Review: Karina Canellakis Debuts with Philadelphia and Atlanta
Karina Canellakis made “thrilling” debuts with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra this month.
“In Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, [Emanuel Ax] was his usual elegant, insightful self. But Canellakis has the spark of interpretive imagination. Even before the piano makes its entrance a few minutes into the Beethoven, she was detailing the music in the same way she has in opera and orchestra performances with the Curtis Institute of Music since her 2004 graduation there in violin.
The physical cues Canellakis gives are both crisp and dramatic [….] Those opening three minutes before the piano’s entrance were marked with momentum and muscularity, particularly in the strings. Certain phrases were launched with a subtle gust.”
“Earlier in the Beethoven, Canellakis bridged the wide range of musical changes in direction with sweeping, emotive leadership. But it is, of course, impossible to generalize her conducting movements; a vibrant conductor, it appears, at times, as if she’s singing phrases to the orchestra, her baton tracing a broad arc. In other moments, she conducts with sharp snaps of her wrist, meting out a strict beat. Canellakis doesn’t often move or sway with the music, but she is an energetic conductor nonetheless — her hands are expressive and always moving.”