The Phoenix Symphony Board of Directors and Association announced that Virginia G. Piper music director Michael Christie has been named music director of the Minnesota Opera. Widely credited for transforming The Phoenix Symphony into a world class orchestra, Christie will step down from his current role when his contract expires at the end of the 2012/13 season (June, 2013).

Christie was named music director of The Phoenix Symphony beginning with the 2005/2006 season and immediately embarked on projects and initiatives to broaden the symphony's orchestral programming. Particularly dear to him is the Baroque Initiative that transformed the symphony's approach to some of the most beloved music of all time. Christie led the orchestra in the Target World Music Festival and various mini festivals featuring Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. More than a dozen international composers such as John Adams, Jennifer Higdon, and Osvaldo Golijov have heard their music played in Symphony Hall as a result of his Composer Spotlight Series.

The search for a new music director is already under way with a committee that includes musicians, members of the board of directors and staff.

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