Vasily Petrenko, principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra _158
VICKY Anderson talks to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s conductor as he gets ready for the Albert Hall
THE Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra continues its remarkable year tonight with a hotly-anticipated concert at the BBC Proms.
It is being hailed by critics as one of the potential highlights of the annual classical festival, and marks a high-profile debut at the event for principal conductor, Vasily Petrenko.
It’s a big night for all concerned, as the RLPO returns to the Proms for the first time in three years, more confident and with higher hopes than before.
Although Petrenko is, as usual, the centre of attention, he says there’s simply more to it than a personal career first.
“We need to show what we can do,” he says.
“I think it’s more important for the city and the orchestra, for them to show themselves in their full glory and to show the opinion which has been created about Liverpool orchestra and the city itself is wrong. So many things have changed in the last few years and they have both slowly built up their profile. The Proms is an opportunity to play for such a big amount of people in a beautiful hall, nothing more than that, to be honest.
“You have to do concerts on the same level in the Albert Hall or Carlisle, you have to give yourself completely.
But the Proms have this luxury position, when a lot of people are coming just because it is the Proms.”
Personally, he says that conducting cannot be measured in terms of individual performances alone.
“Conducting is the base of all your life, and for me, the biggest honour will be after my death, 50 years after, if anyone remembers my name, then it is completed.”
A heavy topic for the untypical surroundings of the Yate’s Wine Lodge on Bold Street, where we had retreated in the early evening after plans for coffee were thwarted by the strict 7pm closure of every discernible chain on the road.
As time ticked on and the volume of the chart compilation in the background eked up, conversation turned to the prominence of tonight’s programme, which comprises Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances (“I love this piece and it deserves more popularity”), Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 2 with pianist Paul Hughes, and the premiere of Graven Image, a new work from the Phil’s composer-in-residence, Liverpudlian Kenneth Hesketh.