Q&A: Karina Canellakis on her BBC Proms debut

On Tuesday 5 September 2017, Karina Canellakis will make both her BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Proms debuts, conducting the European premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) for orchestra, Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (with soloist Jeremy Denk) and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G major at the Royal Albert Hall. We caught up with her to find out more about how she was feeling, the repertoire and what she thinks makes the Proms so special.

How are you feeling about making your BBC Proms debut?

What a thrill it will be to feel the energy of that overwhelmingly wonderful audience! I am also very excited to work with the incredible BBC Symphony Orchestra for the first time.

Can you tell us a bit about the repertoire you’re performing,and who you’re performing with?

I have a long relationship with Dvorak’s 8th Symphony, and so it is special to be performing it at the Proms. It is scintillating with life-affirming joy and folkloric elements that cut straight to your heart. Speaking of folkloric, I also feel a particular closeness to the music of Bela Bartok, and it will be thrilling to launch into his challenging, intense, and innovative second piano concerto with Jeremy Denk and the BBC Symphony musicians. I am also looking forward to performing Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (Orbiting Spheres), as it will be a first time collaboration between us! I’m thankful to have the opportunity to work with a living composer and get to know her score and compositional language.

What is it about the Proms that makes it special?

Over the years, I have watched countless videos from TV broadcasts from the Proms, and was always struck by the warmth and devotion of the audience, as well as the sheer size and scope of Royal Albert Hall. I cannot wait to be a part of such a renowned and respected festival and to meet this amazing audience!!!

We wish Karina a fantastic debut on 5 September! More information can be found here. The performance will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and on BBC FOUR TV on 8 September. 

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