Franco-American conductor Elizabeth Askren is valued for her “masterful work inspiring amazing results, filled with verve, panache, and justesse de ton” (appoggiature).
At home in both the symphonic and operatic milieux, she has worked for productions in leading European venues (Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw…) and has guest conducted orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and several French orchestras (Opéra de Reims, Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, Orchestre de Franche-Comté..). Recent and upcoming débuts include performances with the orchestras of the Opéra de Toulon and the Kolozsvari Magyar Opera, the Romanian National Opera of Cluj, and the Dallas Opera.
Askren is the Founder and Artistic Director of TOA – Transylvanian Opera Academy, an innovative professional development and insertion program offering international-level mentoring and performance opportunities to exceptional young talents in the field of Opera. In France, she has designed, led, and performed in award-winning musical outreach and educational projects, collaborating with the Ministry of Education as well as with national theaters, conservatories, and music festivals throughout the country. She has served as a jury member on several international music competitions in France and Romania, including the upcoming Philharmonie de Paris’ “Tremplin Cheffes d’Orchestre” competition. She was granted the equivalency of the select Certificat d’Aptitude en direction d’ensembles instrumentaux by the French government, enabling her to teach
conducting at the highest level.
As Cultural Director of the Fondation des Etats-Unis, Cité Universitaire for over a decade, Elizabeth Askren curated cultural seasons rich with concerts, exhibits, festivals, and lectures. She was Founder and Director of PONT – Portes Ouvertes aux Nouveaux Talents, a pre-professional development program for international young artists and musicians, and directed its Harriet Hale Woolley scholarship program, of which she was a laureate.
She is featured in several radio and press interviews (France Musique, France Inter, France Culture, Radio France Internationale…), and in Michael Wende’s acclaimed documentary Der Taktstock (2010) on the art of conducting. Selected by the national French Téva télévision as a finalist for their “Woman of the Year 2013” title, she was most recently spotlighted on American national public television’s PBS Newshour, “Bringing Women Conductors to the Front of the Orchestra”.
Laureate of France’s ADAMI “Talents chefs d’orchestre” prize, the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Royaumont Foundation, and the Harriet Hale Woolley scholarship, Elizabeth Askren was granted a conducting fellowship by England’s Aldeburgh Festival. A finalist candidate for the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition in Bamberg, Germany, she was invited by Lorin Maazel
as “Apprentice Conductor” for the opening season of the Castleton festival in Virginia. She is a Young Leader of the French American Foundation, a select group of carefully chosen up-and-coming leaders in government, business, media, military, culture and the non-profit sector.
Elizabeth Askren holds diplomas in piano and conducting from the Juilliard School, Oberlin Conservatory, and the Conducting Institute of Bard in the United States, and the Schola Cantorum and the Ecole Normale de Musique in France. She has participated in several international festivals and master classes in North America (Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra Conducting Institute,
Cabrillo Festival, Tanglewood BUTI) and Europe (Vienna Hochschüle für Musik, Salzburg Mozarteum Sommerakademie…), and counts among her musical mentors Marin Alsop, Lorin Maazel, and Byron Janis. She has received additional executive nonprofit education from Christie’s Education, Cité de la Musique, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School Executive Education. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj (Prof. Univ. Adrian Pop), exploring the influences of Debussy on the orchestral works of Bartok Béla. She divides her time between Paris and Cluj, where she lives with her husband and little daughter.