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, and graduated with top honours including the Governor General's Award. She achieved her Bachelor of Music at the UBC School of Music in Vancouver, studying with Dr. Terence Dawson and Professor Jane Coop. Erika continued on to complete her Masters in Performance in 2014 at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, UK, where she studied with Professor Caroline Palmer, supported by the Sir James Lougheed Memorial Fund and the Alberta Arts Graduate Scholarship. 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."
Named as 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 Virtually Opera, 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, London Theatre Workshop, the 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. She is a freelance staff member at the Royal Opera House and regularly works for opera and theatre companies around London.
Photo by Bertie Watson, ©2014.