This month, Vasily Petrenko made his long-awaited debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, performing four concerts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. The first programme on the 6-7 January featured Elgar’s Cockaigne (In London Town), Sibelius’s Violin Concerto with soloist Ning Feng, and Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, while the second programme on the 13-14 January saw pianist Boris Giltburg join the orchestra in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3 alongside Rachmaninov’s Symphony No.2.

The concerts were critically acclaimed by the press, with the South China Morning Post commenting:

“Petrenko’s coolheadedness and fluidity of gesture came across as a pillar of reassurance for the players as he maintained long lines and rhythmic pulse, as steady as can be and never fazed, even as things reached a frenzied pace… Petrenko’s reading with the HK Phil was a doozy, and one for the books. His long, fluid arm and hand movements – reminiscent of the poise and panache of the great Carlos Kleiber – coaxed the most graceful of musical arcs, creating endless space for the strings to surge passionately, which they did…But ultimately it was Petrenko’s innate ability to maintain continual musical tension in a thoughtful, purposeful and unflashy manner that impressed deeply.”

Photo credit: Mark McNulty