Following a distinguished international singing career during which she was acclaimed for her radiant, crystalline voice and superb musicianship across a broad repertoire, Christine Brandes takes to the podium as conductor and garners praise for performances in the opera house and on the symphony stage.
A 2021-22 fellow of the Dallas Opera Hart Institute for Women Conductors and currently the Associate Conductor of the Oakland Civic Orchestra. Christine Brandes has led productions of Gluck’s Orfeo et Eurydice and Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto with West Edge Opera as well as Haydn’s Armida and Rameau’s La Sympathie with Victory Hall Opera in Charlottesville, Virginia to which she returns in March of 2023 to conduct Gluck’s Orfeo et Eurydice. Christine makes her conducting debut at the Seattle Opera in the fall of 2023 with Handel’s Alcina.
On the concert stage, Ms Brandes made her debut with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra in the fall of 2022 and her debut performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Virginia Symphony in December of 2022. She has also served as the cover conductor for Nicholas McGegan with the Oakland Symphony.
As a singer, she has sung principal roles for the following opera companies: San Francisco, Seattle, Washington National, Houston Grand, Minnesota, New York City Opera, Philadelphia, Glimmerglass, Portland, among others.
She has also sung with the following orchestras: Cleveland, Chicago, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Seattle, Minnesota, National Symphony, with such distinguished conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Nicholas McGegan, among many others.
She is honored to count Sir Simon Rattle, Nicholas McGegan, Dame Jane Glover and Gary Thor Wedow among her conducting mentors.
Michael Roest is a dynamic conductor and arts leader with a deep commitment to building and celebrating community through art. Roest is the founder and director of the International Pride Orchestra, an organization that unites LGBTQ+ musicians from around the world to present concerts, commission new works, and support LGBTQ+ causes. Roest additionally serves as associate dean for academic affairs at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he previously led the Pre-College and Continuing Education Divisions.
Prior to his work in San Francisco, Roest served on faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music as Teacher of Brass Studies. There he directed the Oberlin Brass Ensemble. In Oberlin, Roest founded and directed the Empty Mugs Holiday Brass & Organ Spectacular, which brought together musicians, ceramic artists, and community organizations to raise funds to provide food, financial assistance, educational outreach, and basic needs for low-income and vulnerable community members. He also led the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestras as executive and artistic director, directing the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Roest holds degrees from The Juilliard School of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He also trainned at the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall, and Lucerne Festival Academy.