Michael Christie, Music Director Laureate
The 2012/2013 season marked Michael Christie’s eighth and final season as the Virginia G. Piper Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony. Christie also continued into his thirteenth season as Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder. This season also marked the beginning of Maestro Christie’s tenure as the first-ever Music Director of the Minnesota Opera.
With his orchestras, he has embarked on a series of ambitious projects focusing on interdisciplinary collaborations with visual artists, dance companies, and theater groups, as well as contemporary composers such as Gorecki, Ligeti, Adams, Golijov, and Tan Dun. As a result of his innovative programming and audience cultivation, the Denver Post named Christie the 2010 “Musician of the Year.”
His 16-year symphonic conducting career is vast in scope with previous appointments including Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic (2005-2010), Chief Conductor of the Queensland Orchestra (2001-2004) as well as numerous US guest appearances conducting Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, the Symphonies of Dallas, St. Louis, Atlanta, Houston, Minnesota, Oregon, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. European engagements include Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Orchestre National de Lille, Swedish and Netherlands Radio Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, NDR Hannover Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic. Maestro Christie’s New York Philharmonic debut came in March 2007 in which he stepped in for an ailing Riccardo Muti. Aside from his extensive work in the United States and Europe, Christie enjoys a strong profile in Australia, where he has conducted the Sydney Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony, Opera Queensland, and the Western Australian Symphony in Perth.
An ever-increasing and significant facet of Maestro Christie’s career has been his work in the operatic world. As a testament to Mr. Christie’s increasing operatic notoriety, he was recently featured in the August 2012 issue of Opera News as one of twenty-five people believed “to break out and become major forces in the field in the coming decade.”
This season, as Minnesota Opera’s Music Director, Christie is at the helm of productions of Nabucco (Verdi), Anna Bolena (Donizetti), and Turandot (Puccini). Other operatic engagements this season include February performances of Silent Night (Puts) with Opera Company of Philadelphia. Maestro Christie closes his season with world premiere performances of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene with San Francisco Opera. Notable past engagements include various performances at Opernhaus Zürich and Finnish National Opera, greatly acclaimed performances of Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, and the North American premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the European premiere of Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles at the Wexford Festival Opera, Minnesota Opera performances of Verdi’s La traviata, Bernard Herrmann’s Wuthering Heights, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, and the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ Silent Night, which was awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
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.
Michael graduated from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a bachelor's degree in trumpet performance. Michael lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Alexis and children, Sinclair and Beckett