George Thomson has enjoyed a multi-faceted career as a conductor, instrumentalist, and educator. Raised in Sunnyvale, California, George attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he received A.B. and M.A. degrees in Music, studying conducting with Michael Senturia and Philip Brett. He was for several years Music Director of the San Francisco-based new music ensemble EARPLAY, and has appeared as a guest conductor with many new music ensembles, including the Empyrean Ensemble, Composers Inc., and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. With the latter ensemble he conducted two works by Andrew Imbrie in a recording released in 2002 on the Albany Records label. Formerly Music Director of the Prometheus Symphony, a community orchestra based in Oakland, George has also appeared as a guest conductor with the Marin Symphony, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra, and the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, among others.
George is an accomplished performer on modern and period instruments. He has enjoyed long associations with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the American Bach Soloists; from 1996 to 2005 he was Principal Violist of the Carmel Bach Festival, where he was a member of the Festival String Quartet. As an educator he was for 11 years the Music Director of the Virtuoso Program at San Domenico School in San Anselmo, a unique opportunity for high school students to pursue intensive orchestral and chamber music training in addition to a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. The San Domenico Orchestra da Camera, under Mr. Thomson’s direction, has won the “Grand Champion” award at the National Orchestra Festival sponsored by the American String Teachers’ Association on three occasions–in 2005, 2008, and 2010. The Virtuoso Program was featured in the February 2004 issue of Strings Magazine, and was featured on the nationally-broadcast radio program “From the Top” in February of 2006.
George was Music Director of the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2001 to 2010; he also conducted the Marin Symphony in their annual Family Concert. From Fall of 1994 until 2007 he worked as a conductor for the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra. As Associate Conductor, he conducted a subscription program as well as several rehearsals each season in the absence of Music Director Kent Nagano. He directed the Symphony’s “Under Construction” series of new music reading events, and was also the Music Director of the Symphony’s award-winning Music Education Program, which brings the orchestra into the Berkeley Public Schools in a series of innovative performances each season.
In May 2004 Mr. Thomson made his conducting debut with Berkeley Opera in a production of Handel’s “Acis and Galatea” at the Julia Morgan Theater; he returned to conduct Mozart’s “The Abduction from the Seraglio” in March of 2007. In January 2007 he directed the Berkeley Symphony in a program of Stravinsky, Sibelius and Berkeley composer Olly Wilson; in April 2007 he made his debut with the Santa Rosa Symphony. In August 2007 he made his conducting debut with Lamplighters Music Theater, conducting ten performances of H.M.S. Pinafore in Walnut Creek, Napa and San Francisco.
George served for two seasons as Interim Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony‘s Young People’s Chamber Orchestra. Having served for two years as Director of Orchestras for Corvallis School District 509J in Corvallis, Oregon–winning the 2012 and 2013 OSAA State Championships for String Orchestra with the Corvallis Camerata–he is currently Orchestra Director at West Salem High School in Salem, Oregon, and Conductor of the Corvallis Youth Symphony. He resides in Salem with his wife, musician and writer Michelle Dulak Thomson, and two cats, Lili and Charlie.