Kirill Petrenko unleashes his streaming strategy

The incoming chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic will not give any interviews or make commercial recordings.

But he will allow the orchestra to live-stream his performances on subscription, and some of the concerts that are closest to his heart will go out free.

Starting tomorrow evening with the national youth orchestra.

Click here to watch.


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  • “Will allow the orchestra to live-stream…”

    So, that’s big of him? As a longtime Digital Concert Hall subscriber, I would think that the BPO would expect it. As far as recordings, several of his concerts are in the DCH archives. He even gives a halftime interview in one of them.

  • I can’t see how the BPO would even have hired him without his agreeing for his concerts to stream in the DCH; that would just seem to be part of the deal. I’m sure it is for any other performer they engage.

    Well, nobody is making commercial recordings these days, so that’s nothing major.

    As others said, there are several interviews/commentaries from his previous concerts, and they’re fine. He even speaks English really well. I hope we’ll get some more.

      • Not lately. Sir Simon is/was an EMI artist and early in his tenure released some recordings. The BPO hasn’t appeared on DG for years, AFAIK.

  • It‘s wonderful that a top musician like Petrenko leads by example and doesn‘t do commercial audio recordings. Sadly recordings have become a „must“ for younger generations, let‘s hope that this can somewhat be reversed/balanced.

    • “Commercial” recordings = recordings that as a rule have good quality and are arguably/potentially the most representative of the artist’s intentions.


      No recordings = no documentation.

  • As Golda Meir would say: “Don’t be so humble, you’re not that great”

    No recordings, no interviews, like the world is begging him to preserve his legacy for eternity.

    • I’ve cut off my Digital Concert Hall subscription precisely because of Petrenko. They could have had Christian Thielemann and that would have kept up my interest level.

  • No commercial recordings, no live interviews, but video streaming is OK. Very much in the Carlos Kleiber mode.

    Well, Kleiber allowed telecasts and commercial release of videotaped performances. But that was the “streaming” of his era.

    Agree that foregoing commercial recordings in 2019 is kinda like getting dumped by your Significant Other and then saying, “You’re not breaking up with me. I broke up with you first.”

    • Please, never compare the gorgeous Carlos Kleiber with K. Petrenko. One eye-candy; the other not so much.

      • One amazing conductor (Petrenko), one much overrated conductor with a tiny and ridiculous repertoire (Kleiber).

        • I can’t comment on Petrenko’s stature as a conductor (although musician colleagues speak very highly of him) but Carlos Kleiber really WAS good. As a resident of Vienna and very frequent Staatsoper attendee in the mid 1990s, I was lucky enough to see one of Kleiber’s Rosenkavalier performances, the one filmed by ORF and available on a DG DVD. Sadly the recording really doesn’t show it, but compared with the many other conductors I saw of that production in Vienna, Kleiber brought an utterly next-level, edge-of-the-seat, chamber-music finesse and energy to this opera, with a standard cast for the period, which I will never forget. Nothing sensational, just really good ensemble in the pit and with the stage, and extra-touching performances from Lott, von Otter, Bonney and Moll — all in all the best operatic performance I’ve ever attended. I understand Kleiber’s shrinking repertoire and cancellations were unfortunately due to personal insecurities, and consider us all lucky to have even a small amount of his art preserved for posterity.

          • I heard him do Rosen at the Met. The Mendelssohnian lightness of the Act 3 Prelude was unforgettable, as was the final Trio. Levine attended every rehearsal and then spent months reminding the orchestra that the texture should be “lighter”. My friend who played in the Met orchestra said “Kleiber was head and shoulders above every other conductor”. And he’d played for almost everybody including Karajan (not Toscanini though!).

          • Kleiber was the greatest of all and Jean seems to have no idea – it’s quality and not quantity! We have enough quantity from Rattle to Barenboim, Maazel to Mehta etc The only real excitement was Kleiber and today we have one that comes close to him and is by far the greatest at the moment: Kiril Petrenko!

      • By the way, Petrenko gives excellent interviews with the players of the orchestra. Further, every year he will answer journalists’ questions at the traditional press conference in April or May.

      • Eye-candy? How is that a criterion for conductors? I thought it was about the music they made. (You know that I am a big Carlos Kleiber fan.)

        • You don’t have to be beautiful or rich – but it definitely helps. In life. I’m sure you don’t want me to labour the point about Kleiber’s charisma and musical knowledge. That would be unfair to others!!!

      • I take it you’ve never heard Petrenko in the flesh. I have heard both conductors in the flesh. Live. Petrenko is the closest conductor to CK I have ever heard and I’ve heard a lot (basically everybody since 1975). I know you’re a CK fan, so am I. Give Petrenko a real listen. You will (or should) hear most of the qualities that made CK such a great conductor. I heard P with the BPO at the Proms (both) – Seckerson in the Gramophone called the music making “incandescent, some of the best I have ever heard.” I agree. CK was a fan of several other conductors, quite open minded in fact – he liked HVK, Szell and Stokowski. Quite a diverse group.

        • “Petrenko is the closest conductor to CK I have ever heard …” not sure what planet your inhabiting Mr Kelly.

          • Petrenko has given three live performances that I have heard, and they all stood out as being exceptionally good. Maybe not to the level of Kleiber, but then, no one else is right now, either (including Thielemann).

          • Opinions and the Internet…beautiful combination.

            It’s funny because even veteran orchestra players will act like they know everything about conducting since they look at a conductor all day long. But the clouds would part to show the true skies if they ever attempted to stand on the podium, hence the arrogance.

            There is a big difference between saying “John Smith is my favorite conductor” and “John Smith is heads and shoulders above every conductor that I have ever heard.” I think only a few people on the planet are qualified to say the latter (and probably never would).

      • I’m as big a fan of Carlos Kleiber as anyone, but I greatly admire Petrenko. The world is big enough for the two of them, esp. since the former is no longer with us.

    • The big difference is that Kirill Petrenko is one of the great conductors contrary to the much overrated Carlos Kleiber.

    • Kleiber is no longer able to conduct.

      K.Petrenko is one of the leading conductors of our era. I intend to enjoy hearing him conduct regularly and I would suggest others would enjoy hearing him too.

  • What he means is he’d only make in-house, live recordings, cut out the middle man, and market and deliver them directly to paid subscribers, thus reducing costs and pocketing all the profits.

    It’s the current economic model for 99% of orchestras in the world.

    So what’s so innovative?

    • Pocketing all the profits? Which profits? There are no profits with that model. But I think DG is making profit after all. Hmmm…

  • “The incoming chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic will not give any interviews or make commercial recordings.” Only excellent performances.

  • Petrenko unleashes nothing. Like nearly everything you write about Petrenko it is wrong. Except his debut at a time where the DCH did not exist you can find all Petrenko concerts with BP in their archives. In every concert he also talkes with musicians. He is is not against interviews – he is against journalists. Very understandable…

    • I think the point here perhaps is that K. Petrenko as BPO MD was a surprise. You can see it reading the posts of that time about possible candidates and backstage info that never had be close to such final decision. Even here, one that had never a real chance were quoted as a front runner(The one is always in SD, for any reason). However at the end, the frustration about a guy anti-hype seems to be too much.

  • I’m not sure what exactly constitutes a commercial recording as some people above have used the phrase, but Petrenko has made a handful for CPO (and very good they are). Obviously the BPO is not going to record for such a small company, but it indicates a willingness for Petrenko to record. I suspect that even while the digital concert hall progressed, Rattle recorded with EMI (I’m not certain about the chronology). It sounds like Petrenko is making a virtue out of necessity. If DG or EMI came calling, would there really be no deal?

  • The BP turned down he who is arguably our time’s best Conductor (CT) in a shameful “election” and hired their own funeral contractor instead.

  • About recordings, it should be noted that Rattle’s last few years were primarily documented on released recordings on the Berlin Phil’s own label, and Petrenko can already be heard conducting John Adams’ The Wound Dresser on the Berlin Phil’s fantastic box set. I see no reason at all why Petrenko wouldn’t continue to release more on the in-house label. A fantastic idea, as far as I’m concerned, not only because I anticipate hearing more Petrenko, but also because the in-house label will afford more freedom in choosing repertoire for releases than any major label.

    • It would be bizarre not to allow the commercial release of music he has conducted. I presume he means that while he is contracted to the BPO he will only record music on the BPO in-house label, rather than with a “commercial organisation”.

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