Jeannine B. Cowles Music Director Chair
Mr. Macatsoris began his conducting career in Italy at the Conservatory in Milan and went on to study conducting privately with such famed maestri as Fausto Cleva, Max Rudolf, and Tullio Serafin. He has also studied composition with Vincent Persichetti. Among his many performance credits are appearances with Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company, Pennsylvania Opera Company, San Francisco Opera, and numerous regional opera companies. In 1970, Max Rudolf invited him to the Curtis Institute of Music, where he taught and conducted for seven years and was music director of the opera department. For several years Mr. Macatsoris was on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University.
Mr. Macatsoris was the music director of the weekly NBC-TV program, Opera Theatre and was music director and conductor for two seasons with the Opera at Ambler Festival. As a pianist, he toured with Metropolitan Opera singers in recital programs and collaborated with a virtual Who’s Who of legendary opera singers such as Tebaldi, Corelli, Vickers, Sutherland, Pavarotti just to name a few.
A composer himself, Mr. Macatsoris has been drawn to contemporary works and has become widely noted for his outstanding conducting of numerous local and regional opera premieres. In 1976, he conducted the premiere of The Last of the Mohicans, a work which was commissioned by the U.S. Government to celebrate the country’s 200th birthday. In 1983, as the highlight of Philadelphia’s Tricentennial celebration, he conducted the world premiere of Cascarino’s opera William Penn. Mr. Macatsoris conducted the American premiere of Lee Hoiby’s The Scarf and has also premiered many works by Margaret Garwood.
As music director of the Academy of Vocal Arts since 1977, he has led critically acclaimed performances of Puccini’s ll Trittico and Madama Butterfly, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Britten’s Albert Herring, which was broadcast over PBS. In addition, many operas received their Delaware Valley premieres at AVA under his baton, including Mozart’s Idomeneo and La Finta Giardiniera, Handel’s Deidamia, Strauss’s Capriccio, Verdi’s Un Giorno di Regno, and Richard Wargo’s A Chekhov Trilogy.
Mr. Macatsoris has appeared at The International Corfu Festival, Greece, in 1981 and 1982, leading performances of The Rape of Lucretia, La Sonnambula, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Così fan tutte.
Mr. Macatsoris has conducted in many regional American houses and has been on the conducting staff of San Francisco Opera Center. He is in great demand as a lecturer and for master classes, and has conducted them at major universities, including Tulane, Loyola of New Orleans and SUNY-Buffalo. He has been a judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Mr. Macatsoris consistently earns high praise from the press for his interpretive abilities and total commitment to excellent opera theatre. Opera Magazine, London, proclaimed him, “One of the treasures of the Philadelphia music scene.” The Main Line Times music critic wrote, “Local opera lovers never hear a finer opera conductor.” And Robert Baxter with The Courier Post raved, after hearing The Barber of Seville, that “Christofer Macatsoris shapes a decisive reading. Seldom does Rossini’s familiar score sound so tautly paced and expressively shaped.”