AZO Cast Members & Creatives
American Conductor Craig Kier maintains an active performance calendar while serving as the Director of the Maryland Opera Studio at The University of Maryland School of Music in College Park, Maryland.
In the 2015/16 season, Maestro Kier lends his baton to performances with Maryland Opera Studio of Mozart's Don Giovanni and Blitzstein's Regina. He also returns to Houston Ballet for performances of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker and to Opera Birmingham for Verdi’s La traviata.
In the 2014/15 season, Maestro Kier, in his inaugural season of Directorship, lead the Maryland Opera Studio in well received performances of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges, and Rossini's L'occasione fa il ladro. DC Metro Arts wrote of Maestro Kier’s Così fan tutte performances: “Such skillful singing throughout the show, backed up by the delightful chamber orchestra under the baton of conductor Craig Kier was charming." He made his debut with Opera Birmingham conducting Thomas’ Hamlet and Opera Santa Barbara for Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri. Maestro Kier was praised for his debut performances by Casa Magazine which reported “Craig Kier, another brilliant first-timer at OSB, transfixed the ear with his Tesla-like kinetic energy and comprehensive understanding of Rossini's penchant for manic action and mellifluous melody...Outstanding professional leadership distinguished this production, beginning with conductor Kier's extraordinary leadership which gave the orchestra leeway to execute with tremendous finesse and color.” He also continued his tenure with Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet.
Maestro Kier's 2013/14 season included with his company debut with Lyric Opera of Kansas City leading Puccini’s La bohème. Regarding his performances, the KC Metropolis expressed that “The Lyric Opera of Kansas City offered up Puccini’s La bohème in a stylish production that featured brilliant singing, impeccable orchestral support, smart choreography, and lavish visual effects. In charge of some these pertinent components were newcomers to the Lyric, like lighting designer Steve Ross and conductor Craig Kier, and each contributed their personal stamp to the show". He returned to Atlanta Opera conducting Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, made his company debut with the Maryland Opera Studio conducting Britten’s Albert Herring and with Central City Opera leading Rodgers’ The Sound of Music. With Houston Grand Opera, he lead performances of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, the world premiere of the East + West chamber opera Bound, and served as their Cover Conductor. Maestro Kier returned to the Houston Ballet for his third season as a Guest Conductor leading performances of The Nutcracker.
Highlights in Maestro Kier's 2012-13 season included his Glimmerglass Festival debut conducting Weill's Lost in the Stars, his company debut at the Royal Opera House, Muscat, Oman leading performances of Willson’s The Music Man, and appearances with the Houston Ballet conducting The Nutcracker and Peter Pan. He also returned to Houston Grand Opera for his third season as Associate Conductor and Assistant Chorus Master, where he served as Cover Conductor and a member of the coaching faculty of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.
Previous season highlights included Maestro Kier’s conducting debut with the Houston Grand Opera leading performances of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Rossini’s The Barbe of Seville, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in a joint project between Seattle Opera and the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, and debuts with Atlanta Ballet and Houston Ballet. Maestro Kier returned to Santa Fe Opera to serve as the Assistant Conductor for La donna del lago starring Joyce DiDonato and Lawrence Brownlee and to The Atlanta Opera to conduct performances of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
Prior to joining Houston Grand Opera, Maestro Kier spent six seasons as Resident Assistant Conductor and Principal Coach/Accompanist for The Atlanta Opera. He began his career as part of Seattle Opera’s music staff, serving in a variety of roles including Assistant Conductor, Coach/Accompanist, and Chorus Master. He has since served on the music staff of Santa Fe Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Colorado, Berkshire Opera, Opera New Jersey, Opera Birmingham and Des Moines Metro Opera. Maestro Kier also spent six years on the faculty of the Opera Theater of the Rockies Vocal Arts Symposium. He earned his Master of Music degree in Accompanying from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and his Bachelor of Music Education from the State University of New York College at Fredonia.