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William George

Singer and Composer William George received his Bachelor of Arts in Music at California State University in Long Beach, California, and his Master of Music from the University of Southern California, where he was named Outstanding Graduate in the School of Music. His composition teachers were James Hopkins and Justus Matthews. His college compositions were performed by fellow students and by local church choirs. After graduation, William concentrated on his vocal career, and took a break from composing for several years. During this time he became a successful tenor with an international career, performing as a soloist throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, with companies including San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Savonlinna Festival, Hong Kong Opera, City Opera Vancouver, Victoria Symphony Aldeburgh Festival Orchestra, Stockholm Tonsattarfestival, and the Elyssium Festival.

In 2003, William co-founded the contemporary chamber ensemble New Music New York, which was dedicated to perform the works of living composers. His new composition for NMNY's inaugural concert, Heaven & Hell, was very well-received, and encouraged him to continue composing again. William's knowledge of vocal repertoire and technique makes him uniquely qualified in composing for the voice. His works can be inviting or challenging, but are always communicative and use the words as the basis for composition.

William George's compositions have been performed in Canada, the United States, England and Poland. He has received several commissions, and all of his works have been performed, most of them on several occasions. His cantata The Virtues, commissioned and premiered by New Music New York, was nominated for a 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Music. NMI{Y also commissioned and premiered It Was A Lover And His Lass, Twilight Songs, and Moon Chants (as part of a celebration of the 4oth anniversary of the Apollo II Moon Landing), and gave the US premiere of Canadiana Suite. Mr. George also participated in a collaborative composition, Four Femmes, musical settings of poetry based on famous artworks.

In 2005, William relocated from New York to Vancouver. In 2006 he co-founded Erato Ensemble, and was appointed its first Resident Composer in 2007. Erato Ensemble premiered Canadiana Suite (which has received many performances since its premiere), the song-cycle As though the word blue had been dropped into the water (which was subsequently performed in Whistler, and in Vancouver at the International Song Institute and a local concert series), and Ave Maria Tango, and has presented several of his previous works. Holy Rosary Cathedral commissioned Missa Brevis for their vocal quartet, which was premiered at a Mass In August 2007. In 2009, Mr. George was invited by Rena Sharon to participate in an experimental project at UBC -a commission by the Medical Research Department to set to music the response of a drug-trial participant. The resulting song was The Drugs Dont' Work, which became part of an artistic event centered around their research.


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Canadian Music Centre