Carolyn Kuan is increasingly recognized as one of the most exciting, innovative and outstanding conductors of her generation. Newly appointed the 10th Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Kuan’s recent North America engagements have included concerts with the Baltimore, San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, North Carolina, and Toledo symphonies; the Florida and Louisville orchestras; the New York City Ballet; and the New York City Opera. Recent international engagements have included concerts with the Bournemouth Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Yucatán. In her debut album to be released in January 2012, Ms. Kuan conducts the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for the Naxos label.
In addition to traditional repertoire, Carolyn Kuan is equally known for her unique expertise in Asian music and contemporary works. She has led world premiers for Music from Japan and has conducted multimedia productions of the Butterfly Lovers Concerto and A Monkey’s Tale as part of Detroit Symphony’s World Music Series. Since 2007, she has directed the annual San Francisco Symphony Chinese New Year Concert. For the Seattle Symphony, Ms. Kuan helped launched the hugely successful Celebrate Asia! program with community leaders representing eight Asian cultures, and led sold out performances for three consecutive years.
Since 2003, Carolyn Kuan has worked closely with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, its Music Director Marin Alsop, and visiting composers including John Adams, Mason Bates, John Corigliano, Michael Daugherty, Jennifer Higdon, and more. Some of Ms. Kuan’s finest successes have bridged the gap between cultural and social issues, as in her work raising awareness of conservation and the environment through her performances around the globe of the multimedia project Life: A Journey Through Time. Developed by Marin Alsop and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the project features music by Philip Glass and images by famed National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting. Ms. Kuan’s notable performances of Life include a presentation at the 9th World Wilderness Congress with Orquesta Sinfonica de Yucatan, at the 8 Days in June CHANGE is POWERFUL festival with the Detroit Symphony, and at CERN’s historical Large Hadron Collider Inauguration, with Orchestre de la Suisse Romande attended by Swiss President Pascal Couchepin, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, more than 20 other European heads of state, and dozens of Nobel laureates.
Carolyn Kuan’s past associations include Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Artist-in-Residence at the New York City Ballet and Assistant Conductor for the Baltimore Opera Company. The recipient of numerous awards, she holds the distinction of being the first female to be awarded the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship by the Herbert von Karajan Centrum and American Austrian Foundation in 2003, which resulted 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. Kuangraduated cum laude from Smith College, received a Master of Music from the University of Illinois and a Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory.
Highlights of Carolyn Kuan’s upcoming performances include her debut season as the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s new Music Director; debut concerts with the Residentie Orkest, Royal Danish Orchestra, Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra; return engagements with the Baltimore Symphony and San Francisco Symphony; and a second recording project for Naxos.