Christie has signed a three-year contract starting next month; he will lead three of the four concerts in the Philharmonic's main series this season. He replaces Robert Spano, who stepped down after eight years in 2004. Spano, now the much-praised music director of the Atlanta Symphony, was Christie's teacher at Oberlin Conservatory.
The 31-year-old Christie has been music director of the Colorado Music Festival since 2000; he is also about to become music director of the Phoenix Symphony. He was artistic director of Australia's Queensland Orchestra from 2001 to 2004, and has held apprentice conducting positions at the Chicago Symphony, Opernhaus Zurich, and Helsinki Philharmonic.
BPO board chairman J. Barclay Collins II, who led the search for a new music director, said, "The Brooklyn Philharmonic, an organization at the cultural center of Brooklyn's renewed economic and community growth, has found in Michael Christie a new music director as exciting and engaging as the great borough of Brooklyn itself."
Founded in 1954, the Brooklyn Philharmonic has a longstanding emphasis on new and American music. Before Spano, the ensemble was led by Dennis Russell Davies and composer Lukas Foss.