Christian Knapp

Guest Conductor
Christian Knapp

 Mr. Knapp is currently in his ninth season as conductor of the renown Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg Russia. Following his triumphant debut conducting Strauss' Elektra, Mr. Knapp was appointed conductor at the special invitation of the Mariinsky’s Artistic Director Valery Gergiev, with whom he shares a close artistic relationship. Since his appointment he has risen to become one of the most prominent and significant conductors at the Mariinsky.

Mr. Knapp has worked with prestigious orchestras around the world including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, L'Orchestre National de France, Houston Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, New World Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Phoenix Symphony and the Pacific Symphony among many others.


Mr. Knapp regularly conducts the Mariinsky Orchestra in a wide range of symphonic programs. He led series exploring the major symphonies of Mozart and the complete symphonies Beethoven. He has conducted highly acclaimed performances of Brahms, Strauss, Berlioz, Sibelius, Mahler and Debussy in his first few seasons.

With an equally comprehensive operatic repertoire, Mr. Knapp conducts some of the Mariinsky's most demanding productions. He led musical preparation and conducted premiers of such French masterpieces as Pelléas und Mélisande, and Les Troyens (which subsequently went on to the 2014 Edinburgh Festival). He conducts all the major operas of Wagner and Richard Strauss. His repertoire stretches from such 20th century masterpieces like The Makropolus Case and Le Rossignol, to major operas of Verdi and Puccini, to all of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas. During the 2012 White Night's Festival at the request of Maestro Gergiev, Mr. Knapp stepped in with just a few hours' notice to conduct Les Contes d'Hoffmann to much acclaim; subsequently performing it with the Mariinsky on tour at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow for the Golden Masks Festival. As the main conductor for opera he has been responsible for the majority of all of the Mariinsky's major operatic premieres for the last several seasons.

A passionate proponent of new music, Knapp has led such groups as the Perspectives New Music Ensemble in London, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and the Seattle Chamber Players.  He has conducted works by John Adams, Julian Anderson, Kaija Saariaho, Pascal Dusapin, Gerard Grisey, George Crumb and Thomas Adès, among others. In 2005, Knapp conducted the world premiere of Paul Dresher's opera The Tyrant with the Seattle Chamber Players. He has appeared with ICE in New York, conducting the U.S. premiere of Zona by Magnus Lindberg as part of Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival in 2006 and a program of the music of Philippe Hurel at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. In collaboration with ICE, Knapp returned to the Miller Theatre in the 2012-2013 Season to lead performances of the music of Sofia Gubaidulina and in the 2014-15 Season to conduct the music of Bernard Rands.

Mr. Knapp was a prize-winner in the Third International Prokofiev Conducting Competition in 1999 and that same year he was also awarded the prestigious Fellowship in Conducting from the Royal College of Music in London, working with its orchestras, new music ensembles and opera theater. In 2003, he was selected to participate in the National Conducting Institute with the National Symphony; and in 2005 Mr. Knapp and the Seattle Symphony were awarded a grant from the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation.

Born in the United States, Mr. Knapp received bachelor's degrees in piano performance from the New England Conservatory and philosophy from Tufts University. He studied conducting at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena under Yuri Temirkanov and Myung-Whun Chung, and receiving a post-graduate diploma in conducting from the St. Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia, where he studied with Leonid Korchmar and the renowned pedagogue Ilya Musin.


Lokshin's Songs of Margaret, Schnittke's Historia von D. Johann Fausten (cantata) – conductor
Prokofiev's Symphonies No. 1, 2, 3, Piano Concertos No. 1, 2, 3 – conductor



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