"Elizabeth Askren’s conducting captured the score’s magic." - THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
"...Askren inspired virtuosic achievements from the pit, from seamless ensemble playing to exposed, characterful solos, all beautifully rendered..." - OPERA TODAY
Praised for “inspiring virtuosic achievements from the pit” (Opera Today) and “palpable happiness” (Le Monde) from the artists with whom she collaborates, Elizabeth Askren empowers musicians around the world as a conductor, educator, and cultural activist.
Askren’s musical leadership is described by La Croix as “present on each line, each silence.” She performs regularly with leading opera houses and orchestras throughout North America and Europe. Last season she made mainstage debuts with The Dallas Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre and Opéra de Dijon to great acclaim. Askren opens the 2023/2024 season with back-to-back productions of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at New Orleans Opera and Portland Opera, before returning to Hawai’i Opera Theatre to conduct Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. She is the Music Director of the workshops and world premiere of composer Paola Prestini and poet Brenda Shaughnessey’s Sensorium Ex, a Ford Foundation-funded operatic production produced by VisionIntoArt and Beth Morrison Projects that explores issues at the intersection of AI, disability, and the human voice.
A master teacher at both The Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors and at the Paris Opera’s Academy, Askren made history by judging the Paris Philharmonic’s inaugural La Maestra Competition for Women Conductors alongside her mentor, Marin Alsop. Askren now offers an innovative online masterclass series drawing on the full breadth of her practical experience and pedagogy.
Askren is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Transylvanian Opera Academy (TOA), Romania’s first opera studio. Offering a 360° approach to education, TOA guides its young artists to develop holistically as mature artists, centered individuals, and ambassadors of their art to their local communities. Since its creation in 2017, TOA has been featured on national television, radio, and press, while establishing international partnerships with the Paris Opera’s Academy, the Philharmonie de Paris’ La Maestra competition, and Opera for Peace.
Deeply committed to sharing classical music with a broader audience, Askren is the creator and host of the children’s edutainment series MaestraMagic!, a multimedia production combining live action, animation and puppets in a program compared to Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts series.
Askren is invited regularly to speak about leadership, culture-preneurship, inclusivity, and cultivating humanity in the age of AI. Her TEDx talk, Why Classical Music is the Wave of the Future, garnered more than 4,500 views in under 24 hours. She is featured regularly in the American and European media, through outlets including PBS Newshour, NPR, Radio France Internationale, and France Musique.
Askren holds degrees in piano and conducting from The Juilliard School, Oberlin Conservatory, and the Conducting Institute of Bard in the United States, as well as the Schola Cantorum, the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, and the Romanian National Academy of Music Gheorghe Dima in Europe. Her musical mentors include conductors Marin Alsop and Lorin Maazel, along with pianists Byron Janis and Sergio Perticaroli. She was awarded the highest teaching diplomas from both the French Ministry of Culture (VAE, certificat d’aptitude en direction d’ensembles orchestrales) and the Romanian Ministry of Education (PhD, magna cum laude). She received administrative training from Harvard’s Kennedy School, Christie’s Education, and Paris’ Cité de la Musique.
When not performing abroad, Askren divides her time between New York, Paris and Transylvania. An enthusiastic contributor to her local communities, she has served on numerous educational and philanthropic boards, and consults for nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Europe.