International tours, ambitious recording projects and glittering birthday celebrations are on the cards for Vasily Petrenko as he prepares to conclude his seven-year term as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra at the end of July 2020. Petrenko is set to lead the orchestra until the end of its centenary season and will play a central role as it prepares to enter its second century, directing programmes that reflect its distinguished history and underline its status as one of Europe’s finest symphony orchestras.

“We have two amazing seasons ahead of us and the opportunity to celebrate this wonderful orchestra’s centenary in style,” notes Vasily Petrenko. “I felt it was right for me to mark a new beginning at the end of the orchestra’s anniversary year, to make space in my schedule for more guest conducting opportunities and opera productions. I look back with pride on our five years together so far and on how we’ve broadened the Oslo Philharmonic’s audience while building pioneering creative projects. And I look forward to the next two years, travelling towards the orchestra’s 100th birthday in September 2019 and the centenary season beyond.”

Before opening the Oslo Philharmonic’s 2018-19 season with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade on 22 August, Petrenko will direct the orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival in Strauss’s Don Juan and Prokofiev’s Symphony No.6. He is set to conduct eighteen concerts in Oslo over the new season, including symphonies by Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and Sibelius, Rachmaninov’s choral symphony The Bells, and Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony. He will also drive the Oslo Philharmonic’s centenary season in 2019-20, leading the orchestra in a series of special events at home and on tour. “It has been a huge pleasure for me to be part of the orchestra’s history,” the conductor comments. “I’m enormously grateful to its players and administration and, above all, to the people of Oslo for their strong support and great warmth.”

Ingrid Røynesdal, the Oslo Philharmonic’s Chief Executive Officer, pays tribute to Vasily Petrenko’s critically acclaimed performances since becoming Chief Conductor in 2013 and to his contribution to the orchestra’s artistic development. “We’re about to launch a mighty crescendo up to our centenary celebrations, starting next season, growing through the 2019-20 season, and leading us far into the future,” she says. “It all begins this summer with the orchestra’s concert with Vasily at the Edinburgh International Festival on 16 August and will grow over the centenary season with major international tours.”

The Oslo Philharmonic and Vasily Petrenko will visit Spain in January 2020. Audiences in Cardiff, Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle have the chance to hear their artistic partnership two months later during the orchestra’s centenary season tour of the UK. “In addition to international touring Vasily will continue the Scriabin series he started three years ago and complete our cycle of Richard Strauss’s tone poems for LAWO Classics,” comments Ingrid Røynesdal. “These recordings are a vital part of the orchestra’s life over the next two seasons. Vasily will of course always remain a cherished member of the Oslo Philharmonic’s family, and will return to work as a guest in the 20/21 season and beyond. We’re presently planning a huge anniversary European tour together for autumn 2019, the details of which we will announce later. We all feel that the next two years will be a particularly exciting chapter in the orchestra’s illustrious history as it approaches its 100th anniversary.”

Photo credit: Bård Gundersen