Karen Kamensek (born January 2, 1970 in Chicago) is an American orchestral and opera conductor.
Life and career
Kamensek received degrees in orchestral conducting and piano performance from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. Most recently, she was the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Staatsoper Hannover from 2011-2016. She also served as the 1st Kapellmeister of the Volksoper Wien from 2000 to 2002, Music Director of the Theater Freiburg from 2003 to 2006, Interim Music Director at the Slovenian National Theatre in Maribor from 2007 to 2008, and Associate Music Director at Staatsoper Hamburg from 2008 to 2011. In 2011, she was named Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Staatsoper Hannover. It was announced in 2014 that she would give up the post of Music Director after the 2015 season to concentrate on her international commitments while retaining her position as Principal Conductor. Kamensek has also guest conducted for several symphony orchestras and opera companies. These include the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen (Pelléas et Mélisande 2007), San Francisco Opera (Susannah 2014), and the Dortmund Philharmonic (2015).
Kamensek made her English National Opera debut in March 2016 conducting Philip Glass's Akhnaten to much critical acclaim. The production was nominated for, and won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production. She has frequently collaborated with Glass and conducted the recording of the composer's Les Enfants Terribles, which was released on the Orange Mountain Music label in 2005. In 2017 Kamensek gave her debut concert at The Proms in London's Royal Albert Hall conducting the first full live performance of Philip Glass's and Ravi Shankar's Passages. Soloist was Shankar's daughter Anoushka Shankar.
Awards and nominations
Laurence Olivier Awards
- Won: Akhnaten (2017)
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- Brown, Emily Freeman (2015). "Kamensek, Karen". A Dictionary for the Modern Conductor, p. 175. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810884011
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- Arndt, Stefan (19 March 2014). "Kamensek verlässt Hannover". Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved 16 December 2015. (in German)
- Løkkegaard, Anne Marie (13 February 2007). "En kvinde med taktstokken". Berlingske. Retrieved 16 December 2015. (in Danish)
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- Gaß, Julia (13 May 2015). "Spannendes Programm: Karen Kamensek dirigierte Dortmunder Philharmoniker". Ruhr Nachrichten. Retrieved 16 December 2015. (in German)
- English National Opera. Akhnaten. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
- alexandra.coghlan. "Akhnaten, English National Opera | Opera reviews, news & interviews | The Arts Desk". www.theartsdesk.com. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
- "Akhnaten". www.operanews.com. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
- Kisselgoff, Anna (22 November 1996). "A Fusion Inspired by Cocteau". New York Times. Retrieved 12 December 2015.