Joana Carneiro

Principal Guest Conductor – La Real Filharmonía de Galicia


​Acclaimed Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro is Principal Guest Conductor of the Real Filharmonia de Galicia and Artistic Director of the Gulbenkian Youth Orchestra, a post she has held since 2013. 

Joana Carneiro was Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa at Teatro Sao Carlos in Lisbon from 2014 until January 2022.  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 was also official guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra from 2006 to 2018.

Joana is in high demand across the globe, particularly for her focus on contemporary music both in the concert hall and on the opera stage. In 2022 at English National Opera she conducted The Handmaid’s Tale after a highly acclaimed debut in London conducting the world stage premiere of John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, directed by Peter Sellars.  With Scottish Opera she conducted Nixon in China and in Lisbon, Rake´s Progress.  Other recent opera performances include A Wonderful Town (Royal Danish Opera), Simone’s La Passion (Ojai Festival), Oedipus Rex (Sydney, Helpmann Award for Best Concert by the Symphony Orchestra) and A Flowering Tree (Vienna, Paris, Chicago, Cincinnati, Gothenburg, Lisbon). In 2023 Joana conducted the premiere of the ballet production Pit by Bobbi Jene Smith at the Opera Garnier.

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“Conductor Joana Carneiro holds everything together magnificently, with the ENO Chorus and Orchestra on excellent form.”

Matthew Rye


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.

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“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 

“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