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.
Internationally acclaimed conductor Robert Moody is currently enjoying his 18th season as Music Director of Arizona Musicfest and 7th season as Music Director of The Memphis Symphony Orchestra (Tennessee). Under his artistic leadership, AZ Musicfest has become the premiere Winter Music Festival Orchestra in North America, boasting a roster comprised of players from the world’s greatest orchestras. The Memphis Symphony has enjoyed exponential growth in programming, recording, new commissions, and endowment growth to well over $25 Million dollars.
Prior to Memphis, Moody was music director for both the Portland Symphony (Maine) and the Winston-Salem Symphony (North Carolina). Before that he held conducting positions with the Phoenix Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera, Brevard Music Center, New York City Youth Orchestra, and Landestheater Linz Opera House in Austria.
He has conducted many of the major orchestras of the world, including Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Dallas and Houston Symphonies, Minnesota Orchestra, Aachen and Baden Baden Symphony Orchestras in Germany, Orquesta Filarmonica de Bogotá, and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. He is a frequent guest conductor in South Africa, conducting the three major orchestras there – Cape Town, Johannesburg, and KZN Philharmonic in Durban.
Upcoming concerts include a return to Sewanee Festival, to the three orchestras South Africa, L’elisir d’amore with Highlands Opera Festival in Canada, as well as debuts with Buffalo Philharmonic and Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra in China.
In 2022 Moody was personally invited by opera superstar Renée Fleming to conduct a gala concert with her and the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra in Florida. From that experience, he was immediately named Principal Opera Conductor for Lakeland Symphony/Opera.
A South Carolina native, Moody holds degrees from Furman University (voice and cello) and the Eastman School of Music, where he earned his conducting degree with Donald Neuen. He is a Rotarian and has served on the boards of AIDs Care Services, Winston-Salem YMCA, WDAV Classical Radio, and the Charlotte Master Chorale.
Maestro Moody and his partner, organist Jimmy Jones live in Memphis with their two dogs and one cat. Moody is an avid runner, swimmer, history buff, “Jeopardy!” addict, and snow-skier.
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.