Vasily Petrenko – The Interview!!!
I interviewed Vasily this week prior to the upcoming White Nights concert at The Phil. Vasily is the Chief Conductor of The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
Here are his thoughts on Liverpool, music and upcoming performances.
Question 1 – Vasily, what do you like most and least living here on Merseyside?
The most is the people, their love of any sort of art, their creativity and the will to progress and move forward. That is what I like.
What I dislike is the ‘noisy weekend culture’ and a habit to leave litter. The city deserves to be more tidy.
Question 2 – The orchestra has an accomplished classical repertoire, how do you see this extending over the next few years? More Mahler and Tchaikovsky or more modern composers like Michael Nyman for example?
We have discussed this today in fact for the programme 11/12. We want to do a broad range of composers because I think that we should have a balanced diet! I have a huge wish list of music I want to play and to do this list in all my life would not be possible.
Question 3 – You are collaborating with OMD and The Scaffold for the Wondrous Place concert later this year. Do you think that these are just fun pieces or can they make a serious contribution to symphonic music?
It is always fun to collaborate with great musicians, whatever style of music they play. We did this at the opening of Capital of Culture at the Arena with about 20 bands. The Orchestra in particular is able to play a wide variety of styles throughout the year including school and family concerts and even some rock and pop concerts. It is exciting for the Orchestra to play one day Bruckner then one day Paul Mc Cartney.
Question 4 – Leading on from the last question, who would you most like to collaborate with in the symphonic world and the pop world?
There are so many in the symphonic world that I would like to collaborate with and I am bringing as many as I can to Liverpool. There are also others that I would like to work with around the world. I would not want to single any individuals out and would want to collaborate with as many as possible.
There are many Liverpool pop bands I would like to collaborate with also as the City is in the Guinness Book of Records in this regard!
Question 5 – You are well known as a lover of opera but the present auditorium is a bit small for full scale productions. How have your collaborations with the European Opera Centre been going and what are your future plans?
We have a production every other year with the European Opera Centre. This is very enjoyable and this is great, great music. We are discovering some hidden gems and some great young singers who have since gone to perform at some of the great opera houses around the globe.
I would want to play a part in extending opera here in Liverpool and the European Opera Centre plays an important role in this.
Question 6 – The community programme called In Harmony that the Phil is running in West Everton, do you see this producing the next Rachmaninov or Bernstein?
Oh, Yeah! At the very beginning I have said we must have an academy like a football team.
In Harmony is bringing everyone together as a team, developing the children’s musical talents and confidence and pride in parents and families.
This is an investment in the future of the community as well as the Orchestra. It will not happen next year but in 3 or 4 years or more, it will bring in fresh forces. Instead of looking abroad or in other cities in the country for our musical talent, it is much better to have them in Liverpool and they will already be in a tradition and knowledge of this music. A little bit like the Barcelona Academy with all its structure.
Last Question – A symphony orchestra is the ultimate example of teamwork. One of our great football teams is looking for a manager right now! Have you applied for the job?
I would say that a conductors job is similar to a football managers job in the psychological aspects, you need to give direction, you need to keep the players motivated, there is competition spirit but a football team always has an opposition. If rehearsals go correctly there is no opposition on the day of a performance, just supporters. So there are similarities but differences. I play football myself with the orchestra but whatever you do, you need to be professional and particularly in such tough conditions as the English Premiership!
Vasily, thank you again and I look forward to coming to the concert on Saturday.
Vasily Petrenko conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra this Saturday, 7-30pm at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2 played by Simon Trpčeski and Shostakovich Symphony No5.
Box Office 0151 709 3789
Buy tickets online at www.liverpoolphil.com