Michael Christie, Music Director Laureate

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Michael_Christie_Conducting9Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1974, American conductor Michael Christie has developed an exceptional career spanning conducting posts on three continents. After gaining early international recognition in 1995 when he was awarded a special prize for “Outstanding Potential” at the First International Sibelius Conductor’s Competition in Helsinki, Mr. Christie has been consistently identified among the most talented and most closely watched conductors of his generation.

Michael Christie was appointed Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival in 2000. During his first ten seasons, he has increased festival audiences through his enthusiastic leadership, innovative programming and widely acclaimed audience building initiatives.

Michael_Christie_Conducting_10In September 2001, Mr. Christie was appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Queensland Orchestra, the youngest person ever to hold a music director post with a major Australian symphony orchestra. Michael Christie became the Virginia G. Piper Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony and Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic in September 2005. “Brooklyn’s new music director, Michael Christie, had his orchestra playing with energy and style.” (New York Times)

Michael_Christie_Conducting_11He has enjoyed performing with leading orchestras of Europe and North America, including the major orchestras of all five Scandinavian countries, the UK, and radio symphonies in the Netherlands and Germany. In North America, he has conducted in Denver, Vancouver, Dallas, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Saint Louis and his hometown of Buffalo, NY. Michael has also conducted opera performances with the Opernhaus in Zurich, the Finnish National Opera and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. Michael Christie was educated in the public school system in Buffalo and West Seneca, New York and graduated from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance.

After the First International Sibelius Conductor’s Competition in Helsinki, Mr. Christie was invited to become an apprentice conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and subsequently worked with Daniel Barenboim in Chicago and at the Berlin State Opera during the 1996-97 season. Invited to work with all the major Finnish orchestras following the competition in 1995, Michael Christie also served as Associate Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic 1996-98.

Mr. Christie’s subsequent guest conducting engagements have spanned across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. In the United States, he has appeared with the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Seattle, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Baltimore, Vancouver, as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Florida Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic, Oregon Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra, among others. His European concerts have included engagements with the Swedish Radio Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, NDR Hannover Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Bergen Philharmonic, Orchestre de Bretagne, Orchestre National de Lille, and performances with the Odense and Aarhus orchestras in Denmark. In 2006, he made his Berlin conducting debut with the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin.

Mr. Christie has also forged a growing reputation as an opera conductor. Most seasons he conducts both opera and ballet performances at the Zurich Opera, where he served during the 1997-98 season in a position especially created for him as Assistant Conductor to Franz Welser-Möst. Here he made his ballet and opera debut conducting performances of Romeo and Juliet and a new production of Hansel and Gretel. He has also worked with the Finnish National Opera, where he conducted The Marriage of Figaro in 1999-2000 and with the Queensland Opera where he made his debut conducting Cosi Fan Tutte the same season. In March 2004, he made his Netherlands opera debut conducting John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer with the Rotterdam Philharmonic.

Michael Christie receives the 2006 Helen M. Thompson Award for An Emerging Music Director by the American Symphony Orchestra League

The Helen M. Thompson Award for An Emerging Music Director was created 25 years ago to celebrate the life and work of Helen M. Thompson. Ms. Thompson gave nearly three decades of inspired leadership and service to the American Symphony Orchestra League (ASOL), developing and promoting the cause of the symphony orchestra in the United States. Given in alternate years, the award recognizes her support and encouragement of music directors early in their careers. Music directors who have worked at an ASOL member orchestra and have no more than five years total combined experience as a music director are eligible. Nominees demonstrate superior talent, dedication to the orchestra through exceptional musical leadership, commitment to organizational vitality, and possess potential for continued artistic growth.

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