American conductor Christian Knapp studied at the New England Conservatory (Boston) as a pianist and at the faculty of philosophy of Tufts University (Somerville and Medford), 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.
He 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 Knapp has collaborated with 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.
Christian 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. The conductor works with youth ensembles, among them New York’s International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). In 2006 with that ensemble Knapp conducted the American premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s composition The Zone at the Mostly Mozart festival in New York.
In February 2011 Christian Knapp made his debut at the Mariinsky Theatre with Richard Strauss’ opera Elektra.
At the Mariinsky he conducts I vespri siciliani, Simon Boccanegra, Don Carlo, Aida, Attila, Samson et Dalila, Les Troyens, Carmen, Salome, Le Rossignol, The Idiot, Faust, Hänsel und Gretel, Benvenuto Cellini, Adriana Lecouvreur, Der Schauspieldirektor, La forza del destino, Il re pastore (concert performance) and many others. In November 2018 he conducted the complete Wagner’s Ring tetralogy. Numerous symphony concerts are also given under his direction including complete Beethoven symphonies cycle.