Grammy Award-winning conductor Karen Kamensek’s expansive artistry coupled with her deep commitment for championing composers of the 20th and 21st century is reflected in her work in both the opera house and on the concert stage. Recently she made a triumphant return to the Metropolitan Opera to lead the Olivier Award-winning production of Glass’ Akhnaten—for which she won a 2022 Grammy—and was asked to step in at the last minute to conduct the company’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto to much critical acclaim. Her ability to adroitly and simultaneously straddle this diverse repertoire is a testament to her remarkable versatility as a musician.
Ms. Kamensek’s 2022/23 season is one of no less than 10 debuts and several high-profile and welcome returns with a wide range of repertoire, including numerous world premieres by some of today’s leading musical voices. In August she makes her debut with the Norwegian Opera and Ballet leading Bernstein’s Wonderful Town. In September she returns to the BBC Proms, this time with the English National Opera Orchestra, for a unique project that combines music, dance, theatre, video, audio soundscapes and haute couture at Printworks London. Works by Handel and Philip Glass collide in a spectacle conceived by counter-tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, which includes a world premiere by Philip Glass. Also in September, Karen makes her debut with the Calgary Philharmonic conducting a program that includes works by Debussy, Moussa, and Scriabin. The world premiere of Geoffrey Gordon’s Eolian, A Concerto for Harp and Orchestra with harpist Eline Groslot is on tap for her debut with the Brussels in November. The program also includes works by Pépin, Glass and Debussy. Her debut with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in November will be punctuated by the world premiere of a Flute Concerto by Vivian Fung. Anna Clyne’s PIVOT and Holst’s The Planets bookend a program for her debut with the Pacific Symphony in November. She will lead Orchestre national d’Île-de-France for the first time in December in a program that includes arias and duets from Offenbach’s La Périchole, La Grande-Duchesse De Gérolstein, and La Vie Parisienne with soprano Anaïk Morel and tenor Loïc Félix. She begins 2023 with her first appearance with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall in London in January with an eclectic program that includes the world premiere of The Peacock Pavane by David Bruce. She brings January to a close with her debut with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin at the Ultraschall Festival, for a program featuring York Höller’s Concerto for Cello, Piano and Orchestra with cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker and pianist Martin Helmchen. Her final debut of the season is with the Minnesota Opera in May when she leads the company in a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, in collaboration with stage director Keturah Stickann.
Return appearances for 2022/23 include the Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck in January, as well the English National Opera for a revival of Glass’ Akhnaten –the 2017 Olivier Award-winning production she first conducted with that company in 2016 – in March.
Frequently in demand as a guest conductor with many of today’s most prominent opera companies and orchestras, Ms. Kamensek’s recent opera highlights include her debut and return performances with the English National Opera in Glass’ Akhnaten and Satyagraha; her debut and return performances at the Metropolitan Opera of Glass’ Akhnaten and Verdi’s Rigoletto; her debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte; her debut with the San Francisco Opera conducting a new production of Floyd’s Susannah; and her debut with the Royal Swedish Opera leading Victoria Borisova-Ollas’ Dracula. Additionally, she made her debut with the Opéra National du Rhin in the world premiere of Glass ballet Alice choreographed by Amir Hosseinpour and Johnathan Lunn.