New Music Director Of Symphony In Ventura County Has Big Addition To Resume; Four Grammy Nominations

Feb 7, 2019

This is a big weekend for the new Music Director of the Thousand Oaks-based New West Symphony. Michael Christie conducted the world premiere of the acclaimed opera “The Revolution of Steve Jobs,” which looked at the life of the technology. This weekend, the opera is up for four Grammy Awards.

Christie says as you might imagine, being nominated for four Grammys including “Best Opera Recording” is very exciting.

Christie has been a conductor for more than two decades, including stints as Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony, and Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Chief Conductor of the Queensland Orchestra in Australia.

He’s also been heavily involved in opera. With Minnesota Opera, he’s led 24 productions over eight years. Christie loves that he’s able to mix conducting music for operas and conducting music for orchestras.

So, his latest project is as Music Director of the New West Symphony, which performs in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, and sometimes the San Fernando Valley. He sees it as an opportunity to bring audiences a mix of favorites and new music in unique ways.

Christie says one of the things he wants to try is creating programming for the intermissions at concerts. One of the big issues facing symphonies is audiences often demanding to hear favorites, or classics, making it harder to expose people to new works.

Christie wants to try a novel approach, by taking advantage of intermission. People can go out into the lobby as usual; alternatively, they can stay in the theater for a brief talk with the featured artist from the concert, take a shortened intermission break, and come back in for a short new music performance.

Christie thinks this unique new approach will give audiences an exciting new option. People not interested in the mini-talk or new music can still go out into the lobby and have a traditional intermission.

Christie will conduct the New West Symphony April 6th in Thousand Oaks and April 7th in Oxnard, with a program called “Indescribable Beauty.”

But just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Symphony has a program of two concerts this weekend. They are called “The Romantics” because of the music being featured. There’s a 7:30 Saturday night concert at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, and a 3 p.m. concert Sunday at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center.