Conductor | Artistic Director
Nicole Paiement has gained an international reputation as a conductor of contemporary music and opera. Her numerous recordings include many world premiere works.
Maestro Paiement’s 2012 Dallas Opera debut conducting Peter Maxwell Davies’ 1979 thriller, The Lighthouse earned rave reviews. Subsequently, Paiement was appointed Principal Guest Conductor at The Dallas Opera. Paiement has since returned to Dallas to conduct performances of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, as well as the critically acclaimed and highly anticipated world premiere of Joby Talbot’s opera Everest, Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and Douglas Cuomo’s Arjuna’s Dilemma. In 2018, Paiement conducted the US premiere of Michel Van Der Aa’s Sunken Garden.
As Artistic Director of San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle, Paiement has conducted many new productions, including: world premieres of Lou Harrison’s final version of Young Caesar, Dante De Silva’s commissioned opera Gesualdo, Prince of Madness (presented as a graphic opera), Luciano Chessa’s commissioned opera A Heavenly Act, the commissioned chamber version of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby, the premiere of the re-orchestration of Terence Blanchard’s Champion in collaboration with SFJAZZ Center; the West Coast premieres of John Rea’s re-orchestration of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck and Philip Glass’ Orphée; Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts; Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar; Francis Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias; Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel; the American Premieres of Adam Gorb’s Anya 17 and Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness; the San Francisco Bay Area return of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking; a new production of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse; Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles; and Jonathan Dove’s Flight. In 2017/18 Paiement conducted a new double bill of Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus and Berstein’s Trouble in Tahiti in collaboration with SFJAZZ as well as Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince. In the 2018/19 season, Opera Parallèle made it’s debut at Phillip Glass’ Days & Nights Festival with Glass’ In the Penal Colony and Paiement conducted Today it Rains, a commissioned opera by Laura Kaminsky based on the life of Georgia O’Keeffe and a return season of Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince. In 2020, Opera Parallèle will present a new version of Stewart Wallace’s Harvey Milk as part of the 90th Birthday celebrations for the opera’s namesake, with Paiement at the helm for this exciting production.
Additionally, Paiement has served as the Artistic Director of the BluePrint Project at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) where she has commissioned, premiered, and recorded works from many living American composers. At SFCM, she holds the Jean and Josette Deleage Distinguished Chair in New Music. Paiement previously served as the Director of Ensembles at the University of California – Santa Cruz (UCSC). In 2014, she was awarded the UCSC Eminent Professor Award. In 2015, she received the Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship in recognition of her outstanding contributions and achievement in artistic scholarship and teaching.
In 2016, Paiement was awarded the American Composer’s Forum “Champion of New Music Award” for her outstanding contributions to contemporary music.
Ms. Paiement is a very active guest conductor. This past year she has conducted at Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival (2016 – 2018) and a debut at Seattle Opera with Mason Bates’ The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Other prior engagements include Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Puts’ Silent Night at The Atlanta Opera and Washington National Opera for the world premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s The Dictator’s Wife. Paiement also recently conducted the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s If I Were You with Merola Opera Program, San Francisco.
Upcoming engagements include a debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago with Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, and a return to the Dallas Opera for a double bill of Pulcinella & La Voix Humaine. Future seasons also include debuts at the Houston Grand Opera, Opéra de Montréal with Benjamin’s Written on Skin and Talbot’s Everest with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, London.