Meet Kirill Petrenko!

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    Ludwig van Beethoven
    Symphony No. 7 in A major, op. 92 (44 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Kirill Petrenko

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    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Symphony No. 6 in B minor, op. 74 “Pathétique” (52 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Kirill Petrenko

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    Alexander Scriabin
    Le Poème de l’extase, op. 54 (25 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Kirill Petrenko

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    Edward Elgar
    Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, op. 63 (54 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Kirill Petrenko

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    Interview
    Dawn of a new era: Kirill Petrenko and the Berliner Philharmoniker (10 min.)

On 23 August 2019, at the beginning of the 2019/2020 season, Kirill Petrenko took up his position as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker. The concert with Alban Berg’s Lulu Suite and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony received a standing ovation from the audiences. The election of the Russian conductor by the orchestra took place four years earlier. The orchestra’s decision was seen as surprising only in so far as Petrenko had previously presented no more than three concert programmes with the orchestra. However, these encounters in 2006, 2009 and 2012 had left an extremely deep impression on the Philharmoniker.

It is not only the juxtaposition of established masterpieces with little-known pieces that shows Petrenko’s keen sense for exciting concert dramaturgy. He also knows how to delight musicians and audiences through the rare combination of meticulous detail in rehearsals and infectious passion in the performances. The fact that for him precision and emotionality, “hard work” and “artistic happiness” are interrelated, Petrenko himself stated after his election as chief conductor in view of the future cooperation with the Philharmoniker: “Above all, I hope for many moments of artistic happiness playing music together that reward our hard work and make our artistic lives meaningful.”

In the period between his election and taking up office, Petrenko steadily increased the frequency of his visits to Berlin: he conducted programmes in 2017 and 2018 as well as the opening concert of the 2018/2019 season and then went on tour with the orchestra to Salzburg, Lucerne and London, plus an appearance at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden. The repertoire performed ranged from the First Viennese School (Mozart, Beethoven) to contemporary music (John Adams). The present selection features highlights from this first working phase of Petrenko with the Berliner Philharmoniker which lasted from 2006 to 2019, and thus, to a certain extent, the chief conductor “ante portas”. The playlist is complemented by the film The Beginning of a New Era: Kirill Petrenko and the Berliner Philharmoniker made shortly before Petrenko’s inauguration in which members of the orchestra describe their view of the conductor.

Petrenko’s eye for rarities is represented here by Edward Elgar’s Second Symphony, which the orchestra had not played for decades. Profound music which has an unusually large scale of expression, as the conductor described it in an interview for the Digital Concert Hall. Alexander Scriabin’s Poème de l'extase, which in the present performance culminates in a tremendous unleashing of sound, is also heard only rarely in (German) concert halls. The core repertoire, on the other hand, includes Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, a “signature piece” of the Philharmoniker whose interpretation in the opening concert of the 2018/2019 season Petrenko developed entirely from its rhythmic energy. Another highlight – in Petrenko’s first concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker after his election – was Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, known as the Pathétique: a confessional work that was characterised by formal precision and emotional force in the interpretation performed by the orchestra and its future chief conductor and acclaimed by the audience.