“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

We see Lady Macbeth in a dozen crooning silhouettes washing blood out of rags in a bathroom; Stravinsky pouring out of an abandoned warehouse; a violinist cutting himself out of duct tape with a razor as his violin sits gathering feedback; and a lost John Adams suite at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Conductor and composer Christopher Rountree is standing at the intersection of classical music, new music, performance art and pop.

 

Rountree, 32, is the founder, conductor and creative director of the pathbreaking L.A. chamber orchestra wild Up. The group has been called “Searing. Penetrating. And Thrilling” by NPR’s Performance Today and named “Best Classical Music of 2015” by the New York Times. 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.

 

Whether he’s conducting, composing or curating a program, Rountree’s approach – with its “infectious enthusiasm” (L.A. Times) and “elegant clarity” (New York Times) – is united by extremely high energy and a deeply engaged relationship between a score, musicians and audience.

 

“For most people, programming and conducting are about restraint, intellect. I want to get rid of restraint: I want to tear the thing’s guts out. I want to go all the way there,” Rountree says. “I want to empower musicians. I want to energize an audience. It’s not that I’m a ‘conduit for the score’ – everyone in the hall is a part of a circuit that connects the conductor, the musicians, the score and the listeners. A concert shouldn’t leave people when people leave the concert hall.”

 

If there is a dam separating establishment classical music from more adventurous forms, Rountree finds himself spilling over both sides – conducting Opera Omaha here, and writing experimental metal  for the group gnarwhallaby there.

 

This year, Rountree makes his Chicago Symphony, LA Opera and Atlanta Opera debuts, returns to the Music Academy of the West and twice to the San Francisco Symphony’s SoundBox series, conducts the Interlochen World Youth Orchestra on the New York Philharmonic’s 2016 Biennial, joins Jennifer Koh and Shai Wosner with wild Up at the Laguna Beach Music Festival, and conducts Diavolo’s new show “L’Espace du Temps: Glass, Adams, and Salonen.” As a composer, his recent premieres and commissions include a new piece for The Crossing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a re-orchestration of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Foreign Bodies, a choral work for Bjork’s choir Graduale Nobili in Reykjavik, Iceland, and two new pieces for Jennifer Koh: a short theater piece on the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial, and a large scale concerto co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Jenny and wild Up.

 

Last year, Rountree founded an education intensive with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, continued an education partnership at the Colburn School, and taught “Creativity and Consciousness” at Bard College’s Longy School. He joined the production company Chromatic, conducted Opera Omaha performing John Adams’ “A Flowering Tree,” debuted on the San Francisco Symphony’s SoundBox series, and started a three-year stint as guest conductor of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

 

With his eclectic style and resume, he’s been tapped to curate and create events for contemporary art institutions including the Getty Museum, MCA Denver, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and UCLA’s Hammer Museum, where a long-running wild Up residency brought the group to national prominence.

 

Through it all, Rountree is guided by his vision of a more engaging classical music culture that blows up the old boxes.

“I don’t have enough tattoos to be the badboy provocateur of classical music,” Rountree jokes. “But is the goal to dismantle the artform and build something new – something bursting with life, contemporary relevance, 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

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: bostone 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 

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

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

Past Projects

 

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