Now in his 18th season as the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s multi-talented Music Director, Conductor and passionate spokesman, George Hanson has helped shape the changing role of the modern music director and established the profile of the TSO as the flagship performing arts organization in Tucson’s rich cultural community.
The summer of 2013 marked the second season of Hanson’s tenure as Artistic Director of the Sunriver Festival in Oregon. Sold out venues, growth in ticket sales and an expansion of program offerings highlighted an exciting summer.
Hanson’s recent and upcoming guest conducting appearances include a production of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Mecklenburg State Opera, concerts in Pforzheim and Leipzig and debut performances with the Virginia Symphony and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra.
Of Hanson’s performance of Verdi’s Requiem in last season’s inaugural Tucson Desert Song Festival, the Arizona Daily Star wrote, “Hanson set the bar high . . . . He performed the 83-minute piece without a score, bringing out all of Verdi’s trembling and triumph.” A Leipziger Zeitung reviewer praised Hanson’s Brahms Symphony No. 2, writing, “The applause of thousands and shouts of bravo! filled the Great Hall—and well deserved. The orchestra showed their best side under Hanson.”
Hanson burst onto the European scene at the age of 28, with first prizes at the Budapest International Conducting Competition and shortly thereafter at the Stokowski Competition in New York. Since then he has led nearly 100 orchestras and operas, including the New York Philharmonic, the Radio orchestras of Berlin and Hamburg, Berlin's Komische Opera and Vienna's Kammeroper, the Warsaw Philharmonic, Mexico's National Symphony, and the orchestras of Johannesburg, Osaka and Seoul. Recent American debuts include Phoenix, Indianapolis and Charlotte. He has shared stages with an extraordinary range of artists from Lang Lang, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Peter Serkin, Alicia de Larrocha, Midori, André Watts and Emmanuel Ax, to Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie and Roberta Flack.
Hanson served as assistant to Leonard Bernstein. He was Resident Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony, and assisted Kurt Masur at the New York Philharmonic. He received his formal training at the Vienna Academy of Music, the Curtis Institute, Indiana University and Concordia College.