Christopher James Ray is a Houston-based conductor with a diverse background in both traditional and contemporary operatic works. Christopher made his professional conducting debut leading a double bill of Gianni Schicchi and Paglacci with the Mississippi Opera in 2014. Later that year he conducted performances of Cosi fan tutte, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi with Opera in the Ozarks, where he also served as a staff coach. Additional conducting credits include four contemporary operas with the Florida State Opera- 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. Upcoming engagements for the 2014/15 season include assistant conductor with Syracuse Opera for Die Fledermaus and Sarasota Opera for Le Nozze di Figaroand Don Carlos.
As assistant conductor, Christopher has worked with North Carolina Opera (La bohème, Così fan tutte) and Opera on the Avalon (Die Zauberflöte). A protege of American composer Carlisle Floyd, Christopher is a sought-after interpreter of Floyd’s works. In addition to serving as Assistant to the Composer for Of Mice and Men with Utah Opera in 2012 and Sarasota Opera in 2013, Christopher recorded a new album of Floyd songs with the celebrated mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer. It is available through GPR Records on the Naxos label. A frequent collaborator on new works, Christopher most recently performed as pianist for the world premiere of John Supko’s All Souls in Washington, D.C. and Raleigh, NC.
A native of Sumrall, Mississippi, Christopher is a graduate of Florida State University where he studied with Douglas Fisher and Carlisle Floyd.