“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…”
“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.”
“With gestures clear yet expressive, Canellakis realized every emotional import, managing every transition with assurance, building climaxes with inevitability.”
The Dallas Morning News
Karina Canellakis begins her tenure as Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in the 2019/20 season. Also in 2019/20, Ms. Canellakis becomes the first Principal Guest Conductor in the history of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSB), and she is featured as the RSB’s Artist in Focus in her inaugural season. Internationally acclaimed for her emotionally charged performances, technical command and interpretive depth, Ms. Canellakis has conducted many of the top orchestras in North America, Europe, the UK, and Australia since winning the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award in 2016.
In the 2019/20 season, Ms. Canellakis makes her debuts with the Atlanta Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Munich Philharmonic, NDR Hamburg, and Rotterdam Philharmonic. Re-invitations include the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Toronto, Dallas, Houston, and North Carolina. In Europe, in addition to her concerts with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and RSB, she returns to the Orchestre de Paris, Stockholm Philharmonic, Gurzenich Orchester, and Zurich Opera to conduct Verdi’s Requiem.
Recent seasons have featured debuts with the Orchestre Symphonique de MontrØal, Vancouver Symphony, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Dresdner Philharmoniker, Olso Philharmonic, Stavanger Symphony, Bamberger Symphoniker, HallØ Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Hong Kong Philharmonic, among others. Last season, Ms. Canellakis’ also made her Australian debut in a four-city tour conducting the symphony orchestras of Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, and Tasmania. Other highlights of the 2018-19 season include leading the prestigious 2018 Nobel Prize Concert with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and returning to the Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
On the operatic stage, Canellakis has conducted Die Zauberflote with the Zurich Opera, Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro with Curtis Opera Theatre, and gave the world premiere of David Lang’s opera The Loser at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She has also led Peter Maxwell Davies’ opera The Hogboon with the Luxembourg Philharmonic.
Already known to many in the classical music world for her virtuoso violin playing, 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. 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.
Karina Canellakis previously served as Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School. Born and raised in New York City, she speaks French, German and Italian.