminary figures as Ilya Musin, Mariss Jansons and Yuri Temirkanov.
He has worked with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome), St Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Czech Philharmonic, NHK Symphony and Sydney Symphony orchestras. In North America, he has lead the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and the San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Montreal Symphony orchestras. He has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival, Grafenegg Festival and made frequent appearances at the BBC Proms. Equally at home in the opera house, and with over thirty operas in his repertoire, Vasily Petrenko has conducted widely on the operatic stage, including at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, Opernhaus Zürich, the Bayerische Staatsoper, and the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Vasily Petrenko has established a strongly defined profile as a recording artist. Amongst a wide discography, his Shostakovich, Rachmaninov and Elgar symphony cycles with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra have garnered worldwide acclaim. With the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, he has recently released cycles of Scriabin’s symphonies and Strauss’ tone poems.
In September 2017, Vasily Petrenko was honoured with the Artist of the Year Award at the prestigious annual Gramophone Awards, one decade on from receiving their Young Artist of the Year award in October 2007. In 2010, he won the Male Artist of the Year at the Classical BRIT Awards and is only the second person to have 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), awards which recognise the immense impact he has had on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the city’s cultural scene.
For further information, please visit: www.vasilypetrenkomusic.com
Source: Classic Concerts Management
Following recent debuts with the Chicago, Pittsburgh and London symphony orchestras, Lukáš Vondráček has a season packed with highlights ahead of him. In 2021/22 he will debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at Hollywood Bowl and return to renowned orchestras such as Baltimore and Chicago symphony orchestras, both under the baton of Marin Alsop. Elsewhere Lukáš Vondráček will appear with Orchestre National de Lille conducted by Lionel Bringuier, Warsaw Philharmonic as well as the Turku and Malmö symphony orchestras. Recital projects will take him to the Rudolf Firkusny Piano Festival at Prague’s Rudolfinum and the Kissinger Summer Festival. He will take his residency with the Janáček Philharmonic into the next season and continue his recording cycle of all Rachmaninov Piano concertos with Prague Symphony Orchestra.
Over the last decade Lukáš Vondráček has travelled the world working with orchestras such as the Philadelphia, Tasmanian and Sydney Symphony orchestras, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Symphony Radio Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic and Netherlands Philharmonic orchestras under conductors such as Paavo Järvi, Gianandrea Noseda, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Marin Alsop, Christoph Eschenbach, Pietari Inkinen, Vasily Petrenko, Jakub Hrůša, Anu Tali, Xian Zhang, Krzysztof Urbański, Stéphane Denève and Elim Chan, among many others. Recitals have led him to Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, the Flagey in Brussels, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Wiener Konzerthaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and to renowned festivals such as Menuhin Festival Gstaad, PianoEspoo in Finland, Prague Spring Festival and Lille Piano Festival.
At the age of four Lukáš Vondráček made his first public appearance. As a fifteen-year-old in 2002 he made his debut with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy which was followed by a major US tour in 2003. His natural and assured musicality and remarkable technique have long marked him out as a gifted and mature musician. He has achieved worldwide recognition by receiving many international awards, foremost the Grand Prix at the 2016 Concours Reine Elisabeth in Brussels alongside first prizes at the Hilton Head and San Marino International Piano Competitions and Unisa International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa, as well as the Raymond E. Buck Jury Discretionary Award at the 2009 International Van Cliburn Piano Competition.
After finishing his studies at the Academy of Music in Katowice and the Vienna Conservatoire, Lukáš Vondráček obtained an Artist Diploma from Boston's New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Hung-Kuan Chen, graduating with honours in 2012.
Source: Harrison Parrott
The Rudolfinum is one of the most important Neo-Renaissance edifices in the Czech Republic. In its conception as a multi-purpose cultural centre it was quite unique in Europe at the time of its construction. Based on a joint design by two outstanding Czech architects, Josef Zítek and Josef Schultz, a magnificent building was erected serving for concerts, as a gallery, and as a museum. The grand opening on 7 February 1885 was attended by Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, in whose honour the structure was named. In 1896 the very first concert of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra took place in the Rudolfinum's main concert hall, under the baton of the composer Antonín Dvořák whose name was later bestowed on the hall.