Karina Canellakis

Principal Guest Conductor

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. She has been Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra since September 2021, and recently extended her contract for a further three years, to the end of the 2026/27 season. Karina is also Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.

2023/24 season with the LPO

Karina conducts the LPO in three concerts at the Royal Festival Hall this season: a programme including Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration and a Tania León UK premiere on 25 October 2023; Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony on 28 October 2023; and Brahms’s Fourth on 21 February 2024. She also leads the Orchestra on tour to Munich, Athens and Vienna’s Musikverein, where she is a featured Artist-in-Residence for 2023/24.

Other 2023/34 highlights

As Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, this season Karina presents exciting contemporary pieces, new commissions and well-known masterpieces at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht. Particular highlights include a concert performance of Wagner’s Siegfried as part of the prestigious Zaterdag Matinee series.

Guest engagements include her debut with the New York Philharmonic, as well as returns to the Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Cleveland orchestras, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the NDR Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.

After the great successes of Kat’a Kabánova and The Cunning Little Vixen with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in previous seasons, this season Karina continues her series of Janáček operas with The Makropulos Case. She will also conduct Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier for Santa Fe Opera in summer 2024. Her concert performances of acts of Wagner’s Die Walküre, Tristan und Isolde and Siegfried have met with tremendous critical praise, and she has conducted critically acclaimed productions of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin; Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte and Le nozze di Figaro; David Lang’s the loser; and Peter Maxwell Davies’s The Hogboon.

April 2023 saw the start of a multi-album collaboration between Karina, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Pentatone with their debut release; Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Four Orchestral Pieces. Karina and the RFO were also featured artists for the launch of Apple Music Classical, in a recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Alice Sara Ott.

More about Karina

Since winning the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award in 2016 Karina has become a guest conductor with leading orchestras around the world. She was the first woman to conduct the First Night of the BBC Proms in London in 2019, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. She was also the first woman to ever conduct the Nobel Prize Concert with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic in 2018.

Already known to many in the classical music world for her virtuoso violin playing, Karina 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. 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.

Karina was born and raised in New York City.

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