Dr. Carolyn Watson

Conductor, Interlochen Philharmonic, Interlochen Arts Camp

Director of Orchestral Activities, University of Kansas

Ph.D, Performance (Conducting), M.M., B.Mus.Ed., University of Sydney; Advanced Diploma, Kodaly Institute

A major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest, Carolyn Watson was also a Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, where she studied with David Zinman. She has conducted orchestras throughout Europe, including the Brandenburg Symphony, BBC Concert Orchestra, North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Kodály Philharmonic, Savaria Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Operetta Theatre, Bulgarian State Opera Bourgas, and, in Russia, the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic.

Watson currently serves as Director of Orchestral Studies at The University of Kansas whilst continuing to enjoy an active freelance career throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. Since moving to the U.S. in 2013, she has conducted the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Austin Symphony, Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra, and World Youth Symphony Orchestra. From 2013 to 2015 she held the prestigious position of Music Director of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, with whom she was awarded the 2015 American Prize for Orchestral Performance.

In 2017, Watson was one of six conductors selected for the elite Dallas Opera Institute for Women Conductors and has participated in master classes with Marin Alsop, Peter Eötvös, Yoel Levi, Martyn Brabbins, and Alex Polishchuk. Watson conducted musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic in Interaktion and was Musical Assistant at the Staatsoper Berlin for Infektion!, a festival of modern theatre celebrating the works of John Cage. She was resident at the Israeli National Opera and assisted Sir Charles Mackerras on his final two productions at The Royal Opera, Covent Garden and Glyndebourne.

Watson is the recipient of a number of prestigious national and international awards for young conductors including the Brian Stacey Award for emerging Australian conductors; Sir Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize awarded via the Australian Music Foundation in London; Opera Foundation Australia's Bayreuth Opera Award; the Berlin New Music Opera Award; and the Nelly Apt Conducting Scholarship. A Churchill Fellow, she is the beneficiary of support from the American Australian Association's Dame Joan Sutherland Fund and a Sheila Pryor Study Grant from the Australian Opera Auditions Committee.

Watson holds a Ph.D in Performance (Conducting) from the University of Sydney where she studied under Imre Palló. The subject of her doctoral thesis was "Gesture as Communication: The Art of Carlos Kleiber."