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Daniela Candillari

Daniela Candillari
principal opera conductor

Conductor Daniela Candillari, praised for her “confidence and apparently inexhaustible verve” (The New York Times), continues to be recognized for her dynamic and compelling performances at opera houses and concert stages throughout North America and Europe. Equally at home leading contemporary and long-beloved repertoire, Candillari “finds equal inspiration in tradition and novelty.” (Opera News) In 2021, Candillari was named Principal Opera Conductor of Music Academy of the West, and in 2022, was appointed Principal Conductor of the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Candillari made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2021-2022 season conducting Aucoin’s Eurydice. She also leads a new production of Jeanine Tesori’s Blue with Michigan Opera Theatre and workshops the composer’s Grounded with Washington National Opera and The Met Opera, conducts Fire Shut Up in My Bones at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Carmen at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and leads Eugene Onegin with Music Academy of the West. A film of Candillari leading the world premiere of Clint Borzoni’s The Copper Queen with Arizona Opera was released in late 2021 and she led a made-for-TV film of Ana Sokolović’s Svadba with Boston Lyric Opera out in January 2022.

Recent highlights include Candillari’s New York Philharmonic debut conducting Thomson’s The Mother of us All at The Metropolitan Museum of Art co-produced by The Juilliard School in early 2020; her 2021 debuts with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Saint Louis Symphony; acclaimed performances of Acquanetta with the PROTOTYPE Festival; her debuts with Los Angeles Opera for Ellen Reid’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, prism, and with Opera Philadelphia in a new production of Rene Orth’s Empty the House; leading Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain at Music Academy of the West; her mainstage debut at Arizona Opera conducting Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers, which she led in previous seasons with both the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Minnesota Opera; and her Asian debut in Hong Kong conducting Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, Angel’s Bone. She appeared in concert with Trinity Wall Street’s NOVUS NY Festival to open their 2018 season in celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s Centennial, and returned to the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2019 for Jack Perla’s An American Dream.

As a composer, Candillari has been commissioned by artists including instrumentalists from the Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh Symphonies, as well as the three resident orchestras of Lincoln Center: the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the New York City Ballet. An avid educator, she spent the summer of 2019 conducting the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain at the Music Academy of the West.

Born in Serbia, Candillari grew up in Serbia and Slovenia. She holds a Doctorate in Musicology from the Universität für Musik in Vienna, a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and a Master of Music and Bachelor in Piano Performance from the Universität für Musik in Graz. She was a Fulbright Scholarship recipient and was subsequently awarded a TED Fellowship. Learn more at

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