Profiles Search » Alexander Petrenko

Alexander Petrenko

Wichita , Kansas , UNITED STATES

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Hometown / ville

Age / âge


How old were you when you started playing your instrument? / Quel âge aviez-vous quand vous avez commencé à jouer votre instrument ?
7 or 8

Why did you choose your instrument / Pourquoi avez-vous choisi cet instrument ?
Initially, percussion seemed a good way to make people get up and dance.

What are your professional goals? / Décrivez quelques-unes de vos ambitions professionnelles.
My experience with teaching at the university level has ironically made me think about music outside of the academy, so, I would say that my first goal is to communicate music outside academic centers, however far-fetched that may seem. The second goal is to play more contemporary music. And again, not necessarily in the places where it is usually played.

What made you decide to pursue classical music? / Pourquoi avez-vous choisi une formation en musique classique ?
I heard a few recordings of popular symphonic pieces from the nineteenth century. At the time, I was also fascinated with excerpt playing, which pre-supposed notions of "perfection" as applied to pitch, rhythm, and even expression. The whole way of looking at music as a process informed by massive links to a shared past, a history, was different from the rock bands and even school percussion ensembles I had played with.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your pursuit of a career in music? / Quel est le plus grand obstacle à surmonter afin de poursuivre une carrière en musique ?
In one word: space. The space required to store and maintain our instruments needs to be enormous. Also, not knowing exactly what you are going to play on when you go to gigs can be scary, instrument-wise. Last, the relative lack of percussion students willing to study privately with you, compared to other instruments. But then again all this is trivial compared to government cuts to arts, music, and so on.

How do you feel you will benefit from participation in NYO Canada? / Comment pensez-vous que votre participation à NYO Canada puisse vous aider?
Aside from the more nuanced expression of musical ideas, in a word: networking. I hope to talk with many musicians about how best to proceed, and what avenues are open to me.

Do you write or arrange your own music? / Êtes-vous compositeur ou arrangeur de votre propre musique ?
No, but I sometimes make my own musique concrète pieces, nothing professional. I have also arranged Bach and Shostakovich for marimba.

Do you participate in any other performing or creative arts?/ Êtes-vous artiste dans un autre milieu que la musique (théâtre, arts visuels, etc.) ?
I hope to write a publishable commentary/article some time soon.

What are your interests outside classical music / Avez-vous d’autres intérêts à part la musique classique ?
Reading/writing are the biggest ones (this includes history). Watching lengthy Russian movies which change from colour to black and white is another.

Who is your favourite classical musician? / Quel est votre artiste (classique) préféré ?
Probably the members of Klangforum Wien.

Who is your favourite non-classical musician? / Quel est votre artiste (non classique) préféré ?
Anthony Braxton

What is your favourite piece of music? / Quel est votre morceau préféré ?
Peter Ablinger - Voices and Piano

What has recently played on your Mp3? / Qu’écoutez-vous ces jours-ci sur votre Mp3?
Elision Ensemble playing Ferneyhough

If you weren't touring with NYO Canada what would you be doing with your summer? / Si vous ne faisiez pas partie de NYO Canada que feriez-vous cet été?
Studying possible programs for a Phd option. This contradicts what I wrote earlier, but it is still what I would have done, because of the current complexity of our musical situation in history, and my personal inclinations.

What is there about you that you think people might be surprised to know? / Y a-t-il quelque chose à votre propos qui est un peu surprenant ou hors de l’ordinaire?
I play too much online chess.

What advice would you give young artists just starting out? / Quel conseil donneriez-vous aux jeunes artistes qui viennent de commencer?
Disregard anything that proposes itself as a simple formula of "greatness = listening to any/all your studio teachers." You should ideally turn the spotlight on the reasons for your own training.

For returning members: What is your fondest memory from a previous session and/or tour? / Pour participants vétérans: Quels sont vos souvenirs préférés de la session ou tournée précédente de NYO Canada?
Working with Kris Maddigan on the integration of our multiple percussion parts on the contemporary piece, and playing that part in the NAC in Ottawa.