Maria Sensi Sellner is recognized for her versatility as a conductor of opera, orchestras, and choruses. Praised for leading with “flexible assurance” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer) and “authority” (Pittsburgh Tribune Review), Ms. Sellner’s performances have been described as “sterling” (The Boston Globe), “adept” (Schenectady Daily Gazette), and “nothing short of incredible” (Berkshire on Stage). Back-to-back winner of the American Prize in Opera Conducting, she is the founder and Artistic Director of Resonance Works | Pittsburgh, the Director of the Akron Symphony Chorus, Interim Director of Choirs at Carnegie Mellon University, and Associate Conductor of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (chorus of choice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra).
This fall Ms. Sellner will conduct Verdi’s Macbeth – the debut project of Resonance Works | Pittsburgh, the annual Holiday Concert for the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, and the Akron Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops concerts. Recent performances include Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera for Opera Theater of Pittsburgh Summerfest and Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Hubbard Hall Opera Theater. During the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Sellner conducted Poulenc’s Gloria with the Akron Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Orpheus in the Underworld for the Boston Opera Collaborative, and two productions of Verdi’s La Traviata – for the Solon Center for the Arts (OH), and for Hubbard Hall Opera Theater (NY). She also guest conducted the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra on their 25th Anniversary Gala Concert and prepared choruses for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops and Akron Symphony classic and pops subscription concerts.
Previous opera conducting credits include productions of Don Pasquale, Suro Angelica, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Street Scene, L’Incoronazione di Poppea, and The Consul. She was Assistant Conductor at Opera Carolina in 2010, and has assisted on productions at Pittsburgh Opera, Indianapolis Opera and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. She has collaborated with a number of stage directors, including Dorothy Danner, Elizabeth Bachman, Jonathon Field, David Gram, Andrew Nienaber, Heidi Lauren Duke, Marya Spring Cordes, and Gregory Lehane.
For ten years, Ms. Sellner was the Music Director of the All University Orchestras at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2008 and 2009, she conducted on the Discovery Series Concerts at the Oregon Bach Festival as a part of the masterclass with conductor Helmuth Rilling. Ms. Sellner earned a masters degree in conducting from Carnegie Mellon University, studying with Maestro Robert Page, and continued private study with Kenneth Kiesler and Fiora Contino. She also holds masters degrees in 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 10 year old Yorkie, Remi.