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Though it might look like he’s doing calisthenics when on stage, an orchestra’s conductor is an integral part of the group and directing musicians requires skill and precision.

On Dec. 5, Michael Christie — the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s 33-year-old boy wonder — will go above and beyond his usual baton twirling and will take on an additional responsibility: acting.

The Philharmonic’s new season was announced this week, and the maestro revealed that he will lead the Philharmonic in “The Gate,” an orchestral theater piece by Tan Dun. But in addition to furiously waving his arms around, Christie will be playing the ominous “Gate Keeper” whose job it is to send one of three dead souls back to life.

“Michael’s stepping out of the box as a conductor,” said Steven Lankenau, the Philharmonic’s director of programming. “It’s a unique opportunity for the orchestra and a unique opportunity for him.”

After his star turn, Christie (pictured) will lead the orchestra in the rest of its 54th season, which will include a two-week-long festival in honor of Prospect Heights-born composer John Corigilano, who’s won an Oscar, Grammys and a Pulitzer Prize for his compositions. It all looks good, but our pick is Corigliano’s rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” where the vocal duties are taken over by an operatic soprano.

The edgy-for-an-orchestra programming is nothing new for the group, said Lakenau. “The Brooklyn Philharmonic has always been considered a progressive group, and we’ve never been considered behind the times. We continue to push the limit.”

The Brooklyn Philharmonic’s season starts on Dec. 5 with “The Gate.” Tickets are $20 – $60. For information, visit www.brooklynphilharm....

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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