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Recognized as one of today’s foremost young conductors, CHRISTIAN KNAPP is known for his dynamic stage presence and ability to inspire audiences and fellow musicians alike. He has performed in festivals and concerts throughout the world, conducting the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra, among many others. He has collaborated with such renowned artists as Mstislav Rostropovich, Itzhak Perlman, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Garrick Ohlsson, Vinson Cole, Cécile Licad, and Pepe Romero, to name just several. His critically acclaimed debut with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in 2006 resulted in an immediate re-engagement for five weeks over the following two seasons.
In the 2008/09 season, Knapp conducted the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra and subscription series concerts with the Portland and San Antonio Symphony Orchestras. Recent highlights include successful debuts with the Phoenix Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Mexico City Philharmonic, and at the Eastern Music Festival. He has also had re-engagements with the New World Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and Seattle Symphony, where he served as the Associate Conductor from 2004 to 2006, leading a number of high-profile concerts in its main series.
An equally accomplished operatic conductor, Knapp was Associate Conductor of Broomhill Opera in London from 2000 to 2003 and helped create its sister company in South Africa, whose innovative productions brought international recognition and led to several worldwide tours. He has conducted a number of operas including Turn of the Screw, The Rake’s Progress, Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, Der Silbersee, and Il trittico. Earlier in his career, he assisted Leonid Korchmar at the Kirov Opera and Michael Tilson Thomas at the New World Symphony, the Russian National Symphony Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra. He has also worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic alongside Esa-Pekka Salonen, among others.
A passionate proponent of new music, Knapp has led such groups as the Perspectives New Music Ensemble in London, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) based in Chicago, and the Seattle Chamber Players, conducting works by John Adams, Julian Anderson, Kaija Saariaho, Huang Ruo, Peter Bruun, Pascal Dusapin, Earl Brown, Anders Nilsson, and Gerard Grisey, among others. In 2005, Knapp conducted the world premier of Paul Dresher’s opera The Tyrant in collaboration with the Seattle Chamber Players and John Duykers. In the summer of 2006, Knapp conducted the U.S. premiere of Zona by Magnus Lindberg as part of Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival.
Born in the United States, Knapp received a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Tufts University. He studied conducting at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena under Yuri Temirkanov and Myung-Whun Chung; he then earned a post-graduate diploma in conducting from the St. Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia, where he studied with the renowned pedagogue, Ilya Musin.
The recipient of many honors for his artistic achievements, Knapp was a prizewinner in the Third International Prokofiev Conducting Competition in 1999. That same year he was also awarded the prestigious Woodhouse Junior Fellowship in Conducting from the Royal College of Music in London and subsequently spent the year in residency studying with John Carewe while working with the Royal College’s orchestras, new music ensembles, and opera theater. In 2003 he was selected to participate in the National Conducting Institute at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a project of the National Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin in collaboration with the American Symphony Orchestra League. In 2005 Knapp and the Seattle Symphony were awarded a grant from the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation.