In his 11th season as Music Director of New York City Opera, the wide-ranging and versatile George Manahan has had an esteemed career, embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. He has distinguished himself throughout the world as one of the foremost conductors of our time, and is especially known in the opera world for his musical guidance of diverse productions, including La Fanciulla del West, Daphne, Ermione, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Cendrillon, and Die Tote Stadt. He has also toured Japan with NYCO's production of Little Women.
Mr. Manahan has made guest appearances with the symphonies of Atlanta, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Charlotte, and New Jersey, as well as the National Symphony, the Juilliard and Manhattan schools of music, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Music Academy of the West, and the Aspen Music Festival. He is a regular guest with the opera companies of Santa Fe, Portland, and Glimmerglass operas, and has also appeared with the opera companies of Seattle, Chicago, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera National du Paris, Teatro de Communale de Bologna, the Bergen Festival (Norway), the Casals Festival (Puerto Rico), and Minnesota Opera, where he was principal conductor.
As music director of the Richmond Symphony in Virginia from 1987 to 1998—where in addition to conducting he also appeared as piano soloist—he was honored four times by ASCAP for his commitment to 20th-century music. That passion was further ignited when, in one season, Mr. Manahan was chosen as the Exxon Arts Endowment Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony and also debuted with the Santa Fe Opera in the American premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's Von heute auf morgen. That enthusiasm continues today; he has conducted numerous world premieres, including Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Tobias Picker's Emmeline, and many others.
His many appearances on television include productions of La bohème, Lizzie Borden, and Tosca on PBS. Live from Lincoln Center’s telecast of New York City Opera's production of Madame Butterfly—under Mr. Manahan’s direction—won a 2007 Emmy Award. Mr. Manahan's discography includes the Grammy-nominated recording of Edward Thomas's Desire Under the Elms with the London Symphony, and Steve Reich's Tehillim on the EMI–Warner Bros. label, as well as two albums of 20th-century concertos for clarinet with Richard Stolzmann. He also appears on the Elan, New Albion, and Naxos labels.
His recent Carnegie Hall performance of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra was hailed by audiences and critics alike. His current season includes the world premiere of Ask Your Mama! at Carnegie Hall, a collaboration between Emmy Award–winning composer Laura Karpman and soprano Jessye Norman, based on a text by Langston Hughes. The work will also be heard at the Hollywood Bowl and elsewhere across the country. He will also appear in a concert performance of Gluck's Alceste, featuring Deborah Voigt and the Collegiate Chorale with the Westchester Philharmonic, and will conduct Thomas's Mignon at the Music Academy of the West and La bohème at the Aspen Music Festival.
Mr. Manahan received his formal musical training at the Manhattan School of Music, studying conducting with Anton Coppola and George Schick, and was appointed to the faculty of the school upon his graduation, at which time The Juilliard School awarded him a fellowship as assistant conductor with the American Opera Center.