Sprung from the California soils like so many avocados and so much sage brush, Chris Rountree keeps his books stacked on the floor in an easily accessible way that lends an inspiring, bohemian feel to the room. Our Artistic Director, conductor, and “surprise let’s do all sorts of new things, that you weren’t prepared for, at the last minute, maybe this will make the show ‘more exciting’” Shaman, Chris is the one that brought us all together. He’s thrown watermelons off of Disney Hall, and picked pincher-bugs out of rose petal jam at the San Francisco Symphony, helped smash a few violins in public, given the Paris premiere of Graham’s Appalachian Spring, acquired hundreds of “I hear music in everything” listening commitments from audience members as art, and set some aesthetic direction for thoughtfully filling a piano full of hay. He has worked with the Chicago Symphony and premiered a composition on the NY Philharmonic’s Biennale, made work with Allora and Calzadilla, David Lang, Mark Dion, La Monte Young, Sigourney Weaver, Ryoji Ikea, Alison Knowles, John Adams and Michael Tilson Thomas. Chris loves making music. He’s obsessively attuned and worried about how other people are feeling, to a fault. He wildly gesticulates while telling stories, wafting patchouli everywhere. He’s a huge nerd and D&D dungeon master in his spare time. He’s full of joy and lots of darkness, he’s stress-eating pistachios right now, and he’s our leader.