“Canellakis made the Beethoven sound as fresh as a brand-new piece. It wasn’t that she imposed any eccentricities, but that she brought out the inherent drama — the contrasts of volume and texture, the surprising accents, the slow movement’s heartfelt lyricism (with exquisite clarinet solos from Gregory Raden). The orchestra supplied every asked-for nuance in a performance compelling start to finish.”

Dallas Morning News

“Canellakis’ high-wire act was a dare. The players were kept on the edge of their seats. Something could have derailed it at any moment. Nothing did. It was great.”

Los Angeles Times

“Canellakis did a remarkable job of finding the lyrical radiance and ebb-and-flow of the opening movement (Brahms 3rd symphony with the Vancouver Symphony), putting it together with coherence, beautifully shaped string lines and the needed dramatic force. This was all about beauty and poetry. It is inspiring to see a young conductor exhibiting so much craft and thought – and so much love of the music”

Seen and Heard International

“Karina Canellakis led the orchestra in a fierce and full-blooded reading of one of the canon’s great Romantic symphonies…”

Milwaukee Magazine

“Those big moments were insistent and regal, standing in thrilling contrast to the symphony’s most touching, tender melodies.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“The dynamic young conductor Karina Canellakis made an indelible impression on a packed audience at Sage Gateshead”

The Northern Echo

“Though expressive and engaged, she is disinclined to play to the gallery. Intentions are clear, with no histrionics or fuss. And the results speak for themselves.”

Vancouver Sun

“With gestures clear yet expressive, Canellakis realized every emotional import, managing every transition with assurance, building climaxes with inevitability.”

The Dallas Morning News

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 is the Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

This season, Karina will be the featured Artist-in-Residence at Vienna’s famed Musikverein, conducting four different orchestras; the Wiener Symphoniker, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, London Philharmonic, and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. The four programs present a range of iconic repertoire including Shostakovich’s powerful 8th symphony, Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass, and Beethoven’s Eroica.

Karina’s 23-24 guest engagements include her debut with the New York Philharmonic as well as return engagements with the Boston Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, and NDR Elbphilharmonie. Following last season’s highly successful tour of Germany with the London Philharmonic and Daniil Trifonov, Karina again leads the orchestra to Munich, Athens and Vienna. She presents exciting contemporary pieces and commissions as well as well-known masterpieces at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. Particular highlights include a concert performance of Wagner’s Siegfried as part of the prestigious Zaterdag Matinee series.

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

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

She was the first woman to conduct the First Night of the BBC Proms in London in 2019, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and returned to the Proms in 2022. 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 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. Karina was born and raised in New York City.