Skip to the content

George Daugherty, Conductor

Conductor George Daugherty is one of the classical music world's most diverse artists.   In addition to his 40-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 with a concert pair in 2015), and an equal number with The National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap (most recently, in 2013 with a pair.)  He made his debut with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in May, 2015 in four sold-out performances, and with The Boston Pops in December, 2017 in three sold-out performances. His current and recent conducting schedule includes multiple performances with San Francisco Symphony (which he has frequently guest conducted since 1998), Milwaukee Symphony, Utah Symphony, Seattle Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra at both Severance Hall and the Blossom Festival, The Philadelphia Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, 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 2002, 2005, 2010, and 2016, he returned to guest conduct the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, including recording a new CD with the orchestra. In this and recent seasons, he also made debuts and return appearances with the Baltimore Symphony, Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony, 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 at the Bellas Artes Opera House in Mexico City, where he has conducted the Orquesta del Teatro de Bellas Artes in ballet and opera productions. 

An exceedingly experienced and highly-sought-after ballet conductor, Daugherty made his conducting debut with the famed and iconic Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in 2017 at The Kennedy Center Opera House in a week of critically-acclaimed performances.  From 2012 to 2016, he was Music Director of Ballet San Jose, where he conducted nearly 50 performances per season for the company, with Symphony Silicon Valley in the orchestra pit.  (The company has since ceased operations.) He has been on the conducting staffs of American Ballet Theatre, the Bavarian State Opera Ballet/Bayerisches Staatsballett, La Scala Ballet, and Teatro Regio di Torino Ballet. He has also been music director of The Louisville Ballet (for six years from 1985 until 1991), Ballet Chicago (under Daniel Duell), Chicago City Ballet (under Maria Tallchief and Paul Mejia), and Eglevsky Ballet (under Edward Villella), and has guest conducted for dozens of major international companies. He frequently conducts ballet at the Bellas Artes Opera House in Mexico City, and also recently conducted a major international ballet gala in the Bay Area 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, conducting, and producing the reconstruction of an unknown and 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 American Ballet Theatre, Munich State Opera and Ballet, Indianapolis Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Nashville 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, Phoenix Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Saskatoon Symphony, Austin Symphony, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, New Orleans Symphony, Venezuela Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Seoul Prime Philharmonic, and major Italian opera houses in Rome, Florence, Turin, and Reggio Emilia.

As a ballet conductor, Daugherty has conducted for the greatest ballet stars in the world over the past four decades and has been on the conducting staff of American Ballet Theatre, the Bavarian State Opera Ballet, La Scala Ballet, and Teatro Regio di Torino Ballet. In addition to his work with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and Ballet San Jose, he has been 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 for a huge listing of the world’s greatest dancers over four decades, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Gelsey Kirkland, Suzanne Farrell, Alicia Alonso, Carla Fracci, Cynthia Gregory, Marcia Haydee, Patricia McBride, Cynthia Harvey, Merrill Ashley, Jose Manuel Carreno, Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Marcelo Gomes, Maria Kochetkova, Megan Fairchild, Daniel Ulbricht, Joaquin De Luz, Gonzalo Garcia, Ana Sophia Scheller, Ask le Cour, Stella Abrera, Sasha Radetzky, Amanda McKerrow, Marianna Tcherkassky, Patrick Bissell, Lis Jeppesen, Peter Schaufuss, Merle Park, Susan Jaffe, Kyra Nichols, Eva Evdokemova, Patricia Ruanne, 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, Robert Hill, Li Cunxin, Janie Parker, David Wall, John Meehan, Eleanor D'Antuono, Yoko Morishita, Ann Marie De Angelo, Gregory Huffman, Danilo Radojevic, Jean Charles Gil, Patrice Bart, Vladimir Gelvan, Jorge Donn, Alexander Godunov, Isaac Hernandez, Yuan Yuan Tan, Frances Chung, Jaime Garcia Castilla, Guennadi Nedvigin, Damian Smith, Joan Boada, Carlos Quenedit, Taras Domitro, Nelson Madrigal, Lorna Fejioo, Rebecca Krohn, Adiarys Almeida, Joseph Gatti, Misty Copeland, and many others.  He has conducted numerous versions of every full-length ballet, as well as works by countless major choreographers ranging from George Balanchine, to Antony Tudor, to Sir Frederick Ashton . . . to an impressive list of current and acclaimed contemporary choreographers ranging from Ben Stevenson to Jorma Elo to Stanton Welch to Christopher Wheeldon.

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 ensembles ranging from The Harvard Glee Club to The Westminster Choir to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

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 a 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 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 1998, Daugherty 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 country.   In receiving the award, Daugherty joined an exclusive list of previous Hoosier honorees, including composers Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael, conductors Raymond Leppard and John Nelson, cellist Janos Starker, violinists Joshua Bell and Josef Gingold, architect Michael Graves, designer Bill Blass, 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 which can be bestowed upon a performing artist from the state governor.

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, and Meredith Willson’s The Music Man at The Symphony.

Daugherty has lived in San Francisco for the past 20 years.