Graduated with honours from the Leningrad Conservatory in 1980, since that same year he has been member of the Kirov (Mariinsky) theatre cello section, since 1991 assistant concertmaster and since 2013 concertmaster. He participated in spectacles and concerts under the direction of Valery Gergiev, Yuri Temirkanov, Viktor Fedotov, Yevgeny Kolobov, Semyon Bychkov, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Mariss Jansons, Paavo Järvi, Mstislav Rostropovich and other major conductors.
As member of the orchestra he performs cello solos in stage works (Nabucco, Rigoletto, Aida, Otello, Don Quichotte, Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades, Sleeping Beauty, The Fountain of Bakhchisarai) and symphony works (Shostakovich’s Fifteenth Symphony et al.) He also participates in Mariinsky theatre tours and recordings.
In addition to the orchestral work he plays in chamber halls of the theatre as soloist and member of the ensembles. In 2010 he founded the MarCello ensemble consisting of Mariinsky Orchestra cello players. This ensemble performs annual concerts dedicated to famous cellists of the past that worked at the Mariinsky theatre.
Since 1985 he has also taught at the Mravinsky Music School and since 1992 at the Special Music School of the St Petersburg Conservatory. Among his pupils are several laureates of international competitions and orchestral musicians working in Russia and abroad.
In 2019, Alexander Ponomarenko was awarded 1st prize at the Glazounov violin-viola-cello competition in Paris.