Kirill Petrenko: ‘I am very shy at the beginning’

Kirill Petrenko: ‘I am very shy at the beginning’


norman lebrecht

July 23, 2015

The Berlin Phil have posted a subtitled interview clip from 2012 with their incoming chief conductor.

Asked how he gets his particular sound in each piece with an orchestra, he tells clarinettist Alexander Bader: ‘I work on it a lot at home. When I study a score I learn it page by page and I sing it to myself.

‘Otherwise when I step in front of this kind of orchestra you have so much coming at you, unless you have your own idea of sound you will just go under….It ought to sound different with every conductor.’

kirill petrenko conducting

The interview was filmed the last time Kirill worked with Berlin, in December 2012.



  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    That’s how he’s worked in Bayreuth. Very demanding of himself and utterly uncompromising with others.

    • Olassus says:

      Utterly uncompromising with others?

      That doesn’t sound good at all!

      • Tom says:

        I don’t think that’s a problem. Being uncompromising doesn’t necessarily mean you behave like Toscanini. What it does mean is that you work and cajole and persuade until the sound you had in mind is realised. It’s about having high standards and ensuring that the orchestra meets them, rather than bullying people.

        It’s what good conductors do; and plainly, Petrenko is a good conductor.

  • Hilary says:

    One of the best descriptions of what the role of the conductor (ideally)is. Not easy put into words but he has succeeded.

  • Derek Williams says: