Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko leads the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in Rachmaninov’s third and most expressive symphony, paired with his capriccio on gypsy themes, the Caprice Bohémien. Since Petrenko took up the baton of the RLPO’s Principal Conductor in 2006 (and then Chief Conductor in 2009), this partnership has flourished; and the orchestra is now described as “premier league”. Caprice Bohémien is one of Rachmaninov’s earlier works, composed just before his First Symphony, and is a colourful fantasy on a gypsy theme. Much of the inspiration came from the composer’s one act opera Aleko, based on The Gypsies by Pushkin (and with which he graduated the St Petersburg Conservatory with a rare gold medal). Although Rachmaninov had not lived in Russia for a while, the Symphony No.3 is the most expressively Russian of his symphonies even though he wrote it at his house on Lake Lucerne; in fact his outlook remained quintessentially Russian wherever he was living.
Vasily Petrenko studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire and participated in masterclasses with such major figures as Ilya Musin, Mariss Jansons, Yuri Temirkanov and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Petrenko is the current Principal and Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2009, following his tremendous debut with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, which for the Guardian “deliver[ed] a clarity of expression that sounds as if he has been at the helm of the NYO for years”, he was appointed their Principal Conductor to work with the orchestra each season. In February 2011 it was announced that Petrenko will take up the position of Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra from the 2013/14 season.