Christopher James Ray returns in the 2019-20 season as a member of OSJ’s resident company, serving as assistant conductor, chorus master and principal coach. As the company’s resident conductor, he will conduct two performances of each 2019-20 production, act as principal coach, and oversee chorus preparation. Mr. Ray made his OSJ debut in the 2018-19 season as assistant conductor and chorus master for Pagliacci. Recent engagements for Mr. Ray include joining the music staff of the renowned Bayreuth Festival where he worked on productions of Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer, Lohengrin, Götterdämmerung, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal.
For the 2017-18 season, Christopher served as Interim Music Director for Opera at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis where he led performances of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Copland’s The Tender Land. Additional conducting credits include Handel’s Alcina at the Pennsylvania State University, Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters at Texas Christian University, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro for Land of Enchantment Opera, and Florida State Opera’s productions of Heggie’s Three Decembers, Glass’s In the Penal Colony, Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, and Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera.
In 2014, he made his professional conducting debut leading a double bill of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci with the Mississippi Opera, and later that year he conducted performances of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi with Opera in the Ozarks.
As assistant conductor, Mr. Ray has worked with New York City Opera (Brokeback Mountain), Salzburg State Theater (Brokeback Mountain), North Carolina Opera (La bohème, Così fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro), Sarasota Opera (Le nozze di Figaro, Don Carlos), Opera on the James (Carmen), Opera on the Avalon (Die Zauberflöte), Syracuse Opera (Die Fledermaus) as well as the Memphis and Portland (ME) Symphonies.
A protege of American composer Carlisle Floyd, Christopher is a sought-after interpreter of Floyd’s works. In addition to serving as the assistant to the composer, Christopher recorded an album of Floyd’s songs with the celebrated mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer. It is available through GPR Records on the Naxos label.
A native of Sumrall, Mississippi, Christopher is a graduate of Florida State University where he studied with Douglas Fisher and Carlisle Floyd.
Please visit Mr. Ray’s website for additional information.