Daniela Candillari, conductor

Daniela Candillari

A native of Slovenia, Daniela Candillari is rising to prominence as a conductor, composer, and pianist collaborating with preeminent artists around the world. A TED Fellow and Fulbright Scholar, her music has been described as “invigorating, revitalizing, and refreshing”. Ms. Candillari has conducted and collaborated in a wide range of disciplines with a strong focus on contemporary music. Engagements this season include her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut conducting Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers, as well as the world premiere of Michael Gordon’s chamber opera Acquanetta at the 2018 PROTOTYPE Festival featuring the Bang on a Can All-Stars.

In 2015, she conducted the world premiere of Stefania de Kenessey’s opera Bonfire of the Vanities at Museo del Barrio in New York City and previously, she conducted workshops of Rachel Peters’ and Royce Vavrek’s opera Wild Beast of the Bungalow (Center for Contemporary Opera), Joshua Groffman’s opera Unfinished (Vital Opera), and selections from Hannah Lash’s opera Beowulf (OPERA America New Opera Showcase).

As an Assistant Conductor, Ms. Candillari has worked with noteworthy organizations such as OPERA America, Sarasota Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company, PROTOTYPE Festival, Trinity Wall Street, Manhattan School of Music Opera Department, Brevard Music Center and the Slovenian National Opera where she also served as Chorus Master and Principal Coach. She has worked with world-renowned conductors including George Manahan, Marko Letonja, Julian Wachner, and Steven Osgood. She works regularly with the European Opera Centre in collaboration with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and will re-join them this season as Chief Repetiteur for Verdi’s Falstaff, starring Sir Bryn Terfel.


Equally at home with symphonic repertoire, Ms. Candillari is the founder and Artistic Director of Gravity Shift, a New York based chamber orchestra. Reecently, she conducted the inaugural concerts for New York’s Millennium Chamber Orchestra at Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium, and this season, she will lead the Manhattan School of Music Philharmonia in a concert including Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3.

As a composer, Ms. Candillari has a deep love of storytelling through music and many of her compositions have been inspired by literature, including her most recent piece for solo piano, entitled Through the Looking-Glass, which she performed a selection from at the 2016 TED Summit in Banff, Canada. Her 2016 composition Extremely Close for bass trombone and piano, inspired by Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, has been performed around the globe. Last season, Ms. Candillari was commissioned by bass trombonist Denson Paul Pollard (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) to write a work for the inaugural concert of the Lincoln Center Trombone Ensemble and by the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford to write a song on the theme of spiritual ecology with poet Tanya Holtland, which will be premiered this November by mezzo-soprano Lucy Dhegrae.

Ms. Candillari finds inspiration from collaborations with artists whose work spans many artistic disciplines. In 2016, Ms. Candillari served as Music Director for Eve Ensler’s moving one-man play Extraordinary Measures at the Garrison Institute as part of the third Buddhist Contemplative Care Symposium. Currently, she is developing projects with the organization Fine Acts, French-Tunisian Street Artist eL Seed, and visual artist Joey Foster Ellis. In addition, she has been working with acclaimed jazz singer Alma Mićić on an album of newly arranged Serbian Folk Songs. Ms. Candillari and actress Kelli Ruttle produced a podcast called Music for the Prose, featuring original scores improvised to recitations of famous texts. Ms. Candillari’s compositions have been performed by musicians of Boston Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Cleveland Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and New York City Ballet.

As a collaborative pianist, Ms. Candillari has worked with world-class artists, including Sir Bryn Terfel, Dame Felicity Lott, Håkan Hagegård, Carol Vaness, Martina Arroyo, and Roger Vignoles. Ms. Candillari has recorded for NPR, Austrian Radio Broadcast Television, Slovenian National Radio and TV, and Serbian National TV.

Ms. Candillari 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, where she also served two years as a faculty vocal coach, and a Master of Music and Bachelor in Piano Performance from Universität für Musik in Graz.

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