Karina Canellakis named Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

Karina Canellakis
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

The 36-year-old American conductor Karina Canellakis has been appointed the new Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, beginning in the 2019-20 season. She succeeds Markus Stenz.

Eight weeks ago Karina Canellakis made a stunning debut with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in a program of Britten, Shostakovich and Beethoven. Following these performances, the orchestra expressed overwhelming enthusiasm, and invited her to become their new Chief Conductor before the week was over.

Born in New York City into a musical family, Karina Canellakis studied violin at the Curtis Institute of Music. After graduating, she spent several seasons as a recital and concerto soloist, chamber musician, and gained orchestral experience as a substitute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic. As a member of the Karajan Akademie of the Berlin Philharmonic, she came to the attention of Sir Simon Rattle, her first mentor who encouraged her to pursue conducting. Canellakis later entered the Juilliard School to study conducting with Alan Gilbert, and during her time in New York was also mentored by Fabio Luisi. After Juilliard she joined the Dallas Symphony for two years as assistant conductor to music director Jaap van Zweden, himself a former Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic (2006-2012).  

Karina Canellakis’ initial appointment is for four seasons. She will work alongside permanent guest conductor James Gaffigan. Markus Stenz will regularly return to the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and the orchestra will continue to welcome back their former Chief Conductors Bernard Haitink, Edo de Waart and Jaap van Zweden.