Carolyn Watson is originally from Sydney and has lived in the USA since 2013. She is currently appointed as Director of Orchestral Studies at THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS whilst also pursuing an active freelance conducting career throughout the US, Europe and Australia.
A major prizewinner at the 2012 EMMERICH KÁLMÁN INTERNATIONAL OPERETTA CONDUCTING COMPETITION in Budapest, she has been also a Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the ASPEN MUSIC FESTIVAL where she studied with David Zinman.
She is the recipient of a number of prestigious national and international awards for young conductors including the SIR CHARLES MACKERRAS CONDUCTING PRIZE awarded via the AUSTRALIAN MUSIC FOUNDATION in London, OPERA FOUNDATION AUSTRALIA’s BAYREUTH OPERA AWARD, the BERLIN NEW MUSIC OPERA AWARD and the NELLY APT CONDUCTING SCHOLARSHIP. A Churchill Fellow, she has been the beneficiary of support from the AMERICAN AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATION’S DAME JOAN SUTHERLAND FUND and a SHEILA PRYOR STUDY GRANT from the AUSTRALIAN OPERA AUDITIONS COMMITTEE.
In 2017 she was one of six conductors selected for the elite DALLAS OPERA INSTITUTE FOR WOMEN CONDUCTORS and has participated in master classes with Marin Alsop, Peter Eötvös, Yoel Levi, Martyn Brabbins and Alex Polishchuk. Carolyn conducted musicians of the BERLIN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA in its INTERAKTION program and was Musical Assistant at the STAATSOPER BERLIN for its INFEKTION! festival celebrating the works of John Cage. She was resident at the ISRAELI NATIONAL OPERA and assisted Sir Charles Mackerras on his final two productions, THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN at THE ROYAL OPERA COVENT GARDEN and COSI FAN TUTTE at GLYNDEBOURNE FESTIVAL OPERA.
She has conducted orchestras throughout Europe including the BRANDENBURG SYMPHONY in Germany, the BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA, NORTH CZECH PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, the KODÁLY PHILHARMONIC, SAVARIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, the BUDAPEST OPERETTA THEATRE ORCHESTRA, and BULGARIAN STATE OPERA BOURGAS and in Russia, the ST. PETERSBURG CHAMBER PHILHARMONIC.
Carolyn Watson’s conducting engagements in the USA have included performances with the AUSTIN SYMPHONY, DETROIT SYMPHONY CIVIC ORCHESTRA and the WORLD YOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. From 2013-15 she held the prestigious position of Music Director of the INTERLOCHEN ARTS ACADEMY ORCHESTRA, her work with the orchestra being awarded the 2015 AMERICAN PRIZE FOR ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE.
Her opera conducting has included conduct the world premiere production of Sarah Kirkland Snider’s opera, PENELOPE during 2019 and Menotti’s THE OLD MAID & THE THIEF and Barber’s A HAND OF BRIDGE all for LYRIC OPERA OF KANSAS CITY.
Other engagements during 2019 included being cover conductor for Michael Stern’s performances of the Rachmaninov PIANO CONCERTO NO.1 and Stravinsky’s FIREBIRD SUITE with the KANSAS CITY SYMPHONY. She also made a return to the AUSTIN SYMPHONY, gave performances with the CATSKILL SYMPHONY and the LA PORTE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and in the program of the WUNSCH NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL in Kansas City, conducted Britten’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM for the UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS and Stravinksky’s PETRUSHKA with the INTERLOCHEN PHILHARMONIC.
Also during 2019 she conducted performances of THE NUTCRACKER for the KANSAS CITY BALLET.
Her engagements, during 2020, will see her conduct OUTERLANDS PRODUCTIONS‘ world premiere season of Gordon Getty’s opera GOODBYE MR. CHIPS at FESTIVAL NAPA VALLEY and LYRIC OPERA OF KANSAS CITY‘s OPERA AMERICA 50TH ANNIVERSARY events and gives her debut with the KANSAS CITY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA. She returns to the AUSTIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA for a series of guest conducting appearances in 2020 and 2021.
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