“Christopher Rountree conducted with elegant clarity.”

Corinna da Fonesca-Wollheim

New York Times

“Christopher Rountree, wild Up’s Artistic Director conducted with infectious enthusiasm… It was magnificent.”

Mark Swed

Los Angeles Times

“Searing. Penetrating. Thrilling.”

Fred Child

Performance Today

“All the performances, led by Rountree, were exceptional, the ensemble turning on an astonishing stylistic dime. This group really has come a long way — technically, intellectually, emotionally and technologically.  . . . on Saturday night, the future of classical music – of all music – seemed in the right new hands.”

Mark Swed

Los Angeles Times

“If traditional virtuosity contains an element of surprise, Christopher Rountree’s “because I left it there” delivered it with a deceptively simple, folk-like score that Ms. Koh played while reciting a quirky, wistful monologue about an offering of frozen yogurt left to melt unappreciated on a front porch.”

Corrina da Fonesca-Wollheim

New York Times

We see Lady Macbeth in a dozen crooning silhouettes washing blood out of rags over bright porcelain sinks; hear Stravinsky pouring out of an abandoned warehouse; see dozens of watermelons fly off of Disney Hall; hear a black and white overture imploring against hatred; parse a chorus singing Haydn’s “Creation” backwards; watch a violinist cutting himself out of duct tape with a razor as his amplified violin sits gathering feedback; celebrate with rituals joyous for the end of the world; witness a long lost John Adams suite come alive; and hear the sound of rose-petal jam making as music. Conductor and composer Christopher Rountree, is standing at the intersection of classical music, new music, performance art and pop.

Whether presenting his beloved chamber group Wild Up in a museum bathroom, directing a series of interdisciplinary ambient concerts called SILENCE in an oak grove, or leading renowned ensembles through new music freshest works at the world’s greatest concert halls, Rountree has distinguished himself as one of classical music’s most forward-thinking innovators in creativity and community building. 

“I think of scenarios that will awaken people’s hearts or change people’s minds about something, then set them up, and see what happens,” Rountree, 36, says of his approach. “If I can imagine how a program will live in a space and that thought makes me smile, then I’m ready to start.”

Rountree, is the founder, conductor and creative director of the pathbreaking L.A. chamber orchestra Wild Up. The group’s eccentric mix of new music, pop and performance art quickly jumped from raucous DIY bar shows to being lauded as the vanguard for classical music by critics for The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, public radio’s Performance Today, and The New York Times, where Zachary Woolfe called the group “…a raucous, grungy, irresistibly exuberant…fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family.” Wild Up started in 2010 with no funding and no musicians, driven only by Rountree’s vision of a world-class orchestra that creates visceral, provocative experiences that are unmoored from classical traditions. 

In 2019 he curated and conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s FLUXUS Festival, the experimental music component of the Phil’s 100th season in collaboration with the Getty Research Institute. The 16-concert FLUXUS Festival united icons of contemporary art with classical music for the first time, placing Yoko Ono next to Ryoji Ikeda and Luciano Berio; La Monte Young next to Steven Takasugi next to John Cage. Ragnar Kjartansson’s “Bliss,” an ecstatic 12-hour rendering of Mozart, stood next to Alison Knowles’ “Make a Salad,” performed by 1,700 people. David Lang’s “crowd out” took over downtown L.A., as orchestra musicians launched the watermelons of Ken Friedman’s “Sonata for Melons and Gravity” off the top of Walt Disney Concert Hall.

“I envision the audience first: their experience watching and listening to whatever it is that the band is doing up there on stage, and I think of the audience’s conversations when they leave the hall, What will they be interested in? What will they remember?” Rountree says. “Then I see the space the way I want it to be: the light, the air, the taste of the room. Then the band: I see all the challenges, fights and elation we’re going to have in rehearsal and I imagine the way that we’ll all feel when the time is right and we make that choice to walk on stage to start the show.”

As he’s become regarded as one of the most exciting and iconoclastic conductors and programmers in the field, Rountree’s inimitable style has led to collaborations with: Björk, John Adams, Yoko Ono, David Lang, Scott Walker, La Monte Young, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mica Levi, Alison Knowles, Yuval Sharon, Sigourney Weaver, Tyshawn Sorey, Ragnar Kjartansson, Ashley Fure, Julia Holter, Claire Chase, Missy Mazzoli, Ryoji Ikeda, Du Yun, Thaddeus Strassberger, Ellen Reid, Ted Hearne, James Darrah, and many of the planet’s greatest orchestras and ensembles including: the National, San Francisco, Houston, Cincinnati, Colorado, San Diego and Chicago Symphonies, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble, Roomful of Teeth, Opera national de Paris, the Washington National, Los Angeles, Omaha, San Diego, and Atlanta Operas, and the Martha Graham Dance Company. He has presented compositions and concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Palais Garnier, Mile High Stadium, the Coliseum, the Echoplex, Kennedy Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art, ACE Hotel, National Sawdust, MCA Denver, The Hammer, The Getty, a basketball court in Santa Cruz, and at Lincoln Center on the New York Philharmonic’s Biennale.

 In the coming year Rountree begins recording a four volume set of the music of Julius Eastman. Tours the country with Wild Up, ending in an Eastman portrait at the National Gallery. Starts a multi-year project, resurrecting old work, with the Martha Graham Dance Company. Collaborates with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Four Larks. Plays with filmmaker Bill Morrison and composer Alex Somers at the ACE Hotel. Conducts part of a viola festival at New World Symphony. Starts an ambient series at Descanso Gardens with co-artistic director Anna Bulbrook. He’ll return to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Make debuts at Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston, and with the Sacramento Symphony. He’ll work on two operas about love and technology with librettists Royce Vavrek and Roxie Perkins. Do Jury Duty. Sing. Dance. Do yoga. And drink beer.

“I don’t have enough tattoos to be the badboy provocateur of classical music,” Rountree jokes. “But is the goal to dismantle the barriers to the artform, and to build something entirely new — something bursting with life, contemporary relevance, equity and deep mindfulness? That is exactly what we’re doing.”

The performances all evening were impressive both technically and for their unabashed spirit. Rountree punches out rhythms as if they were going out of style. He emphasizes outsize emotions. He could probably get an audience to dance to the slowest movement Shostakovich ever wrote.

Mark Swed

Los Angeles Times

 

 

Current Projects

2019 – 2020

 

SFCM lutoslawski others
san francisco, san francisco conservatory of music, april 2020
guest conductor

TRAGEDIE bizet / brook
milwaukee, florentine opera, march 2020
conductor

RIVER OAKS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA mazzoli, still, rebel, mozart, lau world premiere
houston, roco, february 2020
guest conductor

SACRAMENTO PHIL tchaikovsky, gershwin, copland, tian world premiere
sacramento, sacramento phil, february 2020
guest conductor

DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME bill morrison and alex somers
ace hotel, los angeles, cap and wild up and national children’s chorus, december 2019
artistic director / conductor

VIOLA VISISONS at NWS higdon, mtt
miami, new world symphony, october 2019
guest conductor 

LACO SESSION with WILD UP balter, adams, marino, fure, moore, wubbles
los angeles, laco + wild up, october 2019
guest conductor / curator

CERRONE | WILD UP | PIECES THAT FALL TO EARTH a new album on new amsterdam records
chris cerrone, lindsay kesselman, theo bleckmann, wild up, others
everywhere, the internet, new amsterdam records, july 2019
artistic director / conductor

SILENT LIGHT at BANFF a new opera by paola prestini, royce vavrek, thaddeus strassberger
banff, ab, banff centre for arts and creativity, july 2019
music director

HOUSTON SYMPHONY | RESILIENT VOICES 6 world premieres based on the stories of refugees
houston, houston symphony, june 2019
guest conductor

NOON TO MIDNIGHT  jessie marino, and world premieres by andrew greenwald, and juliana barwick
los angeles,  los angeles philharmonic and wild up, june 2019
artistic director / conductor / performer

BLISS on FLUXUS  west coast premiere of ragnar kjartansson’s 12 hour feat
los angeles,  los angeles philharmonic and wild up, may 2019
artistic director / conductor / performer

LA PHIL | FLUXUS a year long festival during the orchestra’s centennial season
los angeles, los angeles philharmonic and getty research institute, sept 2018 to june 2019
curator / director

 

 

Past Projects

2017 – 2018

MOSTLY MODERN FESTIVAL bartok, patterson
omaha, opera omaha / international contemporary ensemble, april 2018
conductor

ONE FESTIVAL | PROVING UP missy mazzoli, royce vavrek, james darrah
omaha, opera omaha / international contemporary ensemble, april 2018
conductor

LOUISVILLE ORCHESTRA | MAKING MUSIC  stravinsky, tchaikovsky, saint-saens, williams
louisville: louisville orchestra, marc 2018
conductor

WILD UP TOUR: SHENANDOAH  future folk
winchester, va: wild up, february 2018
artistic director / conductor

WILD UP TOUR: UMD  we the people
college park, md: wild up, february 2018
artistic director / conductor

WILD UP TOUR: PURDUE  future folk
indiana: wild up, february 2018
artistic director / conductor

WILD UP TOUR: BIG SKY  future folk
big sky montana: wild up, february 2018
artistic director / conductor

WILD UP TOUR: DENVER  future folk
denver: wild up, february 2018
artistic director / conductor

MISSY MAZZOLI: PROVING UP world premiere of missy mazzoli and royce vavrek’s new opera
washington d.c.: washington national opera, january 2018
conductor

SFCM | DE STAAT  louis andriessen, pauline oliveros, tina tallon, andrew tholl
san francisco: san francisco conservatory of music, december 2017
conductor

KENNEDY CENTER JUKEBOX  marcos balter, jacob cooper, anna clyne, timo andres
washington d.c.: musicians from the national symphony, december 2017
conductor

NOON TO MIDNIGHT gerard pesson, alex temple, andrew tholl, du yun pauline oliveros and world premieres from andrew tholl and scott walker
los angeles: wild up, november 2017
conductor

WAR OF THE WORLDS  world premiere: anne gosfield, yuval sharon, sigourney weaver
los angeles: los angeles philharmonic and the industry, november 2017
reviews: la times / new yorker / new york times preview: la times
conductor

MATT COOK | WORK  premiere of my new piece: “void 1 for Matt Cook”
los angeles: wild up, october 2017
composer

LA PHIL / WILD UP: NATIONAL COMPOSERS INTENSIVE new pieces by: aldo lombera, nate may, tonia ko, david byrd, nate may, erika vega, juan vergara
los angeles: wild up, october 2017
composer

CABRILLO FESTIVAL a new world premiere of my piece “Overture to LA HAINE
santa cruz: cabrillo festival orchestra, august 2017
composer

WILD UP and BJÖRK at FYF björk
los angeles: wild up, july 2017
artistic director

NATIONAL SAWDUST RESIDENCY: FUTURE FOLK rzewski, moondog, eastman, monk, jarvinen
brooklyn: wild up, june 2017
artistic director / conductor

NATIONAL SAWDUST RESIDENCY: JULIA HOLTER / TRAGEDY julia holter, zoe aja moore, yelena zhelenov
brooklyn: wild up, june 2017
artistic director / conductor

MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY chavez, barber, joplin
los angeles: vpac, april 2017
artistic director / conductor

2016 – 2017

OPERA OMAHA | FLIGHT jonathan dove, james darrah
omaha: opera omaha, april 2017
music director

SAN DIEGO OPERA   peter brook / bizet
san diego: san diego opera, march 2017
conductor 

LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC  symphonies for students | john adams at 70
los angeles: los angeles philharmonic, feb 2017
guest conductor 

SECOND TAKE | BONNIE AND CLYDE  andrew mcintosh and melinda rice
los angeles: wild up and the industry, feb 2017
conductor 

ADAMS, PUNK ROCK, AND PLAYER PIANO MUSIC   john adams, charles ives, the misfits, the x-ray spex
los angeles: wild up, feb 2017
artistic director / conductor 

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY / SOUNDBOX  adams at 70: john adams, jacob cooper, ashley fure, andrew norman
san francisco: san francisco symphony, feb 2017
guest conductor 

PROTOTYPE FESTIVAL | ANATOMY THEATER  david lang, beth morrison projects
brooklyn: ICE,  jan 2017
conductor

Q2 | TOP NEW MUSIC MOMENTS 2016  a list
the internet
conductor / composer

WILD UP | GROUP IN RESIDENCE AT NATIONAL SAWDUST
williamsburg: national sawdust, nov 2016 to june 2017
artistic director

LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA | MEET THE MUSIC  purcell, tchaikovsky, tholl, tenney, hearne
los angeles: laco + wild up, oct 2016
guest conductor 

KITCHENER-WATERLOO SYMPHONY | BAROQUE AND BEYOND  farina, ravel, haydn
kitchener and waterloo: kitchener-waterloo symphony, oct 2016
guest conductor 

LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC | NOON TO MIDNIGHT  world premiere of my violin concerto for jennifer koh
los angeles: jennifer koh + wild up, oct 2016
conductor / composer

LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC | NATIONAL COMPOSERS INTENSIVE
los angeles: la phil + wild up, oct 2016
co-director with andrew norman

WEST | WILD UP
los angeles: wild up, aug 2016
conductor

CARLSBAD MUSIC FESTIVAL | FUTURE FOLK
carlsbad: wild up, aug 2016
conductor

INTERLOCHEN WORLD SYMPHONY YOUTH ORCHESTRA stravinsky, muhly, debussy
interlochen: wyso, july 2016
guest conductor 

Q2 | DAY IN THE LIFE  Q2 gave me their feed for a day. possible mistake?
the internet: Q2 radio at wqxr, june 2016
person

LA OPERA | ANATOMY THEATER  david lang, beth morrison projects
los angeles: la opera + wild up, june 2016
conductor

WILD UP | WORK: POWELL AND POPE  linnea powell and adrianne pope with a new piece of mine
pasadena: boston court, june 2016
composer

INTERLOCHEN ACADEMY ORCHESTRA at the NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC BIENNIAL
young americans: lash, muhly, higdon, fure
new york: interlochen academy orchestra, june 2016
guest conductor 

2015 – 2016

JENNIFER KOH on the NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC BIENNIAL
shared madness: 30 world premieres including one of mine
brooklyn: jenny koh at national sawdust, may 2016
composer

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY / SOUNDBOX  obsession and creation: hearne, stookey, stradella, purcell, rzewski, zappa
san francisco: san francisco symphony, april 2016
guest conductor / curator

LAGUNA BEACH MUSIC FESTIVAL with JENNIFER KOH and SHAI WOSNER
koh, wosner, harrison, norman, rountree
laguna beach: laguna beach music festival and wild Up, nov 2015
conductor

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY / SOUNDBOX  hidden worlds: akiho, saint-saëns, crumb, lang
san francisco: san francisco symphony, jan 2016
guest conductor 

CHICAGO SYMPHONY | MUSIC NOW  adams, ogonek, hearne, wohl, saariaho
chicago: the chicago symphony, nov 2015
guest conductor

ATLANTA OPERA | SOLIDER SONGS  david t. little, tomer zvulun, matthew worth
atlanta: atlanta opera, nov 2015
guest conductor

LACO EDUCATION ENSEMBLE IN RESIDENCE | MEET THE MUSIC
los angeles: los angeles chamber orchestra / wild Up, oct 2015
artistic director / conductor

COLBURN CONTEMPORARY PLAYERS | WILD UP
los angeles: colburn + wild Up, oct 2015
conductor / artistic director

DIAVOLO | ARCHITECTURE IN MOTION adams, glass, salonen
los angeles: diavolo and new west symphony, sept 2015
conductor 

AMERICAN COMPOSERS ORCHESTRA | JCOI  davis, bermel, cheung, mitchel
los angeles: wild Up, aug 2015
conductor / artistic director

MUSIC ACADEMY OF THE WEST | NATURE  with chris kallmyer
santa barbara: music academy of the west festival orchestra, july 2015
guest conductor

LSD | PARTCH  anne lebaron
los angeles: PARTCH, june 2015
conductor

2014 – 2015

LA PHIL NEXT ON GRAND COMPOSITION INTENSIVE.  ten young composers, a bunch of master teachers
los angeles: wild up and the la phil, may 2015
conductor / teacher

SPACE BETWEEN US ALL.  ives, bernstein
la jolla: the la jolla symphony, may 2015
guest conductor

FILIGREE.  kallmyer, mcintosh, ferneyhough, pesson, lewis, whitney houston
ucla: wild up, april 2015
conductor / artistic director

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY / SOUNDBOX.  their own devices: hearne, ianotta, adams, wohl, perich
san francisco: san francisco symphony, april 2015
guest conductor 

PACIFIC SYMPHONY + WILD UP.  dessner, dowland, norman, shostakovich
santa ana: pacific symphony and wild up, feb 2015
guest conductor / artistic director

FIRST TAKE.  yuval sharon, mark lowenstein
beverly hills: the industry, feb 2015
conductor

A FLOWERING TREE. john adams, james darrah – director
omaha: opera omaha / omaha symphony, feb 2015
music director / conductor

LA PHIL GREEN UMBRELLA / THEATRE OF THE OUTRAGEOUS.  john adams, james darrah – director
los angeles: los angeles philharmonic, jan 2015
cover conductor

IN THE MIDST OF THINGS. allora & calzadilla, the crossing
philadelphia: philadelphia museum of art, dec 2014 – april 15
composer

PULP.
john zorn, debussy, julia holter, satie, nick deyoe, esquivel, and sun ra
santa barbara arts & lectures: wild Up, nov 2014
artistic director / conductor

CURIOSITY.
messiaen, scelsi, john coltrane, nick deyoe, and rountree world premiere pasadena conservatory of music / CalTech:
wild Up, oct 2014
artistic director / conductor

OPEN. j.s. bach, chopin, satie, tenney, l.v. beethoven
hollywood: the ford theatre / ezralow dance / wild Up, sept 2014
artistic director / conductor

LACO EDUCATION ENSEMBLE IN RESIDENCE.
los angeles: los angeles chamber orchestra / wild Up, sept 2014  to sept 2017
artistic director / conductor

WITH BJORK’S CHOIR IN REYKJAVIK. with jodie landu, rountree world premiere
reykjavik, iceland: graduale nobili and jodie landau, aug 2014
guest conductor / composer

WORK | MAGGIE HASSPACHER. folk tunes, rountree world premiere
pasadena: boston court / wild Up, july 2014
artistic director / conductor

THE GETTY | FUZZY GRIDS II with Predock_Frane architects
bretwood: the getty center, july 2014
sound artist / composer

NATIVE STRATEGIES. conducting as movement as art
hollywood: LACE, july 17 2014
sound artist / conductor

MUSIC ACADEMY OF THE WEST | YOUNG PEOPLES CONCERT.  beethoven and prokofiev
santa barbara: music academy of the west, july 2014
guest conductor

CONCERT FOR HANS AND MARGUERITE. a concert for two elephants: gluck, haydn, rountree world premiere
los angeles: redcat / wild Up, june 2014
artistic director / conductor

LA DEPARTMENT OF WEATHER MODIFICATION.  with Chris Kallmyer
los angeles: grand park, 12pm june 13th 2014
guest lecturer – the storm as a classical device

ENSEMBLE LPR. britten, mozart, andres, hearne
new york: ensemble LPR, may 2014
guest conductor

2013 – 2014

GREEN UMBRELLA: MAXIMUM MINIMALISM. eastman, adams, mcintosh
los angeles: LA Philharmonic / ICE / wild Up, april 2014
guest conductor

ATE9 | MOUTH TO MOUTH. dance collaboration, jodie landau
santa ana: ate9 /wild Up, april 2014
artistic director / conductor

FIRST FRIDAYS | SAN FERMIN. a show under a brontosaurus, a show with san fermin
los angeles: los angeles natural history museum / kcrw / san fermin /  wild Up, feb 2014
artistic director / conductor

WILD UP AT THE SANTORA. we took over a building and played 40 small concerts
santa ana: wild Up, feb 2014
artistic director / conductor

DINNER IN FIVE PARTS | LITTLE SPARROW. five courses, playlists, pairings
santa ana: wild Up, feb 2014
artistic director / conductor

WORK | ELLEN REID a new odysseus, words – mandy kahn, music – ellen reid
los angeles: wild Up, feb 2014
artistic director / conductor

PROTOTYPE FESTIVAL | VISITATIONS.  rinde eckhardt, mark dechiazza, jonathan berger, beth morrison
brooklyn: jack quartet / ny polyphony / beth morrison projects, jan 2014
music director

WORK | MOHAMMED FAIROUZ.  a new pierrot lunaire
los angeles: wild Up, dec 2013
artistic director / conductor

OUTLIERS.  tywoniuk, valitutto, tholl, lutoslawski, zappa
los angeles: the colburn conservatory /wild Up, nov 2013
artistic director / conductor

LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA | MEET THE MUSIC. with project trio
los angeles: los angeles chamber orchestra, nov 2013
guest conductor

WORK | ANDREW MCINTOSH.  new pieces, old pieces
los angeles: wild Up, oct 2013
artistic director / conductor

SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY | YOUNG PEOPLES CONCERT. of time travel and re-appropriation
san diego: san diego symphony, oct 2013
guest conductor

CHURCH SESSIONS | JULIA HOLTER. a show in a courtyard
los angeles: wild Up, sept 2013
artistic director / conductor

COLORADO SYMPHONY| BIENNIAL OF THE AMERICAS. a concert about animals
denver: colorado symphony / mca denver, july 2013
guest conductor

VISITATIONS.  rinde eckhardt, mark dechiazza, jonathan berger, beth morrison
brooklyn: st. lawrence quartet / ny polyphony / beth morrison projects, april 2013
music director

FIRST TAKE | WEST COAST OPERA WORKSHOP. with director yuval sharon
los angeles: the industry / wild Up, may 2013
co-founder / artistic director / conductor

LE SACRE | SAN FRANCISCO CONSERVATORY.
stravinsky, wolf, dukas – le sacre on its centenary
los angeles: san francisco conservatory orchestra, april 2013
guest conductor

BRIDGE TO PALM | LA PHILHARMONIC’S BROOKLYN FESTIVAL.
longstreth, du yun, varese, j.s. bach, jacob cooper, andrew norman, matt marks, david t. little
los angeles: wild Up, april 2013
artistic director / conductor

ECHOPLEX | WILD UP, VICTOIRE, LUCKY DRAGONS.
los angeles: wild Up, january 2013
artistic director / conductor

MONDAY EVENING CONCERTS | ARCHIPELAGOS.
messiaen, ferneyhough, maceda, baes, xenakis
los angeles: monday evening concerts /wild Up, january 2013
artistic director / conductor

THE EDGE OF FOREVER.
an opera by lewis pesacov and elizabeth cline
los angeles: wild Up, december 2012
artistic director / conductor