London orchestra names woman conductor

London orchestra names woman conductor


norman lebrecht

April 06, 2020

The London Philharmonic has picked the American Karina Canellakis as principal guest conductor.

Canellakis, 38, is principal conductor of the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and principal guest of Berlin’s radio orchestra.

She will start in September at the LPO alongside the incoming music director Edward Gardiner.


  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    It is interesting all these announcements are made at this gloomy time. In Australia, which is the best place to be at this time as far as infection trends go, the Prime Minister suggests the current restrictions will last at least six months ( and he comes from the conservative Liberal party). The experts say this virus will stay with us in some form or another in the next two years and the vaccines are 18 months away. There is too much optimism in the face of dire data. We have to rebuild our cultural life along with everything else. Not every ensemble will survive I am afraid, the same applies to airlines. This crisis have made people like Trump redundant as we are about to enter a socialist future.

    • C Porumbescu says:

      Errr…yeah. Sure. Whatever.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      Mustafa, 18 months is an optimistic prediction based every step along the way, going smoothly. In short, it could be longer.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Given that no vaccine currently exists for the common cold (attempts have been made), it is possible that no vaccine will be found for COVID-19 either. We are going to have to get used to having this virus around.

  • There’are also some rumors about her to be the next musical director of Orchestre de Paris after Harding. It’s the same thing for Roth.

  • yujafan says:

    Good for Karina and the LPO ! Her career is in the ascendancy for sure! An interesting counterpoint to the also very interesting Ed Gardner – LPO follows the Jurowski years in style.

  • fflambeau says:

    A smart pick. She is very talented. Her “Rite of Spring” was a knockout.

    • Brian says:

      Interesting to see so many “down votes” on comments. It suggests she’s made a few enemies (or maybe just one) while climbing the ladder. Not unusual for any conductor, of course. I agree with you – her performances of early 20th century music are excellent.

  • fflambeau says:

    She’s really good. She deserves a full-time leadership position with a good orchestra.

  • fflambeau says:

    I have always thought she would make a fine replacement as Music Director for the very popular Osmo Vänskä at the Minnesota Orchestra (departing soon). They are creative and innovative and have lots of money too.

  • Enrique da Costa says:

    Dear Norman, it surprises me that this time (unlike in similar situations with male conductors) you didn’t comment on her taking too many jobs. Just my perception…

    • MacroV says:

      A principal guest conductor job is generally only a couple weeks a year, and they’re all within reasonable proximity, so this is probably manageable.

  • RW2013 says:

    Another one who lives under the impression that musicians actually look at her while she is beating time.

    • Muman says:

      Conductors worthy of their name do not beat time, professional musicians can take care of that. Conductors ‘beat’ emotions through their body language. I think your comment has a dose of implied sexism.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Not entirely true. The conductor “beating time” becomes more important for pieces through the 19th century and into the 20 century. And even in Beethoven or Mendelssohn, although the orchestra mostly doesn’t need the conductor to beat time throughout the piece, the conductor will sometimes have to step in to keep the orchestra together (and to make the piece more interesting).

    • Bill says:

      I’d be willing to count AND look at her, even if it should prove to be musically unnecessary to do so. I’ve certainly played for my share of unattractive people who left much to be desired as conductors.

  • Tim says:

    Would you have referred to gender if a man had been appointed?

  • Petros Linardos says:

    LPO appoints rising US conductor is a more appropriate headline.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    Never heard her conduct so am intrigued by the overwhelming negativity

  • I recall being in the audience at her first public triumph, when she stepped in at the last hour to replace Jaap van Zweden at the Dallas Symphony. I was disappointed that got no coverage here.

    Female conductors of top-tier orchestras are rare in the US. Does anyone know, are they less or more rare in Europe?

  • Gustavo says:

    “Conducting is like driving a car – the LPO is like a Ferrari”

    Aren’t these outdated metaphors and symbols of status?

    The car industry should be building respirators to save the world!

    • MezzoLover says:

      “If they were to be a car, they are Ferrari.”

      Please do not mis-quote her. Her comments about the LPO are both appropriate and accurate.

  • Chris says:

    Karina is an extremely talented musician and I have thoroughly enjoyed the couple of weeks that she has conducted in St Louis. In addition to already having excellent conducting skills she has great people skills and at least in America that goes a long way. I think she is very deserving of this post and I expect to see more prestigious appointments in the future.

  • NYMike says:

    Saw her conduct in Paris ’18 and Juilliard ’19. She’s the real deal.

  • Naimi says:

    When will we have the pleasure of seeing a headline on this site: “man gets job”??

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    She’s hot.

    It’s the only reason to look at a conductor.