Carolyn Kuan is increasingly recognized as one of the most exciting, innovative and outstanding conductors of her generation. Appointed as the Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra from the 2011/12 season, her recent guest conductor performances which demonstrate her explosive passion, impeccable technique and profound musical depth, have included concerts with the Baltimore Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Festival del Sole, Florida Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, New York City Ballet, North Carolina Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Louisville Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Yucatán, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Symphony, Toledo Symphony and San Francisco Symphony, to which she has returned annually since 2007.
A keen advocate of contemporary music, Carolyn Kuan has worked closely with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and Music Director Marin Alsop since 2003. In this same vein she has conducted world premiers in Merkin Hall New York City for Music from Japan and has served as a producer for multiple recordings of new orchestral compositions. Combining her love for opera and new music, Carolyn Kuan conducted Inventory (Brian Current) and Dog Days (David Little) at New York City Opera’s 2010 VOX Contemporary American Opera Lab.
Carolyn Kuan has helped raised awareness of conservation and the environment through the multimedia production Life: A Journey Through Time. The project, developed by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, features music by Philip Glass and images by famed photographer Frans Lanting. Notable performances have included a presentation at the 9th World Wilderness Congress with Orquesta Sinfonica de Yucatan, 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.
Past associations have seen Carolyn Kuan as 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. She graduated cum laude from Smith College, received a Master of Music from the University of Illinois and a Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory.
Remaining 2010-11 season highlights include debuts with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Symphony Silicon Valley, and Tacoma Opera; and her return to the Baltimore Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and two recording projects for Naxos Records.