George Manahan

George Manahan was named Portland Opera’s Music Director with the 2012/13 season.

Photo by Richard Bowditch

A frequent and popular guest artist at Portland Opera, the Atlanta-born conductor spent 14 years as the music director for New York City Opera and currently holds that title for the American Composer’s Orchestra.

He joined the company as one of the nation’s internationally acclaimed music directors, with a career that embraces an unusually wide range. He has conducted for many of the world’s leading opera companies including New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, National Opera of Paris, Santa Fe Opera, and Seattle Opera. In 2013, he made his debut at San Francisco Opera, where he conducted the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne. His other world premieres include Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang’s Modern Painters, Hans Werner Henze’s The English Cat and the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner.

Manahan’s conducting career also extends into the symphonic world, including the National Symphony Orchestra as well as the symphonies of Atlanta, San Francisco, the Warsaw Philharmonic, Indianapolis, the Juilliard School, and the Manhattan School of Music. As music director of the American Composer’s Orchestra and of the Richmond Symphony for twelve years, he has been honored four times by the American Society of Composers and Publishers for his commitment to 20th-century music.

He is also a widely recorded conductor, with his works including a 2004 Grammy nomination for Edward Thomas’ Desire under the Elms, as well as the premiere recordings of Steve Reich’s Tehillim and Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. His television performances include an Emmy Award for the 2007 telecast of New York City Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly on PBS’ “Live from Lincoln Center,” as well as broadcasts of La Bohème, Lizzie Borden and Tosca.

As Music Director, Manahan oversees the Portland Opera orchestra, working closely with them to achieve consistently higher levels of excellence. Manahan has distinguished himself here as one of Portland Opera’s most beloved guest conductors. He made his company debut in 2006 with Macbeth and has returned to conduct a number of productions including Rodelinda, Rigoletto, Così fan tutte, The Barber of Seville, Don Giovanni, Falstaff, Salome, Lucia Di Lammermoor, Die Fledermaus, Carmen, The Magic Flute, Sweeney Todd, The Italian Girl in Algiers, Man of La Mancha, La Bohème, Rigoletto, Faust, The Barber of Seville, and La Finta Giardiniera. He also conducted Portland Opera’s first-ever Big Night Concert in 2011.