Michael Christie (conductor)

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Michael Christie (born June 30, 1974 in Buffalo, New York) is an American conductor. He 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.

Christie 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.[1] 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 became the music director of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder in 2000.[2] In October 2011, CMF announced that it had extended Christie's contract for five more years.[3] However, in November 2012, Christie stepped down as Colorado Music Festival's music director, effective after the 2013 season, earlier than his planned contract extension.[4]

From 2001 to December 2004, Christie was chief conductor of the Queensland Orchestra. In December 2004, Christie was appointed music director of the Phoenix Symphony, with an initial contract of 5 years from 2005 to 2010. In February 2008, the orchestra announced the extension of his contract to 2015.[5] However, in January 2012, the orchestra announced a revised conclusion of Christie's tenure with the Phoenix Symphony, after the 2012–2013 season.[6] As a token of gratitude for his eight years of work as maestro of the symphony, the board of directors of the Phoenix Symphony named him music director laureate in 2013.[7] With the Phoenix Symphony, Christie has recorded music of Mark Grey for the Naxos label.

In August 2005, Christie was named the 5th music director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic,[8] with an initial contract of 3 years. His first Brooklyn Philharmonic concert as music director was in February 2006.[9] In September 2007, the Brooklyn Philharmonic announced the extension of Christie's contract with the orchestra through the 2009–2010 season, with an evergreen clause to allow for yearly renewal.[10] His Brooklyn Philharmonic tenure concluded in June 2010.[11]

In January 2012, the Minnesota Opera announced the appointment of Christie as its music director, as of the 2012–2013 season.[12] In February 2014, Michael Christie's contract with the Minnesota Opera was extended to the 2017–2018 season.[13]

Whilst in Australia, Christie met his future wife Alexis, a medical doctor. The couple married in 2006,[14] and they have two children.


  1. ^ Kyle MacMillan (June 30, 2008). "Christie's back at home helming Colorado Music fest". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  2. ^ Marc Shulgold (June 22, 2006). "Building a better fest". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  3. ^ Mitchell Byars (October 12, 2011). "Colorado Music Festival director Michael Christie gets five-year contract extension". Daily Camera. Retrieved 2011-11-10. 
  4. ^ Clay Evans (November 2, 2012). "Michael Christie to step down from Boulder's Colorado Music Festival". Daily Camera. 
  5. ^ "Michael Christie's Contract Extended to 2015", Phoenix Symphony (press release), February 28, 2008.
  6. ^ Richard Nilsen (2012-01-19). "Phoenix Symphony conductor Michael Christie moving on". Tucson Citizen / Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  7. ^ "Outgoing Christie named laureate of Phoenix Symphony", East Valley Tribune, February 21, 2013.
  8. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (August 12, 2005). "Brooklyn Philharmonic Names a New Music Director". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  9. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (February 27, 2006). "A New Director Open to Adventure and a Challenge". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  10. ^ "Music Director Michael Christie Announces New Initiatives as Part of His Contract Extension" (PDF) (Press release). Brooklyn Philharmonic. September 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  11. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (January 19, 2011). "Brooklyn Philharmonic Hires Artistic Director and Aims for 'New Era'". New York Times ArtsBeat. Retrieved 2011-11-10. 
  12. ^ "Minnesota Opera appoints Michael Christie as Music Director" (PDF) (Press release). Minnesota Opera. January 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  13. ^ "Minnesota Opera announces its 2014–2015 season" (PDF) (Press release). Minnesota Opera. February 20, 2014. 
  14. ^ Angela Gonzales, "Work becomes music to his ears". Phoenix Business Journal, June 30, 2006

External links[edit]

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