Conductor Christian Reif Announces 23/24 Season Featuring Gävle Symphony, El Niño with AMOC, and More

Conductor Christian Reif announces 2023-2024 season with Gävle Symphony Orchestra in Sweden and guest conducting engagements across Europe and North America.

By: Sep. 29, 2023
Conductor Christian Reif Announces 23/24 Season Featuring Gävle Symphony, El Niño with AMOC, and More

Praised for his "considerable stature" (San Francisco Chronicle) and described as "a rare pleasure to watch" (Merker), German conductor Christian Reif has established a reputation for his natural musicality, innovative programming and technical command. This 2023/2024 season, Reif kicks off his inaugural season as Chief Conductor of the Gävle Symphony Orchestra in Sweden, a title that he will hold through 2025/2026.

Highlights of Reif's 2023/24 season also include subscription appearances with the St. Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra and Swedish Radio Symphony, plus summer festival appearances at the Grand Teton Music Festival and at Interlochen. Reif conducts his own arrangement of John Adams' El Niño with the Cincinnati Symphony, and with the American Modern Opera Company on tour to Stanford University, Yale University, Harriman-Jewell in Kansas City, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. Since 2022, Reif has served as Music Director of the Lakes Area Music Festival in Minnesota, a month-long summer festival committed to commissioning new works and giving free concerts for the community, with programming that ranges from opera and chamber music to symphonic performances.

Reif leads the Gävle Symphony Orchestra's season-opening concert on Friday, September 15, 2023, in a program featuring Borodin's Symphony No. 2, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Lucas Debargue, and the world premiere of Lil Lacy's Aurōra. His season continues with the orchestra in six more programs, including performances on Thursday, November 9, 2023 and Friday, November 10, 2023 along with violinist Alena Baeva in a program of Žebeljan's The horses of Saint Mark, Britten's Violin Concerto No. 1, and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9.

On Thursday, March 28, 2024, he returns to lead the orchestra with cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who makes his Gävle debut, with premieres of Finding Rothko - American composer Adam Schoenberg's piece inspired by the colors in select Mark Rothko paintings - and Mieczysław Weinberg's beautifully atmospheric Cello Concerto, before closing out with Haydn's "London Symphony". On Friday, April 12, 2024, he leads the orchestra in a concerto with pianist Sunwook Kim, who also makes his Gävle debut on a program featuring Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 and Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto. Reif closes the Gävle Symphony Orchestra's season by leading two symphonies by Jean Sibelius with violinist Johan Dalene on Friday, May 17, 2024.

Among the other highlights of his season, Reif makes subscription appearances in the season-opening performances of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at Music Hall on Saturday, September 30, 2024 and Sunday, October 1, 2024. While this was intended to be his orchestra debut, it will now mark the fourth CSO performance for Reif - who stepped in last-minute for a February 2022 program anchored by John Adams' teeming, 35-minute City Noir. He stepped in again in April 2023 to lead Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 1, with pianist Stephen Hough. Reif commented, "It's a dream, making music with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Both times, we were able to tell a story with the pieces we played. I've been lucky to have wonderful experiences everywhere, but I would say it's been one of the highlights both times. They're so open, enthusiastic and willing to try out things." In addition, Reif will lead the program featuring his new arrangement of El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered, an intimate, hour-long chamber version of John Adams' original massive revisionist opera-oratorio, as part of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Proof Series on November 30. Interweaving biblical verse with poetry by Latin American writers, El Niño considers the Nativity story from Mary's perspective and explores, in Adams' words, "what is meant by a miracle."

From Monday, December 11, 2023 to Thursday, December 21, 2023, Reif brings the program on tour with the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC*), appearing at Stanford University, Yale University, Harriman-Jewell in Kansas City, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. Featuring libretto by Peter Sellars and concept by Julia Bullock, this rarely performed work celebrates Latin American poets and voices of women, ruminating on the notion that with the promise of new life, there is the equal threat of inexplicable violence and sacrifice.

Among his other landmark engagements in North America, Reif leads the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, November 11, 2023 and Sunday, November 12, 2023 in the Touhill Performing Arts Center with works by Kaprálová, Korngold and Dvořák. From Thursday February 8, 2024 to Saturday, February 10, 2024, he leads the Seattle Symphony in Randall Goosby Plays Mozart, a concert featuring soloist Randall Goosby in a program including Mozart's Third Violin Concerto, Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9, and a featured 1952 work by Julia Perry. From Friday, February 23, 2024 to Sunday, February 23, 2024, he leads the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in Goosby Plays Mendelssohn - a program celebrating works by Pejacevic, Bartók, and Mendelssohn with Goosby as violin soloist at the Bradley Symphony Center in Wisconsin.

In Europe, Reif's season continues with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 and Thursday, October 12, 2023 with Nordic Week, a program celebrating works by Swedish composer Ludvig Norman, as well as Edvard Grieg and Jean Sibelius. On Saturday, October 14, 2023, he returns to lead the symphony in the musical murder mystery The Composer is Dead by Nathaniel Stookey and Lemony Snicket. On Thursday, November 2, 2023, he leads the Orchesterzentrum Dortmund in Mahler's 6th Symphony at Folkwang University of the Arts. With the Filharmonija in Macedonia, he conducts a concert with soprano Aphrodite Patulidou on Thursday, January 25, 2024.

Christian Reif 2023-2024 Season Calendar

Friday, September 15, 2023
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Gävle, Sweden

September 30-October 1, 2023
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Cincinnati, OH

October 11-12, 2023
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Stockholm, Sweden

Saturday, October 14, 2023
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Stockholm, Sweden

Thursday, November 2, 2023
Orchesterzentrum Dortmund
Dortmund, Germany

Thursday, November 9, 2023
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Gävle, Sweden / Hudiksval, Sweden

Friday, November 10, 2023
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Hudiksval, Sweden

November 11-12, 2023
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
St. Louis, MO

Thursday, November 30, 2023
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra - El Niño
Cincinnati, OH

Monday, December 11, 2023
Harriman-Jewell Series - AMOC* El Niño
Kansas City, MO

Wednesday, December 13, 2023
Stanford Live - AMOC* El Niño
Palo Alto, CA

Friday, December 15, 2023
Yale Schwartzman Center - AMOC* El Niño
New Haven, CT

Thursday, December 21, 2023
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine - AMOC* El Niño
New York, NY

Thursday, January 25, 2024
Skopje, Macedonia

February 8-10, 2024
Seattle Symphony
Seattle, WA

February 23-25, 2024
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Milwaukee, WI

Thursday, March 28, 2024
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Gävle, Sweden

Friday, April 12, 2024
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Gävle, Sweden

Friday, May 17, 2024
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Gävle, Sweden

More About Christian Reif

With an equal footing in North America and Europe, Reif has conducted the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Colorado, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Louisville, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra of St. Luke's. Previous season highlights include appearances with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival with the International Contemporary Ensemble. In Europe, he has performed repeatedly with Orchestre National de Lyon, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Gävle Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra and Stavanger Symphony.

Reif enjoys conducting opera and has led productions at Juilliard Opera of The Merry Wives of Windsor, Opera San Jose of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and the Lakes Area Music Festival of Ariadne auf Naxos and Don Pasquale.

Reif is featured on classical singer Julia Bullock's debut solo Nonesuch Records album Walking in the Dark where he leads London's Philharmonia Orchestra as well as accompanies Bullock on the piano. The album was praised by Gramophone Magazine as "illuminating", and described Reif as providing "excellent support" for Bullock. In 2020 during the pandemic, Reif and Bullock recorded a series of at-home virtual "Songs of Comfort", ranging from Carole King's classic "Up on the Roof" to Schubert's Wanderers Nachtlied. NPR Music featured the duo in a "Tiny Desk Concert" for their special quarantine edition of the series, and The New York Times highlighted them on their "Best Classical Music of 2020" list.

From 2016 to 2019, Christian was Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, after being the Conducting Fellow at the New World Symphony from 2014 to 2016 and at Tanglewood Music Center in 2015 and 2016. He studied conducting at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and at The Juilliard School in New York City. He resides in Munich with his wife Julia Bullock and their son. Learn more at

Photo Credit: Gävle Symphony Orchestra

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