Equally active on the podium and at the keyboard, conductor and pianist Michael Sakir (Music Director) has received critical acclaim for his “artistic authority,” “fluidity of expression,” and “great delicacy of feeling.” Recently, Sakir made his conducting debuts at Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music for the fully-staged Chicago premiere of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, American Opera Projects for the touring premiere production of Laura Kaminsky's As One, Opera in the Ozarks for Rossini's La Cenerentola, and Opera North (NH) for Aaron Copland's The Tender Land. Sakir also returns to the Boston Opera Collaborative as conductor and harpsichordist for Handel's Rinaldo. Sakir has held chorus master, assistant conductor, and coach positions for nearly three dozen productions with Santa Fe Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Pensacola Opera, and Opera Boston. A passionate advocate for new music, Sakir has collaborated with such distinguished living composers as Sir Harrison Birtwistle, John Harbison, and Jake Heggie. From 2008 to 2010, Sakir served as Music Director of the Juventas New Music Ensemble, a Boston-based instrumental ensemble dedicated to performing works by composers under 35. Under his leadership, Juventas received rave reviews for innovative programming and performances that "pushed the boundaries of the audience's expectations" (Boston Theatre Review). Sakir holds bachelor degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Boston Conservatory. He is a native of Northern California.
Michael is excited to take on the position of Opera Memphis' full time Music Director beginning this season!