Maria Sensi Sellner

Conductor Maria Sensi Sellner’s artistry, versatility, and fresh approach to programming are making her an increasingly coveted collaborator for opera companies, orchestras, and choruses. Praised as “mightily impressive”, she was the first three-time winner of the American Prize for Opera Conducting and last season made her debut with the Dallas Opera Orchestra as one of six international conductors selected for the Hart Institute for Women Conductors.

Ms. Sellner is Artistic & General Director of Resonance Works Pittsburgh, the company she founded in 2013.  With Resonance Works, she created a unique programming model which mixes a broad range of repertoire and performing forces to engage audiences with relevant and compelling musical experiences.  Now in its 7th season, Resonance Works showcases an orchestra, chorus, vocal soloists, chamber musicians, staged opera, and musical theater – often on the same program – and has been recognized as having “demonstrated an innovative streak in its musical programming earning its own niche in the city’s concert landscape.”

Ms. Sellner’s highlights for the 2019-20 season include Verdi’s Rigoletto and Pittsburgh premieres by Missy Mazzoli, David Lang, Caroline Shaw and more with Resonance Works, a return to the Westmoreland Symphony for “Home for the Holidays”, the world premiere of Jorge Sosa’s  “I am a Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams” with White Snake Projects in Boston, and L’elisir d’amore with Permian Basin Opera in Midland, Texas.

For the past few seasons, Ms. Sellner has also been active as a cover conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Administrator for the Blackburn Music Academy at Festival Napa Valley. Previous engagements include the Center for Contemporary Opera, Syracuse Opera, Symphoria, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, Boston Opera Collaborative, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, and Hubbard Hall Opera, among others. In 2016, she was on the conducting team for the world premiere of David Lang’s “the public domain” for 1000 singers at Lincoln Center.  Previous positions include Acting Music Director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (chorus for the Pittsburgh Symphony), interim faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, and Director of the Akron Symphony Chorus.

Ms. Sellner holds masters degrees in conducting (a student of Robert Page), composition, and mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and lives in Pittsburgh with her Roboticist husband, Brennan, and their Havanese, Lucy.

The Dallas Opera Hart Institute for Women Conductors, November 2018: