Internationally acclaimed for her emotional intensity, precision, and interpretive depth, Karina Canellakis is the winner of the 2016 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award. She made her European conducting debut in 2015 with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Graz, Austria, replacing the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt, returning the following June to conduct Concentus Musicus Wien in four symphonies of a Beethoven Cycle. She first made headlines in 2014 filling in last-minute for Jaap van Zweden in Shostakovich’s 8th Symphony with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where she held the position of Assistant Conductor for two seasons.
Ms. Canellakis begins the 17/18 season with her debut conducting the Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Berlin and at the PROMS in London with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, as well as her return to the Zurich Opera to conduct Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Notable engagements this season include the Orchestre de Paris, Bamberger Symphoniker, Hallé Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, as well as re-invitations to the Stockholm Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, and Danish National Orchestra.
Last season, Ms. Canellakis made debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, and symphonies of Toronto and Milwaukee. She conducted the world premiere of David Lang’s new opera The Loser at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Peter Maxwell Davies’ new opera The Hogboon with the Luxembourg Philharmonic, and a fully staged production of Verdi’s Requiem at the Zurich Opera.
In past seasons, Ms. Canellakis led a production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with the Curtis Opera Theatre at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and made debuts that included the Cincinnati, Detroit, and San Diego Symphonies, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Mostly Mozart Festival leading International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and the Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca, Italy.
Already known to many in the classical music world for her virtuoso violin playing, Ms. Canellakis was initially encouraged to pursue conducting by Sir Simon Rattle while she was playing regularly in the Berlin Philharmonic for two years as a member of their Orchester-Akademie. In addition to appearing frequently as soloist with various North American orchestras, she subsequently played regularly in the Chicago Symphony for over three years, and appeared on several occasions as guest concertmaster of the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway. She spent many summers performing at the Marlboro Music Festival. She plays a 1782 Mantegazza violin on generous loan to her from a private patron.
Ms. Canellakis is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School. Her other major mentors have been Alan Gilbert and Fabio Luisi. She was born and raised in New York City and speaks French, German and Italian.