And the Solti award goes to….

And the Solti award goes to….


norman lebrecht

March 29, 2016

… Karina.

She’s definitely going places.


Evanston, IL – Penny Van Horn, Board Chair of The Solti Foundation U.S. and Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee Chair, are pleased to announce the Foundation’s seventh $25,000 grant, The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, to Karina Canellakis, currently in her second season as Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Symphony.

“It gives us great pleasure to bestow Karina Canellakis, who we recognized just last season with a Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, with this year’s SoltiConducting Award,” stated Mrs. Van Horn. “It is especially exciting to witness her continuing development in both orchestral and operatic fields.  The Foundation extends the legacy of Sir Georg by ensuring that talented young American conductors get the opportunity to demonstrate their musicianship, leadership and full potential to the broadest possible audience.” 

In summer 2016, Karina debuts with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival in New York leading the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca, Italy, and the Grand Teton Music Festival.


  • Emil Archambault says:

    Why do you always refer to women by first names only? You refer to “Jonas Kaufmann” (March 28) “Pierre Boulez” (March 27), “Andris Nelsons” (March 24), “Menahem Pressler” (March 26) “Bryn Terfel” (March 27), but always only “Karina” (Here, Feb. 13), “Mirga” (March 17, Feb. 4 – twice), etc.

    Can’t you see that that is a form of insidious sexism, as if women were not worthy of professional respect?

    • Bruce says:

      I’ve noticed that too and wondered about it. Comes across as a wee bit paternal-sounding, which I doubt NL intends since he is a strong supporter of female conductors in general.

      • Emil Archambault says:

        I find that yes, while NL is quite the champion of gender equality on the surface, he is quite unwilling to recognise the ways in which he perpetuates underlying gender discrimination – this being one of them.

    • Peter says:

      Good observation. The psychological implications are quite obvious.

    • MWnyc says:

      NL uses “Mirga” because everyone does. “Grazynite-Tyla” is too difficult to spell and type. As I understand it, Mirga herself is fine with that.

      “Canellakis” could refer to either Karina or her cellist brother Nick.

      Would/should – does – NL (or anyone else) simply use “Alsop”, “Falletta”, “Mälkki”?

      • Emil Archambault says:

        How about “Karina Canellakis”? Or, as the Solti Award goes to conductors, I think you’ll find that a last name would not lead to significant confusion.

        As for Grazynite-Tyla being difficult to type, that is a ridiculous excuse. One cannot embrace diversity (as NL claims to do) and complain about non-European/American names being hard to type. I hope that does not factor into it.

        As for using last names: The examples I pointed out were of men being referred to by first and last names – I don’t see why that cannot be done for women. Barring that, if one can talk of “Karajan”, “Nagano”, “Ticciati”, “Van Zweden”, etc., I don’t see why “Alsop” or “Mälkki” would be any problematic. Conversely, I don’t think anyone talks of “Antonio”, “Riccardo” or “Alan” – not even “Yannick”, anymore, really.

        There is simply no reason not to refer to women through the same professional designation as men.

    • flipthefrog says:

      What’s the problem? Karina is getting the Georg award, and will be covering for Jaap in April. She also took over Nicolaus’ old orchestra recently. As for Mirga, she assisted Gustavo and will take over for Andris, who took over for Simon. I look forward to hear her conduct Franz, Richard and Gustav, and maybe some American 20th century music by John, John, John, John, John, Steve and Philip.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    She is definitely very talented and deserves all the success she gets. Her prodigious talent aside, Ms. Canellakis is also a lucky person: she enjoys continuous Slipped Disc support!

  • Halldor says:

    And may I be the first to say that I have never heard her perform live but it is well-known that no conductor aged under 70 possesses any artistic insight whatever, least of all in the only repertoire that is remotely significant: 150-year old symphonies by dead Germans. Nether Furtwangler nor Solti nor Toscanini were ever permitted to conduct a major orchestra before they turned 60: FACT. Therefore any success that she achieves must be entirely down to hype from the multi-billion-dollar global classical music industry, shamelessly catering to its vast international audience, who, as we know, are only interested in what is new and photogenic. This will be confirmed by the world’s leading authorities on conducting: retired rank-and-file orchestral viola players.

    Having never heard her conduct, I can say this with absolute confidence. Please see to it that she is sacked from all posts forthwith and replaced with a Karajan box-set.

    • Bruce says:

      ^ Also, it is important to note that she is more beautiful than Solti, therefore she cannot have any depth of musical insight.

      • Emil Archambault says:

        Soon, I hope this blog will tell us what she wears when conducting.

        • Cyril Blair says:

          I saw her conduct last summer. She was wearing a white jacket (as were all the orchestra members) and black pants.

          • Emil Archambault says:

            That was irony, in line with the comments above, and pointing at a recurring theme here…

    • Petros Linardos says:

      I understand the irony in your post, but why mislead people with “facts” about Solti and Furtwängler?

      – Furtwängler became chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic at 36, and that was not the only major position he had before age 40.

      – Solti became music director of the Bavarian State Opera at 32, or the Frankfurt Opera at 38, Covent Garden at 47. He was selected by Decca for the now legendary Ring recording at 44.

      – Ferenc Fricsay, a very great Hungarian conductor, died at 48.

  • Anon says:

    I guess you’re suddenly all for competitions now, Lebrecht? No digging into the deep underbelly to expose any potential controversy? Just taking it on the surface for one of your favourites? Way to stick to your convictions. #notsurprised

    • Max Grimm says:

      This isn’t one of the Solti conducting competitions but a fellowship. Here’s some information on what is required to receive the grant and what criteria is used to assess applicants:

    • norman lebrecht says:

      This is not a competition. And you are not a real person.

      • Anon says:

        My mistake and my apologies. I misread. Still surprised, though. If this was about pianists or violinists the claws would be out.

        I’m not a real person? Really? That comment comes dangerously close to you contravening your own commenting policy for abuse.[redacted: abuse]

  • Bennis says:

    There are many renowned male conductors who are over-weight and badly out-of-shape. All recognized female conductors are slender and good-looking enough to be cosmetics spokesperson. Is that just a coincidence?


    • Petros Linardos says:

      No, I can think of more than one female conductor with an international career who do not look beautiful.

    • Bruce says:

      It would be interesting to see what women would look like if it were culturally OK for us to see what they really look like, i.e. if they didn’t need to be thin & “beautiful” with perfect skin and carefully styled hair, etc etc etc, in order to have a shot at a career — knowing that any progress they make will be discounted because of their looks.

  • Andrey says:

    Should this blog be renamed “Women Conductors’ news”?