Maria
Sensi Sellner

Maria Sensi Sellner
(She/Her) Conductor Maria Sensi Sellner’s artistry, versatility, and reputation for innovation are making her a sought-after collaborator and an impresario for the 21st century. She was the first three-time winner of the American Prize for Opera Conducting, praised as “mightily impressive”, and is a proud alum of The Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors.  She is the Artistic & General Director and founder of Resonance Works in Pittsburgh, and co-founder and lead producer of the Decameron Opera Coalition.
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Currently Performing
Cinderella
Conductor & Producer
Resonance Works
Management
Athlone Artists, Boston, Massachusetts

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Athlone Artists, Boston, Massachusetts
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Biography

Maria Sensi Sellner

Conductor Maria Sensi Sellner’s artistry, versatility, and reputation for innovation are making her a sought-after collaborator and an impresario for the 21st century.  She was the first three-time winner of the American Prize for Opera Conducting, praised as “mightily impressive”, and is a proud alum of The Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors.  Maria is the Artistic & General Director of Resonance Works, the genre-defying performing arts company she founded in her native Pittsburgh in 2013; co-founder and lead producer of the Decameron Opera Coalition; and a frequent cover conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Her unique, artist-driven programming has been praised for its “innovative streak” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and for bringing a “welcome infusion of sophistication and diversity” (I Care If You Listen) to Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape.  The 2021-22 season includes a growing number of company debuts across the country - including Portland Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Raylynmor Opera, Opera Steamboat, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City - conducting her favorite mix of Verdi, bel canto, and contemporary opera repertoire.  Amidst the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Maria continued to collaborate and innovate - co-founding the Decameron Opera Coalition (DOC), an unprecedented partnership of nine indie opera companies from across the U.S., which thus far has commissioned and produced 18 short opera films (from 29 composers and librettists), and employed nearly 200 artists from around the world.  Maria also self-produced a wide variety of digital programs for Resonance Works, and serves as assistant director for concerts for the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Front Row digital platform. Recent conducting highlights include the world premiere of  I am a Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams (Sosa/Jacobs) for Boston’s White Snake Projects, a remount of Resonance Works’ award-winning immersive production of L’elisir d’amore at Permian Basin Opera, the U.S. premiere of James MacMillan’s Gloria, and numerous regional premieres, including David Lang’s little match girl passion and Dvořák’s Rusalka.  Previous opera and concert 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, hailed by the New York Times as the “most inspiring feel-good performance of 2016.”  Maria has previously held positions as Acting Music Director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (chorus of choice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra), Director of the Akron Symphony Chorus, Artistic Administrator for Festival Napa Valley’s Blackburn Music Academy, Artistic Advisor for Hubbard Hall Opera, interim faculty at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, and Director of the Carnegie Mellon All University Orchestras for ten years.  Maria holds masters degrees in conducting (studying with Robert Page), composition, and mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

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