Berlin Philharmonic names Kirill Petrenko as new chief conductor

The cliffhanger over who will succeed Simon Rattle as chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic ended Monday with the announcement that Kirill Petrenko has been named to one of the most illustrious posts in all of classical music.

Petrenko, a Russian-born conductor who leads the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany, is expected to start his tenure with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2018. "Words cannot express my feelings -- everything from euphoria and great joy to awe and disbelief," the conductor said in a news release.


"I am aware of the responsibility and high expectations of me, and I will do everything in my power to be a worthy conductor of this outstanding orchestra."

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The Berlin Philharmonic said that Petrenko was elected by a "a large majority" of orchestra members. Unlike classical music groups in the U.S., the Berlin Philharmonic allows its musicians to vote for its top conductor.

Last month, the orchestra deadlocked on choosing a successor to Rattle, who has been with the orchestra since 2002.

The Berlin Philharmonic is generally regarded as one of the best orchestras in the world. Past chief conductors include Claudio Abbado, Herbert von Karajan and Wilhelm Furtwangler.

Petrenko, who was born in Siberia in 1972, has guest conducted with the orchestra only a few times, most recently in 2012. His previous jobs include music director of the Komische Oper Berlin, and he has conducted Wagner's "Ring" cycle for the Bavarian State Opera.

In 2007 he guest conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in a concert that included music by Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and Shostakovich.

His tenure with the Bavarian State Opera is set to conclude in 2018.

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT