Winner of the 2016 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, Karina Canellakis is internationally acclaimed for her emotionally charged performances, technical command and interpretive depth. 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 at the last-minute for Jaap van Zweden in Shostakovich Symphony No. 8 with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where she held the position of Assistant Conductor for two seasons.
Ms. Canellakis began the 2017/18 season with her debut at the BBC Proms in London with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a return to the Zurich Opera to conduct Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Notable debuts this season include the Orchestre de Paris, Wiener Symphoniker, Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, Guerzenich Cologne, Bamberger Symphoniker, National Orchestra of Spain, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, the Hallé Orchestra and Seattle Symphony; alongside re-invitations to the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Danish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Vancouver Symphony.
Last season, Ms. Canellakis debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, and Toronto and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras. 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.
Previous seasons have featured orchestral debuts with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston and San Diego Symphony Orchestras, and at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York leading the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). In 2016 Ms. Canellakis conducted Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with the Curtis Opera Theatre at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
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 also spent many summers performing at the Marlboro Music Festival. She plays a 1782 Mantegazza violin on generous loan 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.