Vance George, Conductor
Vance George's performances and recordings have been lauded by audiences and critics alike. Today he is guest conducting and mentoring young conductors after serving as Chorus Director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus from 1983- 2007. Noted American composer Conrad Susa says it best: "Vance creates a sonority, a kind of sonic thumb-print for each performance." George has conducted in the U.S, Europe and India and East Asia. In recent years he has led performances of Mozart, Bach, Brahms, Verdi and Stravinsky in Minneapolis, Spokane, Indianapolis, Akron, Salzburg, Sydney, Australia, the Berkshire Festival and the Ventura Bach Festival. His work embodies the legacy of the great maestros and mentors he has known as protégé and colleague, especially Kurt Masur, John Nelson, Helmut Rilling, Edo de Waart, Herbert Blomstedt, Michael Tilson Thomas, Robert Shaw, Julius Herford, Margaret Hillis, Robert Page, Otto Werner-Mueller, and Mary Oyer.
Born into a farm community in northern Indiana, his formal musical training was at Goshen College and Indiana University. Teaching and conducting positions have been at Mendon, Ohio, Woodstock School in Northern India, the University of Wisconsin, Associate Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, the Blossom Festival School, Kent State University, the Phoenix Bach Choir and the San Francisco Symphony.
The San Francisco Symphony Chorus became one of the finest in the world
during his twenty-three years as director. The Symphony won its first two Grammy awards in 1992 and 1995 for "Best Choral Performances" for Orff's Carmina Burana and Brahm's Ein Deutsches Requiem. Additional Grammy- winning recordings featuring the Chorus include Stravinsky's Perséphone and Mahler's Third Symphony. They also received Grammy nominations for Mahler's Second Symphony and Christmas By The Bay. The discography of the Chorus under his direction includes John Adams's Harmonium, Mahler's Das Klagende Lied; Grieg's Peer Gynt; and a collection of Brahm's choral works. Vance George is featured as conductor on Christmas By The Bay, Voices 1900-2000, a choral journey through the 20th century, and on film, the soundtracks of Amadeus, Godfather II and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. An Emmy was awarded for Sondheim's Sweeney Todd.
Maestro George, at home in choral styles ranging from medieval to contemporary, has specialized in the choral-orchestral tradition conducting the Passions of Bach and the Masses and Requiems of Brahms, Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, and Verdi. His performances of twentieth century composers include Fauré, Poulenc and Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Walton, Vaughn Williams, Penderecki, Lutoslawski, and Meredith Monk.
Highly regarded as a teacher of conducting, Vance George has presented numerous lectures, workshops and clinics at University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, Eastman School of Music, The San Francisco Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory, Kent State University and the University of California, Berkeley. His conducting concepts appear in The Cambridge Companion to Conducting, My Life In Choral Music So Far for the Chorus America Journal, and Choral Colors for the American Choral Director's Journal.
Vance George was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Musical Arts by Kent State
University and a Lifetime Achievement award by Chorus America. He has served
on the Board of Chorus America and the National Endowment of the Arts.