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Hart Alumnae: Where Are They Now

Here's where the women of the previous four years of Dallas Opera's Hart Institute for Women Conductors, and what they've done since.

published Friday, November 8, 2019

Photo: Karen Almond/The Dallas Opera
Carolyn Watson performing at the 2017 Hart Institute Showcase



Dallas — As the Dallas Opera's Hart Institute for Women Conductors closes its fifth year and prepares for its showcase concert on Saturday, here's a look back at the women alumnae of the four previous years, with a list of their subsequent appointments and endeavors. They are arranged by year, and then alphabetical order.

For tickets on the Dallas Opera/Hart Institute’s concert, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Winspear Opera House, click here.





Natalie Murray Beale is the Creative Director of Independent Opera at Sadler Wells. In the 2019/2020 season she will debut at Symphony Nova Scotia, Ulster Orchestra, L’orchestre de Chambre de Genève and Ensemble Contrechamps.


Jennifer Condon will debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in fall 2019 as assistant conductor for Sir Andrew Davis. She will also conduct a new production of The Flying Dutchman at the Royal Opera House, Malmo, Sweden.


Jessica Gethin will lead an Asia/Africa tour in the 2019/2020 Season with the Munich Festival Orchestra. She is also Ambassador and faculty member for the 2019 Women on the Podium Conducting Workshops and a 2019 Online Orchestra Ambassador for AMEB Australia.


Stephanie Rhodes Russell was named associate conductor of the Grand Teton Music Festival May 2019. She is also a conducting fellow at the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the founder and board chair of the Women’s Artistic Leadership Initiative. This year she received a 2019 Solti Foundation Young Conductors Career Assistance Award.


Anna Skryleva became the first female chief conductor of the Klassik Philharmonie Hamburg, Germany. This year she was recently named music director of the Magdeburg Opera. She also ranked #13 on Norman Lebrecht’s list of the Top 20 Women Conductors in the World in 2019.


Lidiya Yankovskaya is the music director of the Chicago Opera Theater, which makes her the only woman serving as music director of a multimillion-dollar opera company in the United States. She recently conducted the world premiere of Taking Up Serpents at the Washington National Opera, Iolanta and Moby-Dick at Chicago Opera Theater, and the American premiere of Donizetti's Pia de' Tolomei at Spoleto Festival USA, among other engagements.


Photo: Courtesy
Tianyi Lu



Elizabeth Askren is the founder and director of the Transylvania Opera Academy. In the 2019/2020 season she is an associated conductor at the Gheorghe Dima National Academy of Music in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. This year she is the faculty ambassador for the Dallas Opera Hart Institute.


Mihaela Cesa Goje is a tenured professor of conducting at the Gheorghe Dima National Music Academy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She also founded Gheorghe Dima International Music Competition, a conducting competition, of which she is the manager.


Alexandra Cravero is artistic director of Les Nuits Musicales de Bazoches festival. She recently debuted with Canadian Opera Company of Toronto, Neue Philharmonie Westfalen, and elsewhere.


Tianyi Lu was named the inaugural “Female Conductor in Residence” for Welsh National Opera in August 2019. This season she will debut at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Singapore Symphony as well the Dunedin and Christchurch Symphony Orchestras.


Chaowen Ting is the music director of NANOWorks Opera in Atlanta and principal guest conductor of ensemble vim. Ting is also a four-time performance grant recipient from the Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy for her commitment to promoting women composers.


Zoe Zeniodi conducted the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra during the IV International Classical Music Festival of Bogotá in April 2019. She was named artistic director of the Thessaloniki Concert Hall in Thessaloniki, Greece.




Alba Bomfim is conducting Professor at Universidade Federal do Piauí, Brasil, and in orchestral conducting PhD conclusion phase at Universidade of Aveiro, Portugal.


Mélisse Brunet is the interim music director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic. She is also one of the twelve conductors selected from 220 applicants and 51 countries for the first International Conducting Competition La Maestra that will be held in Paris in March 2020.


Lina Gonzalez-Granados was appointed conducting fellow by the Seattle Symphony for their 2019-2020 Season. She was also named the 2019-2020 Conducting Fellow for the Philadelphia Orchestra.


Karin Hendrickson is assistant conductor for the Royal Northern Sinfonia For 2019, and she will lead the Orchestre national d’Ile de France in a December 2020 regional tour. Karin is also one of three conductors invited as the Atelier des Créatrices d’Opéra Conductor Participant at the Festival Aix-en-Provence, France, as well as the ENOA Young Conductor Residency with the Gulbenkian Orchestra.


Carolyn Watson will debut with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra and the Kansas City Ballet this season. She is the Director of Orchestral Activities at the Kansas University School of Music.


Monika Wolinska received a special award in 2018 for lifetime artistic work for achievements in the field of artistic creation and dissemination and protection of cultural heritage from the President of the City of Chelm.


Photo: Karen Almond/The Dallas Opera
Alba Bomfim (Brazil)



Sonia Ben-Santamaria recently became the assistant associate conductor at Opera North in Leeds, UK. This past summer she made her UK debut at Opera Holland Park.


Priscila Bomfim is the assistant conductor and pianist at the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro.


Sarah Penicka-Smith is artistic director and principal conductor at River City Voices in Sydney, Australia, the principal conductor at Macquarie Singers, and conductor at Macquarie Chamber Orchestra.


Audrey Saint-Gil joined the Opus 3 Artists Roster in January 2019 and made her Austrian debut conducting a new production of Aida. She was commissioned to compose a film score for a new documentary about novelist James Salter, and she ranked #9 on Norman Lebrecht’s 2019 list of Top 20 Women Conductors.


Maria Sensi Sellner is the artistic and general director of Resonance Works. She also regularly conducts the Resonance Chamber Orchestra.


Emily Senturia will conducts at the Hawaii Opera Theatre, at Wolf Trap Opera, and at Boston Lyric Opera. She is also music director for Denis & Katya, a world premiere at Opera Philadelphia's O19 Festival. Thanks For Reading

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Hart Alumnae: Where Are They Now
Here's where the women of the previous four years of Dallas Opera's Hart Institute for Women Conductors, and what they've done since.
by Lindsay Alissa King

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