Customer of the Month: The Maestro, Christian Reif
Currently in his third season at the San Francisco Symphony, Christian Reif has made it his mission to make music a part of everyone’s life, no matter their background. The young conductor is a rising star with a passion for inspiring audiences through innovative programming.
Christian was born in Germany, where he grew up in a musical family. His mother led two choirs and taught music locally. In fact, she was his first piano teacher. Growing up with music all around him has made it much more than a profession. Christian says, “I don’t think music can just be a job. Music is my passion and I live it every day. There’s always a tune going through my head.”
Christian came to San Francisco after spending two years in Miami as the Conducting fellow of the New World Symphony, mentored by Michael Tilson Thomas. In San Francisco, he says he has continued to grow professionally and artistically. He cheerfully credits his friendships with the musicians and staff at the Symphony as the most important factor in his artistic development. However, that’s just his standard humility speaking. In San Francisco, Christian has directed numerous critically acclaimed performances, including ambitious subscription concerts and shows as part of the highly successful “Soundbox” series - e.g. “Rebel”, in which he explored the music of composers who suffered through censorship and political oppression. The program was unique, and Christian shared his lingering excitement over its success. “It’s such an incredible experience when you feel the whole room on the wavelength with you,” he said.
He has also worked to share music and educate the next generation, as the musical director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, through partnerships with schools in the San Francisco area, and through family concerts. He aims to bring new audiences to the symphony hall and have them leave feeling that it’s their space as well.
Somehow in the midst of all this work, Christian has managed to find love as well. He recently married the soprano Julia Bullock, a rising star in the opera world.
We met Christian when he came into our Fillmore Street store in San Francisco. Lots of customers do some stretching in our clothes when they come out of the dressing room, but he was the first who came out conducting. Recently, Christian has taken his Apollo 3 dress shirts on tour, and he’s trying out the Velocity Suit because the traditional tux and tails can feel a bit stale sometimes.
How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?
Enthusiastic, supportive, reliable, grounded, cordial, passionate.
What keeps you up at night?
Art. Art Education for everyone, community engagement, how art/music can better ourselves, make us re-examine ourselves.
How do you take your coffee?
Varied. I don‘t need coffee every day, but I like drinking Espresso, usually black, but sometimes as a macchiato, with a little sugar. Or Cappuccino.
How do you balance everything?
Sleep, healthy lifestyle, hanging out with friends.
What music do you listen to?
Classical, singer/songwriter, jazz (Nina Simone, Jacob Collier), progressive rock.
What’s your favorite place?
Wherever my wife is.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
My wife… :) or composer Joseph Haydn.
How does Ministry of Supply clothing make a difference in your life?
It’s a game-changer. I’ve been wearing the shirts to all my rehearsals.
What are your favorite Ministry of Supply pieces?
Apollo 3 Dress Shirts, Composite Full Zip jacket, Fusion Pant.
Anything else we should know?
The moments I make music with people are the ones that inspire me and push me to connect and communicate in a more meaningful way.