Michael Christie (conductor)

Michael Christie (born June 30, 1974 in Buffalo, New York) is a Grammy-winning American conductor.[1]

Christie graduated from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a bachelor's degree in trumpet performance. His conducting teachers have included Peter Jaffe, Eiji Oue, and Robert Spano. He first came to international attention in 1995 when he received a special prize for "outstanding potential" at the First International Sibelius Conductor’s Competition in Helsinki at age 21.[2] Following the competition, he became an apprentice conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and subsequently worked with Daniel Barenboim, conducting both in Chicago and at the Berlin State Opera. From 1996 to 1998, he was associate conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic. Franz Welser-Möst named Christie assistant conductor at the Zurich Opera for the 1997–98 season.

Christie was the music director of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder from 2000 to 2013.[3] He is credited with nearly doubling attendance and revenue at the festival during his tenure.[4][5] He then took the title of music director laureate of the festival.[6]

In December 2004, Christie was appointed music director of the Phoenix Symphony. In August 2005, Christie was named the 5th music director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic,[7] with his first concert in February 2006.[8] His Brooklyn Philharmonic tenure concluded in June 2010.[9] In January 2012, Christie was announced as the next music director of Minnesota Opera.[10] In parallel, he concluded his Phoenix Symphony tenure in 2013, at which time he took the title of music director laureate, for a three-season term. With the Phoenix Symphony, Christie has recorded music of Mark Grey for Naxos Records.

Christie began his tenure as music director of the Minnesota Opera with the 2012–2013 season.[11] In February 2014, Michael Christie's contract with the Minnesota Opera was extended to the 2017–2018 season.[12] With the Minnesota Opera, Christie has conducted world premieres of new three operas, commissioned by the Minnesota Opera as part of its New Works Initiative:[13] Kevin Puts' Silent Night (2011), which won the Pulitzer Prize in music;[14] Puts' The Manchurian Candidate (2015); and Paul Moravec's The Shining (2016). Christie concluded his music directorship of Minnesota Opera at the close of the 2017-2018 season.[15]

Christie won a 2019 Grammy Award (Best Opera Recording) for the world premiere recording of Mason BatesThe (R)evolution of Steve Jobs with The Santa Fe Opera (PENTATONE).[1] In 2017, he led the world premiere performances at The Santa Fe Opera.[16]

In 2019, Christie was appointed Music Director of the New West Symphony, serving the greater Los Angeles area in Thousand Oaks and Oxnard, California.[17]

Outside of the USA, Christie was chief conductor of the Queensland Orchestra from 2001 to December 2004. Whilst in Australia, Christie met his future wife Alexis, a medical doctor. The couple married in 2006,[18] and they have two children. The family resides in Minneapolis.[15]


  1. "Michael Christie". GRAMMY.com. May 12, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  2. Kyle MacMillan (June 30, 2008). "Christie's back at home helming Colorado Music fest". Denver Post. Retrieved July 4, 2008.
  3. Marc Shulgold (June 22, 2006). "Building a better fest". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved March 27, 2008.
  4. "Michael Christie to step down from Boulder's Colorado Music Festival". Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  5. Mitchell Byars (October 12, 2011). "Colorado Music Festival director Michael Christie gets five-year contract extension". Daily Camera. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  6. "Colorado Music Festival season includes change, Christie guest appearance". Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  7. Daniel J. Wakin (August 12, 2005). "Brooklyn Philharmonic Names a New Music Director". The New York Times. Retrieved March 27, 2008.
  8. Daniel J. Wakin (February 27, 2006). "A New Director Open to Adventure and a Challenge". The New York Times. Retrieved March 27, 2008.
  9. Daniel J. Wakin (January 19, 2011). "Brooklyn Philharmonic Hires Artistic Director and Aims for 'New Era'". New York Times ArtsBeat. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  10. "Phoenix Symphony conductor Michael Christie moving on". azcentral.com. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  11. "Minnesota Opera appoints Michael Christie as Music Director" (PDF) (Press release). Minnesota Opera. January 19, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  12. "Minnesota Opera announces its 2014–2015 season" (PDF) (Press release). Minnesota Opera. February 20, 2014.
  13. "New Works Initiative | Minnesota Opera". www.mnopera.org. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  14. "'Silent Night' by Kevin Puts wins Pulitzer for music". LA Times Blogs - Culture Monster. April 16, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  15. Terry Blain (March 16, 2018). "Conductor Michael Christie exiting Minnesota Opera: 'I will miss the players deeply'". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  16. "Creating Tradition – 'The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs' Conductor Michael Christie on the Responsibilities of Leading World Premieres". July 21, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  17. "New music director named for New West Symphony Orchestra". Ventura County Star. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  18. Angela Gonzales, "Work becomes music to his ears". Phoenix Business Journal, June 30, 2006
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Muhai Tang
Chief Conductor, The Queensland Orchestra
Succeeded by
Johannes Fritzsch
Preceded by
Hermann Michael
Music Director, Phoenix Symphony
Succeeded by
Tito Muñoz
Preceded by
Robert Spano
Music Director, Brooklyn Philharmonic
Succeeded by
Alan Pierson (artistic director)
Preceded by
Giora Bernstein
Music Director, Colorado Music Festival
Succeeded by
Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Preceded by
George Manahan (principal conductor)
Music Director, Minnesota Opera
Succeeded by
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