George Vass

English conductor George Vass studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music; he made his professional conducting debut at St John's Smith Square, London at the age of twenty-two. As artistic director of the Regent Sinfonia of London and Orchestra Nova, he has appeared at many of the United Kingdom's premier concert halls and festivals, including Symphony Hall, Birmingham, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room. As a guest conductor he has worked with a wide variety of ensembles including the Ulster Orchestra, Amsterdam’s Promenade Orkest, Konzertensemble Salzburg, Joyful Company of Singers, London Mozart Players, Malmö Opera Orchestra, Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Schola Cantorum of Oxford and Oxford Orchestra da Camera. He has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and Channel 4 television.

His first commercial recording was well received, prompting Gramophone to comment: 'George Vass shows himself an honest, thoroughly musical commentator'. His recording of Stephen Dodgson's Concertino for two guitars and strings was chosen as Gramophone magazine's Editor's Choice in March 2003, in which John Duarte wrote: ‘This is a landmark recording'. More recently Ivan March, again in Gramophone, commented on Vass's recording of works by Cecilia McDowall: 'Performances here are immaculate, full of life, and above all consistently reveal the composer's imaginative resource.' His rapidly growing discography includes a series of four choral and orchestral works by Cecilia McDowall, three CDs of orchestral music and excerpts from The Bride of Dionysus by Sir Donald Tovey, a recording of British viola concertos accompanying Sarah-Jane Bradley and a disc of vocal and orchestral music by David Matthews. He premiered the revised version of David Matthews’s First Symphony on a BBC Radio 3 recording in 2007.

George Vass has held the post of artistic director to the Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts since 1992, described by Roderic Dunnett of The Independent as having ‘... the pulse of contemporary music. It commissions intelligently, and constitutes one of the most satisfying of all summer music events’. From 2004 until 2009, he was artistic director of the respected Hampstead and Highgate Festival in London. George Vass is founder artistic director of Orchestra Nova and currently serves the Bushey Symphony Orchestra, City of Canterbury Chamber Choir and St Albans Choral Society as music director.

In his dual career as conductor and festival director, George Vass maintains a strong interest in the performance and promotion of contemporary music. Over the last sixteen years he has commissioned and premiered a variety of new works from many leading composers including David Matthews, John McCabe, Cecilia McDowall, Paul Patterson, Hilary Tann, Adrian Williams, Ian Wilson and Hugh Wood. George Vass is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Engagements in 2010 include concert and recording work with the Ulster, Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Royal Scottish National orchestras together with Blaze Ensemble and Orchestra Nova.