Lakes Area Music Festival Appoints its First Music Director

German conductor Christian Reif has been named the inaugural Music Director of the Lakes Area Music Festival of Minnesota, effective immediately


Established in 2009, the music festival in Brainerd, Minnesota presents a wide range of concerts from chamber to symphonic orchestra, with renowned international artists.

As inaugural Music Director, Reif will work alongside the Artistic Directors in selecting repertoire and artists, designing new programs, and guiding the direction of artistic planning.

A graduate of The Juilliard School, where he studied with Alan Gilbert, Reif formerly served as the Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. He has conducted the Orchestre National d’île de France, Dallas Symphony, Stavanger Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Ulster Orchestra to name a few.

"I‘m thrilled to start a more in-depth relationship with the Lakes Area Music Festival family!" Reif told The Violin Channel. "It’s an honor to be appointed as their first Music Director especially in this grand-opening season in their new performing arts venue. The summers I‘ve spent with the wonderful musicians and community in and around Brainerd have already been highlights in my music-making life. One thing that I’ve always felt strongly about this festival is that the community is not just built around music but that music is here to build community. I‘m really looking forward to engaging in meaningful and inspiring interactions in the years to come."

“We are pleased to welcome such a distinguished conductor in Christian Reif to be our first Music Director and to have this creative new voice as part of the artistic leadership of the Lakes Area Music Festival," said Artistic and Executive Director Scott Lykins. Christian’s history with the festival, his well-earned reputation for excellence, and his international perspective make him an incredible asset for LAMF’s future. The rapport between Christian and our roster of musicians creates an inspiring atmosphere for music-making which is apparent both to those on stage and in the audience. His vision is already evident in the programming for our upcoming season and will continue to enrich our mission for years to come.”

The LAMF 2021 season will mark the first season in a brand new performing arts venue in downtown Brainerd. It will feature live performances for limited-in-size audiences, as well as live-streaming options for audiences to enjoy at home.