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.