This really is tremendous news for Liverpool. Known-on-the-streets Vasily is hugely popular in the city, even among people who don’t go to his concerts, and he seems to be “doing a Rattle” when it comes to improving the orchestra’s performing hall. Symphony Hall in Birmingham came into being largely due to the persistence of Simon Rattle during his exciting, name-making tenure there, and now Vasily Petrenko has managed something similar in Liverpool — not the building of a new hall, but a commitment to carry out a major refurbishment of Philharmonic Hall.
This success would be meaningless if it weren’t for this fine young conductor’s musical abilities. In this respect also, he has done for Liverpool what Rattle did for Birmingham, building the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic into something really special. I beg you all to hear at least one of the CDs in his almost complete series of the complete Shostakovich symphonies. Naxos have so far released seven CDs, covering symphonies 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 15, all of which I have, and all of which are of a consistently high standard — certainly a survey of significance and one I would unhesitatingly recommend to anyone seeking to investigate this music.