Debuts: Michael Barenboim and Vasily Petrenko

For the first time with the Berliner Philharmoniker

Vasily Petrenko
(Photo: Mark McNulty)

A concert programme with a double debut. Two highly gifted young artists, the conductor Vasily Petrenko and the violinist Michael Barenboim, make their debuts with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Born in St. Petersburg, Petrenko – not related to future Philharmoniker's chief conductor Kirill Petrenko – currently holds several leading positions: with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Youth Orchestra of the European Union. He is also a regular guest at leading opera houses and works with international orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles and the Israel Philharmonic.

The best of two systems

He began his musical education at the age of seven at one of the oldest and strictest music schools in Russia, the St. Petersburg Capella, then later studied at the conservatory in his home town and attended master classes with Ilya Musin, Mariss Jansons and Yuri Temirkanov. “My generation was very lucky because we lived in two epoques. We got the best of Soviet education, but we were also able to absorb Western culture.” Standing in for an indisposed Zubin Mehta, Vasily Petrenko conducts Franz Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture plus La Valse and Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé by Maurice Ravel.

A versatile violinist

Within his family, Michael Barenboim is a little unusual in that he did not choose the piano his instrument like his parents Daniel Barenboim and Elena Bashkirova, but the violin. He discovered it at the age of seven when he started learning, first with Abraham Jaffe and later with Axel Wilczok. Today, Michael Barenboim enjoys success on many musical levels – as an orchestra and chamber musician, and a soloist. He is concertmaster of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra which was founded by his father, he guests as a member of the Erlenbusch Quartet at major international festivals, and performs as a soloist with orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. For his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker, he has chosen Arnold Schoenberg’s Violin Concerto, one of the most demanding contributions to the genre of the 20th century. What fascinates him about the work so much? In Schoenberg, the connection between tradition and Modernism is always interesting. “It is highly expressive, very emotional, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be put off by the severity of the twelve tone technique”.

Michael Barenboim
(Photo: Marcus Höhn)