In Sunday’s (5/5) Arizona Republic, Ed Masley writes, “He’s about to lead the Phoenix Symphony in his final concert as Virginia G. Piper music director. And maestro Michael Christie is feeling pretty good about what he’s been able to accomplish in the past eight years. ‘I think both the orchestra and the audience are more comfortable with the idea of the larger swath of music we’ve explored than perhaps they might have been when I first got here,’ Christie says. … Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Christie graduated from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance. After winning a special prize in 1995 for ‘Outstanding Potential’ at the First International Sibelius Conductors’ Competition in Helsinki, Finland, he was invited to become an apprentice conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Now 38 and having already begun his new position as music director of the Minnesota Opera, he’s in his 13th season as music director of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder and has also served as chief conductor of the Queensland Orchestra (2001-2004) and music director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic (2005-2010). … Concertmaster Steven Moeckel says [Christie’s approach] worked in part because, as a conductor, Christie always did his best to bring the audience along. ‘He really gained that trust from them,’ he says. … Symphony CEO Jim Ward credits Christie with having a ‘tremendous impact’ on the orchestra despite what he calls a ‘tumultuous’ economic backdrop for the arts across the nation.”

Posted May 9, 2013