Conductor Maria Sensi Sellner’s artistry, versatility, and fresh approach to programming are making her an increasingly coveted collaborator for orchestras, choruses, and opera companies. Praised as “mightily impressive”, she was the first three-time winner of the American Prize for Opera Conducting and recently made her debut with the Dallas Opera Orchestra as one of six international conductors selected for the Hart Institute for Women Conductors.
As Artistic & General Director of Resonance Works Pittsburgh, the company which she founded in 2013, Ms. Sellner developed a unique programming model which 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.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) With Resonance Works, Ms. Sellner has conducted the American premiere of James MacMillan’s Gloria and a number of Pittsburgh premieres including Lang’s “little match girl passion” and Dvořák’s Rusalka.
Ms. Sellner is also active as a freelance conductor, 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. A native of western Pennsylvania, Ms. Sellner resides in Pittsburgh with her Roboticist husband, Brennan, and their Havanese puppy, Lucy.