“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 Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (RSB).

In the 2022-23 season, Karina makes her debut with the National Symphony Orchestra, and returns to the Boston and Dallas Symphonies, as well as the Orchestre de Paris. As Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, she leads an extensive tour of Germany’s most prestigious concert halls with the orchestra and soloist Daniil Trifonov. She also returns to Berlin for concerts in her position as Principal Guest of RSB. Karina continues to present exciting modern pieces as well as well-known masterpieces at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, where she holds the title of Chief Conductor.

After the great success of “Kat’a Kabánova” in the previous season, she brings another Janáček opera, The Cunning Little Vixen, to the stage of the Concertgebouw in April 2023. On the opera stage 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.

Since winning the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award in 2016 Karina has become a guest conductor with leading orchestras around the world, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Munich Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Detroit and Vienna. 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.