Biography

Nicole Paiement (Opera Parallèle Artistic Director, Conductor, Founder) has gained an international reputation as a conductor of contemporary music and opera. Her numerous recordings include many world premiere works.

Her 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. She will return in 2018 to conduct the US premiere of Sunken Garden.

As Artistic Director of 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; and a new production of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse.  Under her baton, the company has performed two works this season - Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles and Jonathan Dove’s Flight.

Additionally, Paiement has been 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.

Paiement is a very active guest conductor. This past year she conducted at The Glimmerglass Festival, at The Atlanta Opera, at the Monterey Jazz Festival for the world premiere of Wayne Shorter’s new commissioned work, and at Washington National Opera for the world premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s The Dictator’s Wife.  Upcoming engagements include a return to the Glimmerglass Festival; and debuts at Lyric Opera of Kansas City to conduct the reprise of Joby Talbot’s Everest and at Houston Grand Opera for Gaetano Donizetti’s La Favorite.

Nicole conducting