Perth-born conductor Christopher Dragon has received two appointments this week, having been named Music Director of the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra as well as Resident Conductor of the Colorado Symphony. Both appointments begin in the 2019/20 season. Australians would be familiar with Dragon through his association with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, where he was Assistant Conductor for three years and worked closely with Principal Conductor Asher Fisch.
Christopher Dragon. Photo © Colorado Symphony
One of four finalists up for Music Director of Wyoming Symphony, Dragon has been offered a three-year preliminary contract with the orchestra. He first conducted the orchestra in January of last year as part of its Music Director search, a process which took a year and a half.
“I am absolutely thrilled to begin my new role as Music Director of the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra,” Dragon told Limelight. “As this is my first Music Director position in the US, I am especially excited to shape the overall vision and direction of the Orchestra.”
“My overall goal is to make the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra a key central part to the entire state of Wyoming. I also aim to make the Symphony accessible to everyone by presenting all of our concerts in a new fresh way through collaborations with local organisations, artists, programming and by taking the orchestra out of the concert hall.”
“What’s special about the Orchestra is that we both share the same vision of what a modern-day symphony orchestra is – there is a real hunger by the orchestra, administration and board to try new things,” Dragon added. “What I found most appealing about joining the organisation is that there is such a strong support of the orchestra by the Casper community – they all want the orchestra to be the very best that it can be. As an incoming Music Director, this is all very exciting and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.”
“The Wyoming Symphony Orchestra is overjoyed to welcome the vibrant, young conductor Christopher Dragon to Casper and eager to introduce his bright energy, distinct talent and creativity to the Wyoming community,” said Rachel Bailey, Executive Director for the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra. “We feel he is the perfect candidate for our burgeoning arts scene and will take the WSO to the next level.”
Prior to his appointment as Resident Conductor of the Colorado Symphony, Dragon held the role of Associate Conductor over four seasons. He will serve as the orchestra’s Resident Conductor for the next two seasons.
“Christopher Dragon has been an incredible asset and audience favourite since coming on board as Associate Conductor four seasons ago and we’re thrilled for his appointment as Music Director for the Wyoming Symphony,” said Colorado Symphony’s Chief Artistic Officer Tony Pierce. “It’s been a pleasure to watch him blossom and mature within the role and we look forward to watching his continued growth as he takes on additional leadership within our organisation in his role as resident conductor.”
Dragon regularly conducts in Australia, while international engagements have seen him lead the Orquestra Sinfônica de Porto Alegre, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. A music graduate from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), Dragon played the clarinet in the WA Young Orchestra and began his conducting career in 2011 after winning the WA Youth Orchestra Woodside Concerto Competition. He began his conducting studies in 2011 and participated in the Symphony Services International Conductor Development Program in Australia.