Since the 2019/20 season, Kirill Petrenko has been chief conductor and artistic director of the Berliner Philharmoniker. He received his training first in Russia, then in Austria. The international music world first became aware of him when he premiered Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung at the Meiningen Theater in 2001, directed by Christine Mielitz and designed by Alfred Hrdlicka, performed on four consecutive days. He conducted the cycle for the second time twelve years later at the Bayreuth Festival. At the same time, Kirill Petrenko took up his post as general music director of Bayerische Staatsoper, his third leading position at an opera house after Meiningen and the Komische Oper Berlin. He also made guest appearances at the world’s top opera houses (from the Wiener Staatsoper, Covent Garden in London and the Opéra National in Paris to the Metropolitan Opera in New York) as well as with the great international symphony orchestras – in Vienna, Munich, Dresden, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Rome, Chicago, Cleveland and Israel. He made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2006. Kirill Petrenko also appears with the Berliner Philharmoniker outside of Berlin – on tour and of course in the Digital Concert Hall. Selected performances are also available as recordings; most recently released was an edition with symphonic works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Franz Schmidt and Rudi Stephan.
Johann Sebastian Bach is his favourite composer and also the focus of our Western music, says Sir András Schiff: “Bach is the pinnacle. All the composers who followed refer back to him in some way or other.” According to András Schiff, the encounter with the Baroque composer influences his playing style as a whole – whether he is performing piano works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann or Bartók. The Budapest-born pianist launched his international career in 1974, when he won first prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Today he is just as celebrated for his reflective but vibrant musicality as for his acclaimed Beethoven and Bach cycles. In addition, he is also an avid chamber musician and sought-after soloist with renowned orchestras, also appearing occasionally as a conductor. Since 1989, he has been one of the artistic friends of the Berliner Philharmoniker, with whom he served as Pianist in Residence during the 2007/08 season. Sir András Schiff, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014, has also cultivated an artistic friendship with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for more than 35 years. “It is a unique ensemble, in which there is no routine,” the pianist says with enthusiasm. “The musicians come from different countries and have learned different playing traditions, but nevertheless they have developed a characteristic sound.”