Joana Carneiro

Principal Conductor, Orquesta Sinfonica Portuguesa


Acclaimed Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro is Principal Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica Portuguesa and Teatro Sao Carlos in Lisbon.  From 2009 to 2018 she was Music Director of Berkeley Symphony, succeeding Kent Nagano as only the third music director in the 40-year history of the orchestra.  She also currently serves as official guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra.

Recent and future guest conducting highlights including engagements with the BBC Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic (whom she conducted at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in December 2017), Swedish Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and the BBC Philharmonic. In Autumn 2018 she conducted Bernstein’s “It’s a Wonderful Town” with the Royal Danish National Opera and earlier this year she conducted a new production of “Carmen” at the Royal Stockholm Opera. 

Read more


Joana Carneiro led the Royal Swedish Orchestra in an energetic, no-nonsense reading of the score…the result was exciting: Carneiro drove the action forward with great intensity. The Royal Swedish Chorus, helped by the lack of movement on stage, was precise and enjoyable in the many complex interventions that this opera requires.


The chorus and orchestra were excellent as usual and Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro had a firm grip of the proceedings. A knockout start rendered a round of applause halfway through the overture and rhythmic precision and brisk tempo characterized the whole performance.

Seen and Heard

More Reviews

“Carneiro and the orchestra dug into the music with zest, evoking rugged, earthy life and passion, calm respite and mystical ceremony”

Los Angeles Times

“It helps that the ENO performance is so impressive. It’s superbly conducted by Joana Carneiro, who gets fabulously intense, committed playing and singing from the ENO orchestra and chorus, while the three principal soloists are all, in their different ways, remarkable.”

The Guardian 

“First performed in concert two years ago, The Gospel According to the Other Mary receives its first theatrical production here. English National Opera has engaged an almost entirely American cast and creative team, using only the home choral and orchestral forces, conducted forcefully by the Portuguese Joana Carniero.”

The Telegraph 

“The Other Mary is ultimately a choral piece more than an opera, and the ENO chorus and orchestra carry the bulk of it, their vastly demanding parts shouldered with huge aplomb. The Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro is at the helm of the entire tour de force, pulling together this magnificent and suitably impassioned creation.”

The Independent 

“Carneiro led the orchestra in a suave, rhythmically assured performance that brought out the music’s winsome charm…”

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle 

“… the 36-year-old Portuguese conductor is charismatic, a dynamic figure on the podium… Carneiro drew a transparent performance from the small orchestra for which the piece is scored…”

Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News 

“Joana Carneiro began her second season… leading the orchestra in vibrant and sonically powerful accounts of music… There was plenty to admire in the evening, but what seemed most striking were the strength and depth of the strings, the clarity and precision of the woodwinds and brass, and the almost effortless ease with which everything fit together.”

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle 

“The young Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro, is energised, clear, balanced and, above all, striking. “

Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald