Berlin-based Canadian conductor Vanessa Chartrand-Rodrigue is a 2020 Opera Awards Foundation bursary recipient and scholarship holder from the Royal Philharmonic Society of London. From her rich background as a classical singer and viola da Gamba player, her conducting encompasses symphonic works, contemporary music, baroque music and opera.
Highlights of Chartrand-Rodrigue 24/25 season include debuts with the Danish Philharmonic, and the world premiere of her piece Human Talking 1.0 by award winning Ensemble Tafelmusik.
In recent seasons, Chartrand-R. has worked with orchestras such as the Orchestre National d’Auvergne, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, the Kiev Symphony orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Cascais, London’s Chroma Ensemble, Ensemble UnitedBerlin, Zafrann Ensemble, Mosaik Ensemble, and Phoenix16.
Vanessa was Vladimir Jurowski’s assistant at the London Royal Opera House’s in a production of Jenufa, and with the Berlin Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra for 2 years.
She conducts a wide range of repertoire from the baroque to the contemporary; Debussy, Stravinsky, Bartok, Haydn, Zemlinksy, Mendelssohn and is a pioneer of new music. She has performed both as a singer and conductor at the most important festivals of new music in Germany: MärzMusik, MIKROMUSIK Festival for Experimental music and sound art, ULTRASCHALL Festival, Documenta 14, Ruhrfestspielhaus Recklinghausen, and Duisburger Akzente.
She also premiered composer Lisa Bielawa’s Mauer Broadcast for double choruses, ensemble and soloist for the Fall of the Berlin wall celebration.
A passionate opera conductor, Chartrand-Rodrigue gained many years of stage experience; first as an opera singer (singing Carmen, Hermia, Cesare, Dorabella, Cherubino, Charlotte to name a few) but also as a viola da Gamba player, conducting from the continuo works such as Orlando, Monteverdi’s Orfeo, and The Fairy Queen. She has worked with small opera companies in Berlin conducting Don Giovanni, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Carmen, L’Elisir d’amore, and Le Nozze di Figaro.
As a composer, Vanessa has received many recognition for her works both on stage and on screen. Some highlights of her work include GAIA-Cyborg Oper nominated for best production of 2021 by Nachtkritik.
Her latest soundtrack, A Body like mine, was an official selection of DOC.BERLIN 2023.
Vanessa’s music is known for her remarkable emotional depth, which lends itself to a sense of openness and breathability. Across a wide variety of genres, she explores sounds, textures, and movements.
Her music is deeply moving and tends towards minimalism, focusing on the core of an emotion in its rawest form.
In 2018 she founded OpusXX Orchestra, a chamber orchestra based in Berlin, which has been applauded for its rich sound and unique repertoire, shading a light on forgotten female composers, and pioneering new works by women composers.
Vanessa was born in Québec, Canada. Where after graduating with honours from McGill University in voice, she attended a Master’s degree in viola da Gamba at the Université de Montréal before moving to Germany to pursue her operatic studies with Ks. Jeanne Piland. Vanessa counts among her conducting mentors Vladimir Jurowski and Jessica Cottis. She has worked as well with Luigi Gaggero, Hervé Niquet, Jay Bernfeld, Skip Sempé, Alexander Schmalcz, Michael McMahon, Falk Struckmann, and Xenia Meijer.
Vanessa Chartrand-Rodrigue conducts an eclectic and challenging program with precision and musicality. She manœuvres with ease going from the avant-gardism of the Ezercizi from Morricone, to the rich colours of Nino Rota’s Concerto per archi, all while accompanying the soloist, Romain Leleu, with mastery and finesse in the Concertino pour trompette from G. Delerue.
Artistic Director, Festival ciné-notes Opera National de Bordeaux