Karen Kamensek’s remarkable versatility and expansive artistry, coupled with her deep commitment to 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 her long-awaited Metropolitan Opera debut with the Olivier award-winning Phelim McDermott production of Glass’ Akhnaten, as well as debuts with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra conducting works by Camille Pépin and Tōru Takemitsu, respectively.
2021/22 marks an exciting return to the stage for the arts and Ms. Kamensek after the on-going pandemic forced the cancellation or postponement of numerous performances across the globe. Ms. Kamensek begins her season with a long-awaited conducting debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago with a new-to-Chicago production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and brings 21/22 to a close with a welcome return to the Metropolitan Opera for a revival of Glass’ Akhnaten, the critically-acclaimed and sold-out production in which she made her house debut there in 2019 that was just awarded a Grammy in the category of "Best Opera Recording". In February she leads the orchestra of the Opéra National du Rhin in the world premiere of Glass’ ballet Alice choreographed by Amir Hosseinpour and Jonathan Lunn, and in April she makes her debut with the Arizona Opera in a new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Her orchestral conducting performances for the season include a Mostly-Bernstein program with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and a debut with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in a program featuring Borisova-Ollas, Shostakovich, and Sibelius.
Ms. Kamensek served as the Music Director of the Staatsoper Hannover from 2011-2016. She has also served as the 1st Kapellmeister at the Volksoper Wien (2000-2002), Music Director of the Theater Freiburg (2003-2006), Interim Music Director at the Slovenian National Theatre in Maribor (2007-2008), and Associate Music Director at the Staatsoper Hamburg (2008-2011).
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 with the San Francisco Opera conducting a new production of Floyd’s Susannah; and the Royal Swedish Opera’s production of Victoria Borisova-Ollas’ Dracula.
Recent orchestral highlights include a focus on living-composer Thea Musgrave for Ms. Kamensek’s debut with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic as part of their highly-lauded Composer Festival; a live-to-film performance of Miloš Forman's iconic Oscar-winning film, Amadeus, marked her debut with the Oslo Philharmonic; and performances of Philip Glass’/Ravi Shankar’s collaboration “Passages” with master sitar player, Anoushka Shankar, outlined her first performances leading the Britten Symphonia in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms, as well as with the Orchestre Chambre de Paris in the Paris Philharmonie.
Ms. Kamensek regularly collaborates with singers, directors, and instrumentalists from across the globe. She has worked with many renowned singers, including Joseph Calleja, J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Andrzej Dobber, Elza van den Heever, Brandon Jovanovich, Thomas Johannes Mayer, Patricia Racette, Stuart Skelton and Klaus Florian Vogt. She has partnered with such groundbreaking directors as Guy Joosten, Harry Kupfer, Uwe Eric Laufenberg, Phelim McDermott, and Olivier Tambosi. She has led performances featuring critically-acclaimed instrumentalists such as Michael Barenboim, Gautier Capuçon, Renaud Capuçon, David Aaron Carpenter, Lynn Harrell, Louis Lortie, Olli Mustonen, Benjamin Schmid, and the “Jimi Hendrix of the bagpipes”, Carlos Nuñez.
**Karen Kamensek’s bio for the 2021/22 season must be used in its entirety unless granted permission by the artist to do otherwise.**