Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New gigs for Manahan

George Manahan, music director of the Richmond Symphony from 1987-98 and the New York City Opera for the past 12 years, has been appointed music director of the American Composers Orchestra, beginning next season.

The ACO, founded in 1977 and based in New York, specializes in modern and contemporary music. In recent years, the ensemble has focused its programming on the works of emerging and mid-career American composers.

Manahan has worked extensively with living composers, performing and recording orchestral pieces and operas by Steve Reich, Tobias Picker, Sheila Silver, Todd Machover, David Lang, Charles Wuorinen and others, and is celebrated for his lucid, colorful interpretations of 20th-century repertory. During his Richmond Symphony tenure, the orchestra won four ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.

He will conduct the ACO's three 2010-11 concerts presented by Carnegie Hall in Zankel Hall, as well as workshops and readings of new works by young composers.

Manahan "has everything it takes to lead an orchestra that tackles so much new and innovative American music – the clarity of technique, tremendous score reading abilities, omnivorous and stylistic diverse interests, and the energy and the intellect to tackle one of the toughest conducting ‘gigs’ in the orchestra world," says Michael Geller, the ACO's executive director.

Next fall Manahan also will become director of orchestral studies at the Manhattan School of Music, from which he graduated in 1976.