Karen Kamensek (born January 2, 1970 in Chicago) is an American orchestral and opera conductor.
Kamensek has served as the 1st Kapellmeister of the Volksoper Wien from 2000 to 2002. She was Generalmusikdirektorin (General Music Director) of the Theater Freiburg from 2003 to 2006, the first female conductor in the Freiburg past. She has served as Interim Music Director at the Slovenian National Theatre in Maribor from 2007 to 2008, and Associate Music Director at the Staatsoper Hamburg from 2008 to 2011. In 2011, she was named Generalmusikdirektorin and principal conductor of the Staatsoper Hannover, the first female conductor to hold the Hannover posts. She relinquished the GMD title in 2015 and remained as principal conductor through 2016.
Kamensek made her English National Opera (ENO) conducting debut in March 2016 with Philip Glass's Akhnaten. Kamensek has frequently collaborated with Glass and conducted the 2005 Orange Mountain Music recording of the composer's Les Enfants Terribles. In 2017, Kamensek gave her debut concert at The Proms, with Britten Sinfonia, conducting the first full live performance of Philip Glass's and Ravi Shankar's Passages, with Shankar's daughter Anoushka Shankar as soloist. She returned to ENO for their 2018 revival of Glass' Satyagraha.
In November 2019, Kamensek made her Metropolitan Opera conducting debut with Akhnaten. On 23 November 2019, Kamensek conducted the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD performance and cinema transmission of Akhnaten, the second female conductor ever to be featured in the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series.
- Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development (2020-03-25). "Karen Kamensek: March Entrepreneur of the Month". Indiana University Bloomington, JSoM: Entrepreneurship & Career Development - Resources to Take Charge of Your Future. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
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- Brown, Emily Freeman (2015). "Kamensek, Karen". A Dictionary for the Modern Conductor, p. 175. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810884011
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- Erica Jeal (2018-02-07). "Satyagraha review – a masterclass in suggestion and imagination". The Guardian. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
- Anthony Tommasini (2019-11-10). "Review: 'Akhnaten' Puts You on Philip Glass Time". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-07-07.