“Chief Conductor / Artistic Director,
Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra
Principal Guest Conductor,
Teatro Lirico di Cagliari
Principal Guest Conductor,
Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland Pfalz
George Pehlivanian gained international recognition at the age of 27 when he won the first prize in the International Competition for Conducting in Besançon, the first American to receive the award. Since then he has won the reputation of being one of the most recognised conductors of his generation.
Pehlivanian, of Armenian origin, was born in Beirut, Lebanon and began studying the piano at the age of three and the violin at the age of six. In 1975 he emigrated to Los Angeles with his family, where he studied conducting with Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel and Ferdinand Leitner. He then attended specialization courses at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and was awarded a Diploma with honours.
In 2005, George Pehlivanian was appointed Artistic Director and Conductor of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra – the first foreigner to take this post . Meanwhile, he continued to be Principal Guest Conductor for the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz and Guest Conductor for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Pehlivanian was also Principal Guest Conductor for the Residentie Orkest in The Hague from 1996-1999 and for the Wiener Kammerorchester from 1996-2000.
He has conducted numerous orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Filarmonica della Scala, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Philharmonic Orchestras of Rotterdam, Radio France and Monte Carlo, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Orchestra Nazionale della Rai in Torino, Bamberger Symphoniker; in addition the Symphonic Orchestras Norddeutschen, Hessischen and Sudstdeutschen Rundfunks, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Teatro Comunale Orchestra in Bologna, Bournemouth Symphony, Orquesta Nacional de España, Radio-Televisione Spagnola Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
In the United States and Canada he has conducted the Symphonic Orchestras of Baltimora, Toronto, Houston, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Paul, Vancouver and Montreal. He has also collaborated with the Russian National Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, Opera Orchestras of Kirov, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic, the Symphonic Orchestra of the ‘Virtuous’ of Japan.
In 2005 he conducted La voix humaine by Poulenc at the Cité de la Musique in Paris. In 2006 he was a guest at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples for the new production of Otello by Verdi and in 2007 for Gianni Schicchi e Cavalleria rusticana.
During this season Pehlivanian will be conducting Carmen at the Teatro Piccinni Bari and Elektra at the Festival in Ljubljana. He will also be conducting the festival’s closing concert performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Pehlivanian regularly collaborates with soloists such as Paul Badura-Skoda, Julian Rachlin, Anne Akiko Meyers, Janine Jansens, Daniel Hope, Louis Lortie, Fazil Say, Eric Le Sage, Dubravka Tomsic, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Marjana Lipovsek and Eva Johansson.
He has been a guest at prestigious festivals such as The White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, where he conducted the first edition’s closing concert, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Verdi Festival in Parma, the Festivals of Ravello, Ravenna, Aspen, Ljubljana, Granada and Jeunesse Musicale Vienna
Pehlivanian was the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Music Academy of Gandia in Spain form 2002-2004 and has been the Artistic Director and also Founder of the International Academy of Orchestra Conducting of Portoroz in Slovenia.
His recordings include a double CD for Virgin Classics FM with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the first recording of music by Zukov with the Residentie Orkest for Chandos, a recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for BMG, a monographic recording dedicated to Rodrigo with the Orquesta Nacional de España for Studio SM and three CDs dedicated to the complete works for piano and orchestra by Liszt with Louis Lortie and the Residentie Orkest for Chandos. The third CD was mentioned in the British magazine “Gramophone” in May 2002.
Following the success of the concerts in Cagliari on 12th and 13th January 2007 conducting the Teatro Lirico Orchestra and the pianist Fazil Say, Pehlivanian has been Principal Guest Conductor at the Teatro Lirico, Cagliari since July 2007.