Friday, April 21, 2017                                8:00 PM       Jones Hall
Saturday, April 22, 2017                           8:00 PM       Jones Hall
Sunday, April 23, 2017                              2:30 PM       Jones Hall

  Photo Mark McNulty

Vasily Petrenko, conductor

Born in 1976, Vasily Petrenko has studied at the St. Petersburg Capella Boys Music School (the oldest music school in Russia), the St. Petersburg State Conservatory and important masterclasses. Following considerable success in a number of international conducting competitions, including the Fourth International Sergei Prokofiev Competition of Conductors (2003), first prize in the Shostakovich Choral Conducting Competition (1997) and first prize in the Sixth Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition, he was appointed chief conductor of the St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra (2004-2007).

Vasily is chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, chief conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (following a period as principal conductor), chief conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation. He has also served as principal conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and principal guest conductor of the Mikhailovsky Theatre where he began his career as resident conductor.

Having worked with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and music festivals, this and upcoming seasons include tours with the European Union Youth Orchestra and return visits throughout Europe and North America. He debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival.

At home in the opera house, Vasily has more than 30 operas in his repertoire. Last year saw a highly successful debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper with Boris Godunov, and future plans include performances of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Zürich Opera.

Vasily has established an award-winning profile as a recording artist, including the Shostakovich symphony cycle for Naxos Records with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Rachmaninoff’s symphonies, orchestral works and piano concertos with Simon Trpceski, among others. Several 2016 releases included Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet (Lawo Classics).

In 2007, Vasily Petrenko was named Young Artist of the Year at the annual Gramophone Awards; and in 2010, he won the Male Artist of the Year at the Classical Brit Awards. He is the second person to have been awarded honorary doctorates by both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University (in 2009) and an honorary fellowship of the Liverpool John Moores University (in 2012), awards that recognize the immense impact he has had on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the city’s cultural scene.



Elina Vähälä, violin

Born in the United States and raised in Finland, Elina Vähälä made her orchestral debut with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra at age 12 and was later chosen by Osmo Vänskä as the orchestra’s young master soloist. Her career continues to expand on the international stage as she wins praise from audiences and musicians alike.

Elina has appeared with prestigious orchestras and worked with leading conductors, including Leonard Slatkin, Carlos Kalmar, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Okko Kamu, Jakob Hruša, Thierry Fischer and Leif Segerstam. She has toured throughout the United Kingdom, Finland, Germany, China, Korea and South America. In 2008, she was chosen to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, televised to a worldwide audience.

Last season, she performed throughout Finland with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra performing the early version of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto and enjoyed a tour with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, including concerts in Vienna and Salzburg. She returned to North America performing with orchestras in Buffalo and Colorado. Elina will debut with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Japan as well as with the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra performing John Corigliano’s The Red Violin Concerto under conductor Jeffrey Tate.

With a repertoire that ranges from Baroque to contemporary, Elina has given world premieres of Aulis Sallinen’s Chamber Concerto and Curtis-Smith’s Double Concerto, both written for her and pianist-conductor Ralf Gothóni. In addition, she gave the Nordic first performance of Corigliano’s The Red Violin and commissioned a violin concerto from composer Jaakko Kuusisto. Both the Corgiliano and Kuusisto concertos were recorded for BIS in 2013.

Educational activities play an important role in her commitment to music. In 2009, she launched the Violin Academy. Funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the academy is a masterclass-based educational project for select, highly talented young Finnish violinists.
As a devoted chamber musician, Elina Vähälä performs with András Adorján, Yuri Bashmet, Ana Chumachenco, Kim Chee-Yun, Péter Csaba, Itamar Golan, Gothóni, Ivry Gitlis, Bruno Giuranna, Gary Hoffman, Steven Isserlis, Frans Helmerson, Cho-Liang Lin, Adam Neiman, Arto Noras, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Alisa Weilerstein. Please visit