Born in Omsk, Kirill Petrenko moved with his family to Austria after completing his piano studies, where he developed a taste for conducting. He completed his conducting studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and was appointed Kapellmeister of the Vienna Volksoper.
Petrenko held the post of Generalmusikdirektor of the Meininger Theater from 1999 to 2002, leading productions of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Britten’s Peter Grimes, Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Verdi’s La traviata.
Particularly with Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which he conducted over four consecutive evenings, Petrenko garnered international acclaim in 2001. This led to a growing number of operatic engagements at the Vienna State Opera; the Opéra National in Paris; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the Bavarian State Opera in Munich; and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Serving as Generalmusikdirektor of the Komische Oper Berlin from 2002 to 2007, Petrenko led productions of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Janáček’s Jenůfa and Tchaikovsky’s Yevgeny Onegin. He has held the post of Generalmusikdirektor of the Bavarian State Opera since 2013.
Petrenko has appeared as a guest conductor with Staatskapelle Dresden, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also made numerous guest appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he was appointed chief conductor in June 2015 with effect from 2018.
Petrenko gave his first performance with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2013, conducting Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade.