Update browser for a secure Minnesota Orchestra experience

It looks like you may be using a web browser version that we don't support. Make sure you're using the most recent version of your browser, or try using of these supported browsers, to get the full Minnesota Orchestra experience: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge.

Karina Canellakis


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). 

The 2021-22 season includes concerts with some of the finest European and US orchestras, including her debuts with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the HR-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio), and returns to the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio), Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Orchestre de Paris. During the summer of 2021, she made debuts with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival, the Orchestre National de France at the St. Denis Festival, and performed Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Wiener Symphoniker as the culminating performance of “9 Beethoven Symphonies from 9 different European cities” live on ARTE. 

On the operatic stage, Karina will conduct a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, with the Orchestre National de France. She enjoys doing opera-in-concert and will lead the Netherlands Radio Orchestra at the Concertgebouw for Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová, the second act of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and the Wiener Symphoniker at the Bregenzer Festspiele in the third act Wagner’s Siegfried. In the past few seasons, she has conducted critically acclaimed productions of 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, Philadelphia Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and the symphony orchestras of Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto, Cincinnati, Minnesota, and Detroit. She happened to be 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.