Conductor Michael Christie

Rhapsody in Blue
October 6-7, 2018


Michael Christie

Guest conductor

Michael Christie is a thoughtfully innovative conductor, equally at home in the symphonic and opera worlds, who is focused on making the audience experience at his performances entertaining, enlightening, and enriching. The New York Times reports, “Michael Christie is a director open to adventure and challenge,” and the Cincinnati Enquirer declares, “If Michael Christie represents the future of music in this country, the future looks promising indeed.”

Christie, who was featured in Opera News in August 2012 as one of 25 people believed to “break out and become major forces in the field in the coming decade,” began his tenure as the first-ever Music Director of the Minnesota Opera with the 2012-13 season. Highlights of Christie’s 2016-2017 season include the world premiere performances of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs by Mason Bates with Santa Fe Opera, a production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking with the Washington National Opera, Madame Butterfly with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and engagements with the Sacramento Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and Grand Rapids Symphony. At the Minnesota Opera he will lead productions of Vicente Martín y Soler’s Diana’s Garden, Charles Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet, Puccini’s La Bohème, and Wagner’s Das Rheingold.

Deeply committed to bringing new works to life, Michael Christie has championed commissions by leading and emerging composers alike, including Mark Adamo, Mason Bates, Michael Daugherty, Osvaldo Golijov, Mark Grey, Daron Hagen, Matthew Hindson, Marjan Mozetich, Stephen Paulus, Kevin Puts, and more. In 2011, Christie led the Minnesota Opera in the world premiere performances of Puts’ Silent Night, which was awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

Christie’s nearly 20-year symphonic conducting career has included serving as Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony (2005-2013) and Brooklyn Philharmonic (2005-2010), and as Chief Conductor of the Queensland Orchestra (2001-2004) in Australia, as well as guest appearances leading top orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, the Symphonies of Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, and more. Christie also enjoys many international engagements as well as a strong profile in Australia. Christie’s New York Philharmonic debut came in 2007 when he stepped in on short notice for an ailing Riccardo Muti, and he made his Carnegie Hall debut in the 2014 Spring for Music festival. Christie also served as the Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival from 2000-2013.

Michael Christie first came to international attention in 1995 when he was awarded a special prize for “Outstanding Potential” at the First International Sibelius Conductors’ Competition in Helsinki. Following the competition, he was invited to become an apprentice conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra where he subsequently worked with Daniel Barenboim as well as at the Berlin State Opera
during the 1996-1997 season. Christie graduated from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance. Christie lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Alexis, a physician, and their two children. A licensed pilot for over 15 years, Christie often flies his Mooney Airplane Company single engine aircraft to his conducting engagements across the U.S. He volunteers for Angel Flight Central, flying people in need with serious medical issues to receive care.

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