American conductor Christian Knapp began his conducting career in 2000 at the Broomhill Experimental Opera Theatre in London, and actively supported the opening of the theatre’s branch in South Africa. Over the years he has collaborated with the English National Opera, the Seattle Opera, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Symphony Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Liverpool, the National Symphony Orchestra of Lithuania, and the Symphony Orchestras of Seattle, Baltimore, Houston, and Indianapolis, among other ensembles.
Knapp has a passion for contemporary music. His repertoire includes works by Pierre Boulez, John Adams, George Crumb, Kaija Saariaho, György Ligeti, Pascal Dusapin, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and other 20th and 21st century composers. In 2005 Knapp conducted the first performance of American composer Paul Dresher’s opera The Tyrant. He works with youth ensembles, among them New York’s International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). In 2006 with that ensemble, he conducted the American premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s composition The Zone at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. In February 2011 he made his debut at the Mariinsky Theatre with Richard Strauss’ opera Elektra. At the Mariinsky he now conducts I vespri siciliani, Simon Boccanegra, Don Carlo, Aida, Samson et Dalila, Les Troyens, Carmen, Salome, Le Rossignol, Faust, Hänsel und Gretel, La forza del destino, and many others.
Knapp studied at the New England Conservatory as a pianist and at the faculty of philosophy of Tufts University, attaining a BA in both subjects. He studied conducting at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Siena, Italy) under Yuri Temirkanov and Myung-Whun Chung and subsequently at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire under Ilya Musin, the patriarch of the St. Petersburg school of conducting, and Leonid Korchmar.
This is his third consecutive appearance at PMF.