Pianist and Conductor
ARCT, BMus, MPerf, ArtDip
Erika Gundesen completed her Performance ARCT (Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto) under the tutelage of Joan Bell in Calgary in August 2008, achieving First Class Honours with Distinction. Erika has been a top competitor in the Calgary Kiwanis Festival and the Alberta Provincial Music Festival. She graduated from secondary school with top honours, including the Governor General's Award and the Gerry Denault Prix.
Erika achieved her Bachelor of Music at the UBC School of Music in Vancouver, studying with Dr. Terence Dawson and Professor Jane Coop. She finished her Masters in Performance in 2014 at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, UK, where she continued her studies with Professor Caroline Palmer, supported by the Sir James Lougheed Memorial Fund. She was also awarded an Artist Diploma from the Guildhall in 2016, as a part of the prestigious Opera Repetiteur course, and completed an Assistant Conductor fellowship in 2017. She has competed as a finalist in the Canadian Music Competition and the Knigge International Piano Competition, winning top prizes in the former. She also published a paper in the London Liszt Society Journal in October of 2014, entitled "Liszt and Petrarch: Sonnets Across Time."
Labelled a BBC Music Rising Star in 2019, Erika currently works as a pianist, conductor and music director for opera and theatre productions in London, with a particular passion for contemporary repertoire. She has worked as music director for Vivo d'Arte, the Young Actors Theatre, and for Pint of Wine Productions, and has also worked for amateur companies including Geoids Musical Theatre, Sedos, and St. Monica's Players. She has been a guest artist for English Touring Opera, New Sussex Opera, Opera Loki, Debut Opera, Virtually Opera, London Theatre Workshop, Southbank Centre and Over Here Theatre. She was also selected in 2018 to participate in a special Women Conductors' Course as a collaboration between the Royal Philharmonic Society, the Royal Opera House and the National Opera Studio.
Erika was a National Opera Studio Young Artist for 2017-2018, a Britten Pears Young Artist in 2019, and an Emerging Artist for Scottish Opera from 2018-2019.
Photo by Bertie Watson, ©2014.