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Christopher Rountree is the 30-year-old artistic director, conductor and founder of the adventurous chamber group wild Up, a 24-piece orchestra that blends new music, classical repertoire, performance art and pop. Known for his lively conducting style, Rountree has been praised by the Los Angeles Times for his “infectious enthusiasm” and the New York Times for his “elegant clarity." Rountree's work has been featured on both coasts, in Time Out New York and the L.A. Times as “Best in Classical Music."
Wild Up rose to national attention with a long-running 2012 residency at the Hammer Museum in West L.A., where the group staged dozens of events ranging from full orchestra concerts in the courtyard to sonic experiments in the bathrooms. NPR’s Performance Today called the group's recent recording of Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony “Searing. Penetrating. And Thrilling.”
In the 2013-14 season, Rountree debuted on the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Green Umbrella series, and with the San Diego Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Ensemble LPR. He also conducted the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra's performance of The Rite of Spring on the work's centenary.
Chris has been Assistant Conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Guest Conductor at Monday Evening Concerts, and is lecturer in conducting at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has conducted at the Prototype Festival with Beth Morrison Projects, and has served as Conductor in Residence at the Hammer Museum and with the American Composers Orchestra at UCLA. He has been Artistic Advisor for New Music for the American Youth Symphony and Music Director of the Michigan Pops Orchestra. He has conducted many more orchestras in the United States, Europe and Canada including the Winnipeg Symphony, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, American Youth Symphony, Michigan Pops Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra and the Rose City Chamber Orchestra in Portland, OR.
Starting in Fall 2013, Rountree began a series of collaborative concerts featuring wild Up and the Colburn Conservatory of Music, where he serves as both Guest Conductor and Guest Lecturer in Music Business.
Rountree received his Master's degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Michigan in 2009. He has been a student of Larry Rachleff, Marin Alsop, Gustav Meier, Kurt Masur, Catherine Comet, Joana Carneiro, and Kenneth Kiesler.
Rountree is a seventh-generation Californian descended from sheriffs of Santa Cruz County. He fell in love with music as the bassist in a garage band, trombone player in a brass band and watching the Berlin Philharmonic play Brahms and Bartok. Besides being a musician, Rountree is a yogi, unpaid psychoanalyst, cutter of vegetables, storyteller, writer and burrito enthusiast.