Posted by Scott Vaughan on Oct 12, 2017
George Hanson, Director of the Tucson Desert Song Festival, discusses plans to celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s impact on American music on the occasion of his 100th birthday.
George Hanson’s 2016 conducting schedule brought debuts with the Chicago Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice and Pacific Symphony. He capped a 20-year relationship with the Tucson Symphony, returning as Music Director Emeritus to conduct Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. His many highlights during his two decades with TSO include releasing the orchestra’s first-ever CD to international acclaim, and receiving the Certificate of Congressional Special Recognition from Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Commitments to education and community outreach have been hallmarks of Hanson’s time in Tucson.
Along with his duties as TDSF Festival Director, a post he has held since 2015, Hanson added an appointment as Artistic Advisor/Permanent Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Filarmonica de Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico. He continues as Music Director of the Sunriver Music Festival in Oregon.
Hanson’s extensive opera conducting experience includes engagements with Berlin’s Komische Oper, Vienna’s Kammeroper, the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest and six seasons as General Music Director of the Wuppertal Opera in Germany, where he conducted and supervised 10 productions each season. North American opera engagements include Arizona Opera and Minnesota Opera.
Educated at Indiana University, the Vienna Hochschule für Musik and the Curtis Institute, Hanson served as assistant to Leonard Bernstein, and has shared the stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman and Lang Lang.