As of 2019/20 Kirill Petrenko has taken over the post as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker.
He was born in Omsk, Siberia, and studied piano at the school of music there. He appeared in public as a pianist for the first time at the age of eleven with the symphony orchestra in Omsk. In 1990 he moved with his family to Vorarlberg, Austria, where his father accepted a position as an orchestral musician and music teacher. Petrenko continued his studies in Feldkirch, then studied conducting at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.
His first engagement took him to the Wiener Volksoper immediately after graduation. From 1999 to 2002 Kirill Petrenko was general music director at the Theater Meiningen, where he attracted international attention for the first time in 2001 with a production of Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen”, directed by Christine Mielitz with sets by Alfred Hrdlicka. In 2002 Kirill Petrenko began his tenure as general music director of the Komische Oper Berlin, where he conducted a series of impressive productions until 2007.
Petrenko’s international career developed rapidly during his years in Meiningen and Berlin. In 2000 Kirill Petrenko made his debut at the Maggio Musicale in Florence, in 2001 at the Wiener Staatsoper and the Semperoper in Dresden, in 2003 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Opéra National de Paris, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London, the Bayerische Staatsoper and New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and in 2005 at the Frankfurt Opera. From 2006 to 2010 he presented a cycle of Tchaikovsky’s three Pushkin operas (“Mazeppa”, “Eugen Onegin” and “Pique Dame”) with Peter Stein in Lyon.
After leaving the Komische Oper Berlin Kirill Petrenko worked as a freelance conductor.
Kirill Petrenko began his tenure as general music director of the Bayerische Staatsoper in autumn 2013. Since then he has conducted, in addition to a huge number of revivals, premieres of “Die Frau ohne Schatten”, “La clemenza di Tito”, “Die Soldaten”, “Lucia di Lammermoor”, “South Pole” (Miroslav Srnka, Uraufführung), “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, “Lulu”, “Il Trittico”, “Parsifal”, “Otello” and “Salome”. In his last season Saison as general music director in 2019/20 he led a new production of “Die tote Stadt” among others. At the Münchner Opernfestspiele in 2021 he will return with a new production of Tristan und Isolde, as well as revivals of “Salome” and “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”.
In addition to his operatic career Kirill Petrenko has also appeared on concert stages throughout the world. He has collaborated with leading orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Wiener Philharmoniker, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Bayerische Staatsorchester, the Sinfonieorchester des WDR Köln, the Philharmoniker Hamburg and the NDR-Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, the Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester, the Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam, das Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, die Wiener Symphoniker, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra Santa Cecilia in Rom, the Orchestra sinfonica nazionale Turin and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Kirill Petrenko has also conducted concerts at the Bregenz and Salzburg Festivals.
From 2013 until 2015 he conducted the new production of Richard Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” at the Bayreuth Festival.