Joana Carneiro

Principal Conductor, Orquesta Sinfonica Portuguesa

Biography

Acclaimed Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro is Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa at Teatro Sao Carlos in Lisbon, and Artistic Director of the Estágio Gulbenkian para Orquestra, a post she has held since 2013.   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.

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.   Last season she conducted Bernstein’s “It’s a Wonderful Town” with the Royal Danish National Opera and a new production of “Carmen” at the Royal Stockholm Opera. 

She continues to be sought after for contemporary programmes and in recent years she made her debut at the English National Opera conducting the world stage premiere of John Adams’ “The Gospel According to the Other Mary”.   In 2016 she conducted a production of “La Passion de Simone” at the Ojai Festival which was highly acclaimed, and a production of Van der Aa’s “Book of Disquiet” with the London Sinfonietta. Joana also works regularly with singer/song-writer Rufus Wainwright.

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Reviews

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.

Bachtrack

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