Biography

“Conductor George Hanson, protégé of Leonard Bernstein, clearly inherited his mentor’s expressive talents: dynamic energy flowed through his fingers as he conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice. In spectacular renditions of Bernstein’s scores, Hanson and the orchestra exalted in the musical themes with extraordinary musicality . . .” — Nice Matin Review, July 1, 2014

Since first drawing international attention with First Prize wins at the Budapest and Stokowski conducting competitions, George Hanson’s career has taken him to more than 20 countries, conducting over a hundred orchestras and operas on five continents– including the Radio Orchestras of Hamburg and Berlin, Berlin’s Komische Oper, Vienna’s Kammeroper, the Hungarian National Opera in Budapest, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the orchestras of Osaka and Seoul, and the National Symphonies of South Africa, Mexico and Columbia.

US engagements include the New York Philharmonic, the orchestras of Atlanta, Indianapolis, Phoenix and Charlotte, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Arizona Opera.

Sold out concerts and exciting new programming mark Hanson’s most recent appointment as Artistic Director of the Sunriver Music Festival in Oregon, USA. Upcoming guest engagements include concerts in Durban, South Africa.

In Germany, as General Music Director of the Wuppertal Opera and Orchestra for six seasons, Hanson oversaw more than 50 opera productions, garnered national recognition for the orchestra’s Mahler and Shostakovich concert cycles, and won the Echo Klassik award for best classical recording.  The important German audio magazine Stereoplay wrote  “Hanson had the Wuppertalers sounding as if they were the Berlin Philharmonic.”

Of Hanson’s Don Giovanni, the Wuppertaler Rundschau wrote “The success of the evening was due primarily to the conducting of George Hanson. The phrasing with the singers was nuanced and differentiated, perfectly balanced with the orchestra. . . .”

Hanson served for seven years as assistant to Leonard Bernstein, assisted Kurt Masur for five seasons and assisted Giuseppe Patane at La Scala. Trained at Vienna’s Hochschule für Musik, Italy’s Accademia Chigiana, Tanglewood and the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Hanson studied under Seiji Ozawa and Franco Ferrara.

This season Hanson adds Pinchas Zukerman to a long list of important artistic collaborators, including Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Emanuel Ax, and Peter Serkin. A versatile musician, George has worked with Tony Bennett and Dizzy Gillespie; his work in the recording studio with the rock group R.E.M. brought triple platinum recognition.

In 2015 Hanson will cap a twenty-year relationship with the Tucson Symphony as Music Director, concluding his tenure with performances of Der Rosenkavalier and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, as well as a special performance of Das Lied von der Erde. George’s highlights with TSO include performing Mozart piano concerti (conducting from the keyboard), releasing the orchestra’s first-ever CD recording to international acclaim, and receiving the Certificate of Congressional Special Recognition from Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for service to the community. Commitments to education and community outreach have been hallmarks of Hanson’s time in Tucson.

George maintains homes in Tucson and in Leipzig, Germany, where his sons attend school.