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Joana Carneiro

  • Conductor


Joana Carneiro reviews

By Paul Hertelendy Berkeley, CA – … Was that some elite European orchestra that they substituted surreptitiously for the Berkeley Symphony the other night? … How else to explain the extraordinary transformation in sound and nuance at the Oct. 15 concert? The event was a major revelation. Checking the rows of musicians, I saw the same familiar faces, the same old tuxedos. But what a difference! … Clearly, the arrival of the first woman conductor of a professional Bay Area orchestra since the previous millennium was not the real story. Nor the fact that on arrival on stage, the conductor immediately hugged the concertmaster (surely a first). It was the subtlety and expression of the new music director Joana (pronounced Joe Anna) Carneiro in the season-inaugural of this 40-year-old orchestra that has now truly come of age, in sharp contrast to its ragtag beginnings….

May 28, 2008

James Sohre

“Diminutive Joana Carneiro had taken over conducting duties from Mr. Adams and this was a tour-de-force assumption. [The Flowering] ‘Tree’ is a monster-piece that calls for split second rhythmic changes, quicksilver mood-altering shifts, lyrical outpouring, percussive tirades, and well, the kitchen sink just may have been in there somewhere. Above all, this stuff must be clean-clean-clean to make its hypnotic effect and save a few squishy moments in the opening bars’ undulating strings, Ms. Carneiro was in full command of her forces. As if she was driving a car at 120 miles an hour, there was no room for error. And she negotiated every twist and turn of this challenging piece with concentrated inspiration. Brava Maestra!”


Los AngelesTimes

March 27, 2008

Mark Swed

“Carneiro's enthusiasm sold the score…Passion emerged from subtle sounds, and Carneiro conducted alert to quietness and extravagance.”


Los AngelesTimes

“Calendar Live”

March 3, 2008

John Payne

“Under associate conductor Joana Carneiro's thrillingly athletic direction, the orchestra offered stylistically varied works by Boccherini, Berio and Britten and a truly socko suite from Stravinsky's The Firebird, at the conclusion of which the mostly younger audience leapt to its feet and roared its approval.”


LA Weekly

July 2007

Alan Rich

“Carneiro’s musical impulses are admirable, and the orchestra was producing elegant, seductive sounds for her all night.”


Los AngelesTimes

December 4, 2006

Mark Swed

“Carneiro clearly conducts from a youthful perspective. For her, Tchaikovsky's farewell, his heart-rending Finale, was moonlit and calm, more the end of the day or a love affair than a life. But there need be no rush for her to find her way into this score's death-fixation. She has a vibrant personality. She has creative interpretive ideas. She is not afraid to infuse dark Russian music with brighter colors.”


Entertainment News & Views, Miami Beach, FL

February 2006


“Carneiro captured the music's Spanish rhythms and color with astute mastery and idiomatic authenticity. Carneiro's imaginative take on Ravel's Bolero brought the evening to a smashing conclusion. She began at a very slow tempo. Gradually, almost imperceptively, Carneiro accelerated the tempo. Instead of being monotonous, she brought the music to vibrant life emphasizing myriad orchestral colors and constantly changing instrumental textures. Joana Carneiro is a terrifically gifted conductor and definitely a young artist to watch.”


Santa BarbaraNews Press

October 17, 2005

Josef Woodard

"The latest on the list was the young Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro, who, on Saturday night, fared beautifully in an eclectic evening of music. She, with orchestra in willing tow, moved nicely from a tipsy romp by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies to Mozart, from a dark and delicious bit of Samuel Barber to the well-trodden turf of Rachmaninoff's big-boned second piano concerto…It was a pleasure to see (and hear) Ms. Carneiro, a promising conductor now only 28 years old, commanding this orchestra with spirit and point…Carneiro led the orchestra [in Mozart's No. 38, ‘Prague Symphony’] without excess interpretive baggage, bringing crispness to the outer movements, and a soft-around-the-edges elegance to the slow movement."


Santa Barbara Independent

October 21, 2005

Gerald Carpenter

"In the course of this satisfying concert, we heard from four distinct orchestras, all rendered admirably by the Santa Barbara Symphony, under Joana Carneiro's baton…Carneiro did a splendid job throughout, though her heart seemed to beat most sympathetically with the Mozart. She revealed the almost bipolar mood swings in the work, from carefree to apprehensive, ebullient to melancholy."


Los AngelesTimes

May 4, 2004

Richard Ginell

“Last, but not least, on the “Sounds About Town” series at Walt Disney Concert Hall, it was the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra’s turn to try out the hall on Sunday night. The program was unusually short – less than an hour of music – but it gave the orchestra and its Lisbon-born music director, Joana Carneiro, a chance to splash around in some colorful orchestrations before digging in to the meat and potatoes of the Beethoven’s ‘Emperor Concerto’…Carneiro, 27, now pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Michigan, communicates plenty of enthusiasm with big sweeping gestures from her rubber-like right arm, enough to whip the coda of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol” into a raucous fury.”