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George Daugherty


About this Artist

Conductor George Daugherty is one of the classical music world's most diverse artists.   In addition to his 35-year conducting career which has included appearances with the world's leading orchestras, ballet companies, opera houses, and concert artists, Daugherty is also an Emmy Award-winning / five-time Emmy nominated creator whose professional profile includes major credits as a director, writer, and producer for television, film, innovative and unique concerts, and the live theater.

Since 1993, he has conducted over 20 performances at The Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (most recently in 2013, with a double  return scheduled for 2015), and an equal number with The National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap (most recently, in 2013 with a pair.)  He makes his debut with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in May, 2015, and his current and recent conducting schedule includes multiple performances with St. Louis Symphony (returning for the fourth time), Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra at both Severance Hall and the Blossom Festival, The Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, The New Jersey Symphony, as well as appearances with dozens of other orchestras in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. He has been a frequent guest conductor at the Sydney Opera House since 1996, and in both 2002 and 2005, he returned to guest conduct the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House.  In 2010, he returned to the Sydney Symphony at the Opera House for performances of two different programs, and recorded a new CD with the orchestra. Recently, he also made his debuts with the Baltimore Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, West Australia Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and multiple engagements with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at both the National Concert Hall, and the new Grand Canal Theatre, both in Dublin, Ireland.  He has been a frequent guest conductor de Bellas Artes Opera House in Mexico City, where he has conducted the Orquesta del Teatro de Bellas Artes in ballet and opera productions. 

In 2012, he was appointed Music Director of Ballet San Jose, where he conducts nearly 50 performances per season for the company, with Symphony Silicon Valley in the orchestra pit.  This past season, he also conducted a major international gala for the company starring principal dancers from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, and other major companies.  In summer 2013, he made his debut conducting The Russian National Orchestra at the internationally acclaimed Napa Valley Festival del Sol, presiding over the reconstruction of a long-lost Fokine ballet with music by Rachmaninoff, plus an international ballet gala.

He has also been a frequent conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, with whom he first made his debut in Royal Festival Hall, and most recently conducted a 15-city U.S. and Canadian concert tour with the orchestra and guest artists Dame Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Charlotte Church, dancers of the Royal Ballet, and the Westminster Choir and Bell Ringers.

Daugherty has also conducted for scores of major American and international symphony orchestras, ballet companies, and opera houses, including numerous performances with the Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony, American Ballet Theatre, Munich State Opera and Ballet, Fort Worth Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra, Moscow Symphony, Kremlin Palace Orchestra of the Russian Federation, Grant Park Symphony Orchestra,  Columbus Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, the Auckland Philharmonia, Adelaide Symphony, the RCA Symphony Orchestra, Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet, Mexico City's Bellas Artes Opera House, Montreal Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Syracuse Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Tucson Symphony, New Orleans Symphony, Venezuela Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Seoul Prime Philharmonic, and major Italian opera houses in Rome, Florence, Turin, and Regio Emilia.

During the course of his career, he has also conducted for an extensive and eclectic list of international concert artists, including violinists Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Cho-Liang Lin,  Zachary De Pue, Rachel Lee, Kyung-wha Chung, Eugene Fodor; international opera artists Roberta Peters, Rosalind Elias, Julia Migenes, Jennifer Holloway, Rhys Meirion, Kristin Clayton, Bojan Knezevic, and Grace Bumbry; singers including Dame Julie Andrews, Etta James, Rosemary Clooney, Charlotte Church; and non-orchestral ensembles ranging from The Harvard Glee Club to The Westminster Choir to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

As a ballet conductor, Daugherty has conducted for the greatest ballet stars in the world over the past three and a half decades, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, Gelsey Kirkland, Suzanne Farrell, Patricia McBride, Natalia Makarova, Carla Fracci, Cynthia Harvey, Merrill Ashley, Amanda McKerrow, Marianna Tcherkassky, Patrick Bissell, Lis Jeppesen, Peter Schaufuss, Cynthia Gregory, Alicia Alonso, Marcia Haydee, Merle Park, Susan Jaffe, Kyra Nichols, Eva Evdokemova, Patricia Ruanne, Janie Parker, Kevin MacKenzie, Richard Cragun, Johan Renvall, Wes Chapman, Galina Panova, Anthony Dowell, Patrick Dupond, Valentina Kozlova, Leonid Kozlov, Sean Lavery, Adam Luders, Ib Andersen, Frank Andersen,  Linda Hindberg, Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Marcelo Gomes, Robert Hill, Li Cunxin, David Wall, John Meehan, Eleanor D'Antuono, Yoko Morishita, Ann Marie De Angelo, Gregory Huffman, Beatriz Rodriguez, Philip Jerry, Starr Danias, Danilo Radojevic, Jean Charles Gil, Patrice Bart, David Peregrine, Vladimir Gelvan, Jorge Donn, Alexander Godunov, Joyce Cuoco, Youri Vamos, Jose Manuel Carreno, Isaac Hernandez, Yuan Yuan Tan, Frances Chung, Jaime Garcia Castilla, Maria Kochetkova, Guennadi Nedvigin, Damian Smith, Megan Fairchild, Joaquin De Luz, Joan Boada, Carlos Quenedit, Ana Sophia Scheller, Gonzalo Garcia, Daniel Ulbricht,  Taras Domitro, Nelson Madrigal, Lorna Fejioo, Ask le Cour, Rebecca Krohn,  Adiarys Almeida, Joseph Gatti, Sasha Radetzky, Stella Abrera, and many others.  He was on the conducting staffs of American Ballet Theatre, the Bavarian State Opera Ballet, La Scala Ballet, and Teatro Regio di Torino Ballet, was music director of The Louisville Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Chicago City Ballet, and Eglevsky Ballet, and has guest conducted for scores of international companies.  He has conducted numerous versions of every full-length ballet, as well as scores of works by countless major choreographers ranging from George Balanchine to Sir Frederick Ashton.  He is currently Music Director of Ballet San Jose.

As a director, writer, and producer of music-based television programs, Daugherty has created several major productions for the ABC Television Network project, including a primetime animation-and-live action production of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, which he created, co-wrote, conducted, and directed, and for which he won a Prime Time Emmy Award as producer, as well as numerous other major awards (including an additional Emmy nomination as conductor and music director.)  He also collaborated with The Joy Luck Club author Amy Tan on a television series adaptation of her celebrated children's book Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat.  The Emmy Award-winning 80-episode series debuted on PBS in the fall of 2001 as a daily-animated children's television series.  Daugherty executive produced, and also wrote a large number of the animated tales.

Daugherty also received an Emmy nomination for Rhythm & Jam, his ABC television network specials which taught the basics of music to a teenage audience, which he created and produced with David Ka Lik Wong.

In 1990, Daugherty created, directed, and conducted the hit Broadway musical Bugs Bunny On Broadway, a live-orchestra-and-film stage production which sold-out its extended run at New York's Gershwin Theatre on Broadway, and has since played to critical acclaim and sold-out houses all over the world. The Bugs Bunny symphonic concert tradition continued when Daugherty and producing partner David Ka Lik Wong launched a new version, “Bugs Bunny At The Symphony,” in 2010, with double World Premieres at the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Symphony, and the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  The current version of the concert, “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II, also created by Daugherty and Wong, premiered in 2013 with world premieres at the Hollywood Bowl/Los Angeles Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, and National Symphony at Wolf Trap.  Daugherty is also the executive producer, conductor, and creator of the touring concert Rodgers & Hammerstein on Stage and Screen.

Daugherty was born and raised in Pendleton, Indiana, where he started piano studies at the age of 4 with Elizabeth Edmundson, which whom he studied until age 19.  He received his training at Butler University’s Jordan College of Music, where he studied conducting with John Colbert, cello with Shirley Evans Tabachnick, Dennis McCafferty, and Anne McCaffety, and piano with Martin Marks and Frank Cooper; at Indiana University, where he was awarded a special work/study conducting program as Assistant to Thomas Briccetti and The Fort Wayne Philharmonic; and The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied conducting and opera repertoire with Kelly Hale, opera coaching with Italo Tajo, and where he conducted numerous CCM Opera Studio productions, including full length and excerpted performances of “La Rondine,” “Gianni Schicci,”  “Fidelio,” “La Boheme,” “Le Nozze di Figaro,” and others.  At the age of 19 he founded the Pendleton Festival Symphony, which made its summer home at Anderson’s Paramount Theatre for 7 years, and brought such major international artists as Metropolitan Opera stars Roberta Peters and Rosalind Elias, violinist Eugene Fodor, the Harvard Glee Club, and stars of American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, and The Joffrey Ballet to Madison County.

Daugherty recently received the biannual Indiana Governor's Arts Award from the state of his birth, in recognition for his artistic contributions not only in Indiana, but also throughout the rest of the America.   In receiving the award, Daugherty joined an exclusive list of Indiana Governor’s Arts honorees, including composers Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael, conductors Raymond Leppard and John Nelson, violinists Joshua Bell and Josef Gingold, pianist Menahem Pressler, cellist Janos Starker, choreographers Twyla Tharp and Ruth Page, architect Michael Graves, designer Bill Blass, director Sydney Pollack, artist Robert Indiana, and novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr.  In 2005, he was also named a Sagamore of the Wabash by the late Indiana Governor Frank O’Bannon, the highest award that can be bestowed upon a performing artist from the state’s governor.  He was also named an Honorable Kentucky Colonel for his contributions to the arts of the State of Kentucky.

In 2006, Daugherty was also named a Library Laureate of the San Francisco Public Library for his contributions to children’s books, reading, and literature, joining a distinguished list of authors who have been awarded the title.  This award was especially meaningful to Daugherty, since his great-great-great-grandfather was the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


Daugherty has lived in San Francisco for the past 15 years.