Recognized as a conductor of extraordinary versatility, Carolyn Kuan has enjoyed successful associations with top tier orchestras, opera companies, ballet companies, and festivals worldwide. Her commitment to contemporary music has defined her approach to programming and established her as an international resource for new music and world premieres. Appointed Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in 2011, she signed a six-year contract extending their creative collaboration through May 2022.
Highlights of Ms. Kuan’s 2018/2019 season included debuts with the Singapore Symphony; Santa Barbara Symphony, featuring John Corigliano’s Red Violin; and the Portland Opera, conducting a production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola; as well as engagements with two of the top conservatory orchestras in the U.S., the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, and Yale Philharmonia. She ended season with a world premiere of Iain Bell’s Stonewall with the New York City Opera at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater. Upcoming engagements in her 2019/2020 season include the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun with the Santa Fe Opera; her debut with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra; and a return engagement with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Kuan’s North American engagements have included performances with the symphonies of Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, Omaha, San Francisco, Seattle, and Toronto; the Florida and Louisville orchestras; the New York City Ballet; the Colorado Music Festival and Glimmerglass Festival; the New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Washington National Opera. Recent international engagements have included concerts with the Bournemouth Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, National Symphony of Taiwan, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Residentie Orkest, Orquesta Sinfonica de Yucatan, Royal Danish Ballet, and the West Australian Symphony.
Recipient of numerous awards, Ms. Kuan holds the distinction of being the first woman to be awarded the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship by the Herbert von Karajan Centrum and American Austrian Foundation in 2003, resulting in her residency at the 2004 Salzburg Festival. Winner of the first Taki Concordia Fellowship, she has received additional awards from the Women’s Philharmonic, Conductors Guild, and Susan W. Rose Fund for Music. Ms. Kuan graduated cum laude from Smith College, received a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois, and a Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory.
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