Christopher Rountree


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“All the performances, led by Rountree, were exceptional, the ensemble turning on an astonishing stylistic dime...technically, intellectually, emotionally and technologically. . . . on Saturday night, the future of classical music – of all music – seemed in the right new hands.” — Mark Swed on Wild Up & Christopher Rountree in the Los Angeles Times

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 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.

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.

“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.”