Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra showed why they have become one of the UK’s most compelling teams.
2018-2019 season highlights with our Chief Conductor include the complete Brahms’ symphonies and his German Requiem conducted and introduced by Petrenko, as well as some of his signature interpretations with the Orchestra including Rachmaninov’s Isle of the Deadand Piano Concerto No 2. Petrenko will also conduct our Principal Cello, Jonathan Aasgaard in the haunting Cello Concerto by Mieczysław Weinberg, to mark the composer’s centenary year.
Vasily Petrenko was appointed Principal Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra from September 2006 and in September 2009 became Chief Conductor. He is Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Chief Conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia.
In September 2017, Vasily Petrenko was honoured with the ‘Artist of the Year’ award at the prestigious annual ‘Gramophone Awards’, one decade on from receiving their ‘Young Artist of the Year’ award in October 2007. In 2010 and 2012 he won ‘Male Artist of the Year’ at the ‘Classic Brit Awards’.
In 2016 he was made a ‘Citizen of Honour of the City of Liverpool’ and is only the second person to have been awarded Honorary Doctorates by both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University and an Honorary Fellowship by Liverpool John Moores University, honours which recognise the immense impact he has had on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the city’s cultural life. Petrenko has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of York.
Recent additions to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s discography with Petrenko include award-winning surveys of Rachmaninov’s symphonies, orchestral works and complete piano concertos with Simon Trpčeskiand the complete symphonies of Shostakovich, Elgar, and Tchaikovsky ‘s symphonies and piano concertos which have garnered world-wide critical acclaim. The recording of Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 and 5, won ‘Recording of the Year’ and ‘Orchestral Recording of the Year’ at the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017.
Principal Guest Conductor
….the greatest living interpreter of Vaughan Williams’ music. The performances of the Fifth and Sixth symphonies last week in Liverpool were awesome.
Appointed in June 2018 as Principal Guest Conductor, Andrew Manze is celebrated as one of the most stimulating and inspirational conductors of his generation. Prior to his appointment, he had appeared with the Orchestra many times.
2018-2019 season highlights include completing the final instalment of Manze’s critically acclaimed journey with the Orchestra in concert and on disc of Vaughan Williams’ Symphonies
In November, Manze conducts our first Young Artist in Residence, the young British cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Sheku’s debut concert in that role will see him perform Elgar’s Cello Concerto(8 Nov)
And in the same month, Manze unites the orchestras and choirs of Liverpool and Hannover, both UNESCO cities of Music in Benjamin Britten’s landmark War Requiem in Hannover’s Kuppersaal (3 Nov) and Liverpool Cathedral (10 Nov)
After reading Classics at Cambridge University, Manze studied the violin and rapidly became a leading specialist in the world of historical performance practice. He became Associate Director of the Academy of Ancient Music in 1996; later posts have included Artistic Director of the English Concert, Associate Guest Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the Norwegian Radio Symphony.
Manze also teaches, edits and writes about music, as well as broadcasting regularly on radio and television.
Sir Andrew Davis CBE
Conductor Emeritus tears through Mahler (2) …if Munch’s Scream could talk, this is what it might have sounded like.
In 2015, Sir Andrew Davis CBE, one of Britain’s most distinguished conductors, accepted the honorary title of Conductor Emeritus of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sir Andrew follows the late conductors Vernon Handley CBE and Sir Charles Mackerras who held the Conductor Emeritus title from 1997-2008 and 2009-2010 respectively. The honorary title reflects Liverpool Philharmonic’s aim to recognise the most important musicians of our day who have a long-standing association with the Orchestra and who have made a significant contribution to our musical life.
Sir Andrew’s association with Liverpool dates back to the 1960s and the start of his career; he has conducted the Orchestra many times since, most notably in Liverpool Philharmonic’s 150th Anniversary Concert in February 1991, the concert in memory of the Orchestra’s former Principal Conductor Sir Charles Groves in 1992, and in 2008 during Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture year, when he led the Orchestra in a special performance attended by our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen. He last conducted the Orchestra in September 2017 in a concert that included Dvořák’s New World Symphony.
Sir Andrew Davis is Music Director and Principal Conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony. His career spans over 40 years during which he has been the musical and artistic leader of several of the world’s most distinguished opera and symphonic institutions including the BBC Symphony Orchestra Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Toronto Symphony. He has conducted virtually all of the world’s major orchestras, opera companies and festivals.
Born in 1944 in Hertfordshire, England, he studied at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was an organ scholar before taking up conducting. He has an extensive discography on multiple labels and currently records exclusively for Chandos.
In 1992, he was made a Commander of the British Empire and in 1999 was designated a Knight Bachelor.
Libor Pešek KBE
Born in Prague in 1933, Libor Pešek has enjoyed an international conducting career for over 50 years. He was Principal Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra from 1987-1997, becoming Conductor Laureate in 1997.
He was Conductor in Residence of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 1982-1991. He continues as Principal Guest Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
Pešekhas helped to make Czech music famous the world over, particularly through his recordings with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic. He is a major supporter of the music of his homeland including works by composers such as Suk, Dvořák, Novák and Janáček. Under his baton Liverpool Philharmonic was dubbed ‘the best Czech Orchestra this side of Prague’ and in May 1993, became the first non-Czech orchestra to open the prestigious Prague Spring Festival.
Pešek studied conducting, piano, cello and trombone at Prague’s Academy of Music and Arts.
In 1996, he was made Knight Commander of the British Empire.
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir are on a roll….. a bold and thrilling Verdi Requiem which saw them being applauded not just by the audience, but by the soloists too.
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, under Chorus Master Ian Tracey has another busy and challenging season. Highlights include Britten’s War Requiem, Handel’s Messiah (5 January), Bach’s Mass in B minor, Mozart’s Kyrie in D minor, Duruflé’s Requiem, Elgar’s The Music Makers and the annual Spirit of Christmas concerts, conducted by Ian Tracey.
Over the past 33 years, Ian Tracey has conducted some 250 concerts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir.
He also has a life-long association with Liverpool Cathedral and its music. He studied organ with Lewis Rust and then with Noel Rawsthorne. Studies at Trinity College, London, culminated in Fellowship, after which scholarship grants enabled him to study with Andre Isoir and Jean Langlais in Paris, and conducting with Liverpool Philharmonic’s late Conductor Emeritus, Vernon Handley.
When appointed Organist of Liverpool Cathedral in 1980, Ian was the youngest cathedral organist in Britain. After 27 years of service, the Cathedral’s Dean and Chapter created the post of Organist Titulaire, which allows him freedom to devote more time to playing, lecturing, recording, and writing. He has played at most of the major venues in the UK and at an increasing number in Europe.
Tracey has made 25 extensive tours of the USA, and has performed in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Bermuda, Paris, Holland, Germany, Jersey and Spain and Australia.
He holds fellowships from 23 musical institutions and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Liverpool. Other posts include Organist to the City of Liverpool, Organist at St George’s Hall, Guest Director of Music for the BBC’s Daily Service, Professor, Fellow, and Organist at Liverpool John Moores University, and Tonal Director for Church Organ World. He was commissioned as a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Merseyside in 2015.
Artistic Director Youth Ensembles
What an experience too for the young singers of the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir, joining forces here with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir to create an army of voices for this city premiere of John Rutter's new, effervescent, chime-filled choral work The Gift of Life.
Youth Ensembles highlights this season include the Youth and Children’s Choirs performances in Spirit of Christ and Sing-along with Santa, and two concerts by Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
Simon Emery became Artistic Director of Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Ensembles at the beginning of 2014-15 season.
As part of this role, he is Principal Conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. He continues as Director of Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir, a post he has held since 1998. He has conducted the Youth Choir in numerous concerts, including the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, as well as broadcasts and recordings, and has led them to great success in competitions, including third place at the 2011 Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
Born in 1968, Simon gained his LTCL diploma in violin performance aged 16. He read Music and Theology at the University of Birmingham, also studying the violin with Jacqueline Ross and voice with Brian Rayner-Cooke at Birmingham Conservatoire.
In 1993 he became a music teacher at St Mary’s College, Crosby; after five years he was appointed Director of Music, and led the department on tours to Australia, Canada, Austria and Italy, and the formation of numerous ensembles. During this time he wrote and directed two community musicals for the Blackwood Institute in South Wales.
In 2009 he moved to become Director of Music at the Liverpool Blue Coat School, where he is responsible for music throughout the school. He directs the school choir and orchestra, and leads a strong academic department. In addition to his conducting and teaching, Simon is active as a jazz pianist with the group Jazz It Up, which includes musicians from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and as an adjudicator and accompanist. Simon is the proud father of four children.