Grammy award-winning 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. He is the newly appointed Music Director of the New West Symphony, serving the greater Los Angeles area in Thousand Oaks and Camarillo, California. 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 won a 2019 Grammy Award (Best Opera Recording) for the world premiere recording of Mason Bates’ The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs with The Santa Fe Opera (PENTATONE). In 2017, he led the world premiere performances at The Santa Fe Opera, “with suave assurance” (San Francisco Chronicle), with “precision and pizzazz” (Santa Fe New Mexican), and “preside[d] over an expertly executed performance” (The Financial Times).
Christie 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.” At Minnesota Opera, Christie led 24 productions over eight years, six seasons as its first-ever Music Director (2012-2018). 2019-2020 is Christie’s first full season as Music Director of the New West Symphony, and he will lead operas with Indiana University Opera and Ballet Theater, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
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, Huang Ruo, Matthew Hindson, Marjan Mozetich, Stephen Paulus, Kevin Puts, and more. In 2018, he led the world premiere of An American Soldier, a two-act opera by Huang Ruo, with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. The New York Times reported, “Both the subtle colorings and pummeling intensity came through in the compelling performance the conductor Michael Christie drew from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.”
Christie’s conducting career, spanning more than 20 years, 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 the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and the Symphonies of Dallas, St. Louis, Atlanta, Houston, Minnesota, Oregon, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Santa Rosa. Christie’s many European engagements have included leading the Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Orchestre National de Lille, Swedish and Netherlands Radio Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, NDR Hannover Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic. In addition, 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.
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.
For more information, visit www.michaelchristieonline.com.