London orchestra names woman conductor

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.

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  • 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.

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

      • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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).

    • 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.

  • 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?

  • “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!

  • 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.

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