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London Philharmonic Appoints Karina Canellakis as Principal Guest Conductor

The National Herald Archive

London Fhilharmonic Orchestra rehersal. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

LONDON, UK – The London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) on April 6 announced the appointment of Greek-American conductor Karina Canellakis as its new Principal Guest Conductor from September 2020.

According to the LPO’s news release: One of the most dynamic and exciting conductors of our time, Karina Canellakis made an immediate impact on the players of the LPO when she made her debut with them in October 2018 in a concert of Sibelius, Dvorak and Bartok at the Royal Festival Hall. Currently Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Principal Guest Conductor of the Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Canellakis’s international reputation has quickly grown since winning the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award in 2016.

Canellakis began her career as a violinist, graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music, performing frequently as soloist and chamber musician, and playing for two years in the Berlin Philharmonic as a member of their Orchester-Akademie. She then spent a number of years playing regularly in the Chicago Symphony and appearing as Guest Leader of various orchestras including the Bergen Philharmonic. Having been inspired to focus more seriously on conducting, she decided to study at Juilliard, and began conducting professionally in 2013, initially with the International Contemporary Ensemble in New York. She made her European conducting debut in 2015 and over the last few seasons has made hugely successful debuts with leading orchestras around the world that have resulted in instant re-invitations and lasting relationships.

Canellakis will conduct four Royal Festival Hall concerts with the LPO in the 2020-21 season. Her first concert as Principal Guest Conductor is part of the LPO’s year-long 2020 Vision series, pairing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 with John Adams’s concerto for string quartet, Absolute Jest [October 3, 2020]. The following day she conducts the Orchestra in one of its FUNharmonics concerts. She returns to the RFH in April 2021 to conduct Komarov’s Fall by the LPO’s Composer in Residence, Brett Dean [April 14, 2021], and a program of Brahms and Beethoven with Stephen Hough [April 16, 2021]: a program that she will also take to Brighton as part of the LPO’s residency [April 17, 2021].

Timothy Walker, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the LPO, said in the news release, “There are very few conductors who instantly impress players by their command of a score, their insights and their intellectual rigor. Karina is one of those few, and everyone at the London Philharmonic Orchestra is thrilled that she will join us as our next Principal Guest Conductor. We look forward to many years of music-making with Karina.”

Karina Canellakis, Principal Guest Conductor, said, “I am honored and excited to become the new Principal Guest Conductor of the LPO, an orchestra which both impressed me and captured my heart during our first rehearsals together. Together we are going to explore all kinds of different repertoire, looking through a fresh lens at the most beloved works of Beethoven and Brahms, plunging into the intense world of Shostakovich, as well as venturing into lesser known territory with works such as Brett Dean’s Komarov’s Fall. I cannot wait to see the members of the Orchestra again, to hear their virtuosic and soulful playing, and to make thrilling music together.”