Minnesota Opera appointed Michael Christie as Music Director, a new strategic role for the company, in January 2012. Maestro Christie is charged with enhancing the company's artistic product through his work with the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, as well as providing leadership by conducting a majority of each season's operas, beginning with the 2012–2013 season.
Michael Christie's Biography
Michael Christie became the Virginia G. Piper Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony in August 2005 and was Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic from September 2005 to 2010. 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. He was recently appointed Music Director of the Minnesota Opera, a new strategic role for the company. In his role, he is charged with enhancing the company's artistic product through his work with the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, as well as providing leadership by conducting a majority of each season's operas, beginning in September 2012.Michael Christie is also Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, where he has been highly praised for his innovative programming and audiences have grown each summer for 12 years, resulting in him being named "Musician of the Year" by the Denver Post in 2010.
Over his 16-year career, he has conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony and the Cincinnati Symphony, among many others. Christie made his New York Philharmonic debut in March 2007, stepping in for an ailing Riccardo Muti.
Michael Christie has also established an excellent reputation as an opera conductor, starting with his operatic and ballet performances at the Opernhaus Zürich. That special relationship began in the 1997-1998 season and continued for many seasons with his highly successful debut conducting performances of Romeo and Juliet and a new production of Hansel and Gretel. Most recently, extraordinary critical response has surrounded his Opera Theatre of St. Louis productions of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles and John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer and his Minnesota Opera productions 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.
Coming operatic work includes the North American premiere of Unsuk Chin's Alice in Wonderland at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He will also conduct the world premiere of Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene at San Francisco Opera.
He has also worked at the Wexford Festival Opera conducting the European premiere of Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles. This production, a collaborative effort with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and directed by James Robinson, won the 2010 Irish Times Irish Theatre Award for Best Opera. He conducted the opera again at the Aspen Music Festival in August 2010.
Michael Christie 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 during the same season. In March 2004 he made his highly successful opera debut in The Netherlands conducting John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer with the Rotterdam Philharmonic.
In Europe his career has been equally successful, with past engagements including the DSO Berlin, Orchestre National de Lille, Swedish Radio Symphony, Netherlands Radio Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, NDR Hannover Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic. His ties to orchestras in Scandinavia have been particularly strong with engagements in all five countries.
He enjoys a strong profile in Australia, where aside from his role as Chief Conductor of the Queensland Orchestra (which ended in December 2004), he has also 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 and subsequently worked with Daniel Barenboim in Chicago and 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. He is married to Alexis, a physician, and they have a daughter, Sinclair, born in 2008.