Classical music: Canellakis triumphs again as last-minute Dallas Symphony sub

Karina Canellakis
Dallas Morning News

Not until 20 minutes before Thursday night's Dallas Symphony Orchestra concert did Karina Canellakis learn that she'd be conducting it. Alerted to a family emergency back in Amsterdam, music director Jaap van Zweden had just managed to book a flight back home. Having sat in on rehearsals for the concert, the DSO's assistant conductor took over on opening night.

It was Canellakis' second late substitution for van Zweden in a Mozart-and-Shostakovich program. The last time, in October 2014, she took over halfway through a four-performance run including the formidable Shostakovich Eighth Symphony. This time she's conducting all four performances of a program including the Shostakovich Leningrad Symphony and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor (K. 491).

Those of us who witnessed one of those 2014 performances, and some subsequent ones in the DSO's ReMix series, weren't surprised at the results this time at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Once again, in a fiercely challenging program, admittedly benefitting from van Zweden's rehearsals, Canellakis took over with absolute authority.

With gestures clear yet expressive, Canellakis realized every emotional import, managing every transition with assurance, building climaxes with inevitability. She knew what the music was about, where it was going and why.

With appropriately reduced string sections, Canellakis got stylish, buoyant playing from the orchestra. Again, in a piece giving them particular prominence, the winds played with particular eloquence.

Read the rest of the review here