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COMPOSER | CONDUCTOR FULL BIO

Whitney George’s music traverses the affective terrain between tragedy and ecstasy, fragility and strength, bringing together romantically delicate intimacy and the spectacular darkness of the macabre. Haunted by ghosts and/of love, George’s operas, staged multimedia works, and chamber music coloristically explore the mysteries of irrationality, nightmare, and memory, sonically seeking lost objects and hidden subjects.

 

Given George’s theatrical inclinations and preoccupation with the tragic, she has turned again and again to opera as both a composer and conductor. Most recently, George was commissioned by dell'Arte Opera to write Princess Maleine, an adaptation of a Grim fairytale, which premiered in August 2019 at La MaMa Experimental Theater. George received the 2017 Elebash Award for her orchestration of Miriam Gideon’s opera Fortunato, which was performed under George’s baton in May 2019. In 2017, George’s One Night of Excess, a sensationalist retelling of the shockingly erotic and blisteringly sacrilegious 1833 short story Gamiani, saw its premiere at National Sawdust. The Yellow Wallpaper (2010), George’s two-act opera based on Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s feminist novella of the same name, was most recently performed at the DiMenna center in 2015, and led to George being named a John Duffy Composers Institute Fellow in 2010.

 

George’s music, performance art, and installations have had both international and domestic premieres in England, Hong Kong, Austria, the Netherlands, and both coasts of the United States. Her setting of Poe's “The Raven” was included on the 2018–19 season of the Michigan Philharmonic, and her electroacoustic art song “Lost Without You,” commissioned by Fresh Squeezed Opera, premiered at Roulette in February 2019. George’s works have also been performed by The American Modern Ensemble, Parhelion Trio, Contemporaneous, Ensemble Mise-en, The Concrete Timbre Collective, Mivos String Quartet, Cygnus Ensemble, Transit Ensemble, Fulcrum Point String Quartet, SoundMind Ensemble, Cadillac Moon, New York Trombone Consort, and Vigil Ensemble. 

 

George’s compositions have been widely commissioned and awarded. Previous commissions include These Hands Hold Nothing (2018) for the NakedEyed Ensemble, Out of Darkness (2018) for oboist Kristen Leitterman, Sleight of Hand (2017) for the duo Pieces of Eight, “A Night in Brooklyn” (2016) for the 5 Boroughs Song Project, To Hold My Head High Above the Water (2016) for the Fiati Five Woodwind Quintet, Push|Pull (2016) for the University of Tennessee New Music Ensemble, The Petite Symphony (2016) for Face the Music, Cooking for One (2016) for Soundmark Project, Carelessly Open... (2014) for the Low Brass Connection, and The Arc of Samsara (2006) for the CSU Chico Wind Ensemble. Movements from Night, like velvet: in twelve letters (2013), which set poetry by Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, have been selected for performance on various new music festivals, including the New Music Conflagration series, Hartford Women Composers Festival, AME 10th Annual Awards Night, Dixon Place's Works in Progress Series, and the ShoutHouse Ensemble call for works. In 2012, a collection of George’s chamber works was released by Blue Tapes on a series of cassettes titled Blue Nine: Whitney George. She is the recipient of the 2011 Robert Starer Award, which commemorated her multi-movement orchestral work The Anatomy of the Curiosity Cabinet

  

Whitney George is the founder, artistic director, and conductor of the interdisciplinary new music ensemble The Curiosity Cabinet, formed in 2009. She has also conducted for New Camerata Opera, String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Blackhouse Ensemble, The Green Monster Big Band, the Noveau Classical Project (NCP), Fresh Squeezed Opera, and the Face the Music Youth Orchestra at the Kaufman Center.

 

George holds an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of the Arts, a master’s degree from Brooklyn College, and is currently a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she has studied with David Del Tredici, David Olan, Bruce Saylor, and Tania Leon. In addition to her composing and conducting, George teaches at the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, works at the Hitchcock Institute of American Studies, is on the composition faculty for Face the Music, and can be found giving lectures on anything from Shostakovich to OK Computer for Think Olio.

 

 SHORT BIO

Whitney George’s music traverses the affective terrain between tragedy and ecstasy, fragility and strength, bringing together romantically delicate intimacy and the spectacular darkness of the macabre. Her operas, staged multimedia works, and chamber music have had both international and domestic premieres. Most recently, George was commissioned by dell'Arte Opera to write Princess Maleine, an adaptation of a Grim fairytale. She received the 2017 Elebash Award for her orchestration of Miriam Gideon’s opera Fortunato, which premiered under George’s baton in May 2019. 

 

George is the artistic director and conductor of The Curiosity Cabinet, a chamber orchestra formed in 2009. She holds an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of the Arts, a master’s degree from Brooklyn College, and is currently a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center. In addition to her composing and conducting, George teaches at the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, works at the Hitchcock Institute of American Studies, and is on the composition faculty for Face the Music.

copyright

Whitney E. George

2020