Get To Know George Stelluto

Feature Article on George Stelluto

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Season to Taste



Award-winning American conductor George Stelluto is one of today’s most inspiring interpreters of repertoire from the Baroque era to the Twenty-First Century. As Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Ravinia Festival, and a member of The Juilliard School faculty, he has established himself as a versatile conductor comfortable in many styles and genres. His recent guest appearances include the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (Ravinia, Summer 2017), Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (Mann Center, Summer 2017), Orquestra Jovem do Estado Sao Paulo OJESP (Brazil), the New York Opera Cooperative, Pasadena Symphony Orchestra (CA), and the Nordwestduetsche Philharmonie (Germany). He will make appearances this coming season with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and at the Walt Disney Theater in Orlando. Other guest appearances include: The Juilliard Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica del Ecuador, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, New York City Ballet, Transylvania State Philharmonic (Romania), ICE, and Juilliard’s “Beyond the Machine” and AXIOM.

This past season, he introduced the Americas’ largest city (Sao Paulo, Brazil) to works of Adams, Copland, and Bernstein with OJESP; gave the American premiere of Malcolm Arnold’s Sweeney Todd and the second-ever performance of Ramsey Lewis’ Concerto for Jazz Trio and Orchestra with the PSO; and assisted Maestro James Levine in his performance of Mahler’s Symphony #2 at Ravinia. He also conducted La La Land in Concert at Ravinia, the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, and the Mann Center in Philadelphia.

2017-2018 is the Peoria Symphony Orchestra’s 120th season and is his eighth as its Music Director. He has reinvigorated the culture of that city through innovative programming and collaborations, international soloists, and national recognition for the orchestra. This past season marked the second straight year the orchestra has been deficit free. In his twelve years at Juilliard, Maestro Stelluto worked with the school’s Orchestral, Dance, Vocal, Drama, and Jazz divisions as well as the Pre-College Orchestras. As Juilliard’s Resident Conductor, he prepared the Juilliard Orchestra for esteemed guest conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Pierre Boulez, Michael Tilson Thomas, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Andre Previn. Through the Juilliard Global Initiative, he led the debut concert of the GURI Orchestra (Brazil) and worked with the Escuela Superior de Musica in Mexico City. At Ravinia he conducted Classical Kids Live! productions of “Beethoven Lives Upstairs”, “Tchaikovsky Discovers America”, and “Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage”. In 2009, he finished a two-year collaboration with the Inter-School Orchestras culminating in concerts combining New York’s public and private school musicians with students from the Juilliard School, Columbia University, and members of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Maestro Stelluto made his Avery Fisher (David Geffen) Hall debut with the Juilliard Orchestra in May 2008 (Bernstein, Beethoven, and Brahms) and his international debut at The Kiev International Music Festival in 2000 where he gave the Ukrainian premiere of Samuel Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra. Subsequent acclaimed premieres there include William Schuman’s Symphony #5, Barber’s First Essay, and Ewazen’s Chamber Symphony. He worked extensively with the Central Conservatory Orchestra in Beijing as part of the conducting staff for The Juilliard Orchestra’s 2008 tour of China and for the school’s 2005-2006 100th Anniversary Tours of Europe and America – premiering Senderovas’ Fanfare at the Berlin Konzerthaus. He is the founder of the Illinois New Music Festival, which debuted in 2010 and repeats once every several years with unifying themes relating music and society. From 1998-2007, George Stelluto was Music Director of the Las Vegas Music Festival.

He has collaborated with solo artists such as Ramsey Lewis, Hilary Hahn, Sarah Chang, Andre Watts, Jorge Federico Osorio, Edgar Meyer, Kevin Cole, Sylvia McNair, Naomi O’Connell, Heidi Grant Murphy, Arnaud Sussmann, Catherine Cho, Paul Kantor, Jeff Nelsen, Marc Coppey and Samuel Ramey; actors Kate Mulgrew and Isaac Mizrahi; and many young rising stars such as Irfan Tengku, Harmony Zhu, Charles Yang, Sirena Huang, Veronika Eberle, Benjamin Moser, Anna Lee, and Conrad Tao. His numerous contemporary premieres include works by Philippe Bodin, Virko Baley, Huang Ruo, Malcolm Arnold, Paul Desenne, and Armand Ranjbaran.

In performance, reviews, interviews, and recordings, George Stelluto has been featured in print, radio, and television throughout the Americas and Europe. Most recently, he received a rave review in the Philadelphia Inquirer for his performance of “La La Land Live in Concert.” His Pasadena Symphony Orchestra debut received lauds from four LA area newspapers including a Los Angeles Times article with the headline: A Welcome Guest – Could He Become a Fixture Here? The New York Times wrote of his performance of “Opus Jazz”: “Robert Prince’s score swings and slinks. The Juilliard Orchestra, with members of Juilliard Dance and Jazz, conducted by George Stelluto, sounded sharp.” His appointment as Music Director of the Peoria Symphony came after a concert The Peoria Star-Journal described as “electrifying” and “a moment of coming together not just of the music, but of a conductor and an orchestra.” Call Back Magazine, wrote of his performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro: “Vocally, musically, and dramatically it didn’t miss a beat. … Stelluto conducted with taste, balance, and firm control of players and singers“. His recent NYC Opera Cooperative performance of Cosi Fan Tutte was called “fresh and visionary.” – Allegri con fuoco blog.

Beyond his conducting interests, Maestro Stelluto is also involved in cultural advocacy, arts education, and arranging. The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, and the Juilliard Orchestra have performed his orchestral reduction of Schreker’s overture to the opera Die Gezeichneten (Universal). His reduction of the entire opera was premiered by the Los Angeles Opera in April 2010 and performed by Opera Lyon (France) in March 2015. His reduction of Grosz’ Afrika Songs was premiered in 2011 at the Ravinia Festival. He has published several co-authored articles on leadership (Leadership Quarterly, 2004) and given presentations about conductors as leadership models for business organizations. Additionally, he has published numerous articles in the Juilliard Journal on topics ranging from Health Care to Arts Funding. He speaks often in United States, South America, and Europe on “Building Cultural Infrastructure”©, a presentation on ensuring the future of the Arts. He has served as a board member and consultant to many American and international arts organizations such as Cultures in Harmony, Ecuador’s Sinfonia por La Vida, and West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts.

He holds Juilliard’s first Artist Diploma Degree in conducting, two Master’s Degrees (Violin & Conducting) from the Yale School of Music, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Violin from West Virginia University, summa cum laude. He has performed at many summer festivals both as a conductor and chamber musician, including Ravinia, Aspen, Peter Britt, Focus, Kiev International, and Ukrainian Summer. He is the recipient of a 2012 ASCAP Award for Adventuresome Programming, the 2013 Illinois Council of Orchestra’s “Orchestra of the Year Award”, the Nevada Regents Creativity Award, and Juilliard’s Bruno Walter Fellowship.