Internationally acclaimed for her emotionally charged performances, technical command and interpretive depth, Karina Canellakis has become one of the most in-demand conductors of her generation. The New York City native is the chief conductor of Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The 2021-22 season features concerts with some of the finest European and U.S. orchestras, including her debuts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. She returns to the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Orchestre de Paris. In summer 2021, Canellakis made debuts with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival, the Orchestre National de France at the St. Denis Festival and performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra as the culminating performance of “9 Beethoven Symphonies from 9 Different European Cities” live on ARTE.
On the operatic stage, Canellakis will conduct a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris with the Orchestre National de France. She enjoys performing opera in concert and will lead the Netherlands Radio Orchestra at the Concertgebouw for Janáček’s Kátya Kabanová, the second act of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the third act of Wagner’s Siegfried at the Bregenz Festival. In recent seasons, she has conducted critically acclaimed productions of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte and Le nozze di Figaro, David Lang’s The Loser and Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Hogboon.
Since winning the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award in 2016, Canellakis has been a guest conductor with leading orchestras worldwide, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and the symphony orchestras of Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto, Cincinnati, Minnesota and Detroit. In 2019, she became the first woman to conduct the First Night of the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In 2018, she also was the first woman to ever conduct the Nobel Prize Concert with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.
Already known to many in the classical music world as a violin virtuoso, 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 its Orchester-Akademie. She performed for many years as a soloist, guest leader and chamber musician, spending her summers at the Marlboro Music Festival, until conducting eventually became her focus.